Vigliotti: Social consequences of New York’s abortion laws 

We live in an age in which we are finding ways to prolong human life, and looking for reasons to end it. New York’s new abortion law, which would effectively allow the killing of an unborn baby up until birth, is a travesty that sets human rights back centuries.

One of the hallmarks of a civilization’s progress has always been the respect it has had for human life. The ancient Greek exercise of democracy, for example, has long been applauded as a pinnacle of human rights enlightenment while the Greek practice of abandoning babies has long been condemned as a human moral deficit.


Arguments against the killing of babies, including abortion, are not new — but these were usually made from positions of utilitarian necessity. Why would a society willingly kill off potential future warriors in the womb?

The first truly moral arguments against abortion came from the Catholic church father, Saint Augustine. He argued against abortion from the point of God’s ensouling — or gifting a human soul to — the baby in the womb. The argument carried tremendous weight then, but it does not so much now among pro-abortion advocates.

This is partially because there is an effort underway to remove the voices of men from the abortion debate, and Augustine was only a man. The man is not carrying the child, it is argued, so why should he have a say in things?

It is not a good argument. Men do have a stake in things, as fathers and as citizens. Indeed, abortion cuts through to the heart of masculinity.

As others have argued, responsibility — to God, to family, to society — is the ideal of manhood. Abortion separates men from responsibility in two ways. First, it refuses them their right and responsibility to be dads. Second, it gives irresponsible men an easy way out. Abortion allows them to wash their hands clean of fatherhood. Rather than forcing men to step up and be men, they’re being shut (or let) out.

They’re also being confused. At the same time men are being told they are irresponsible fathers and must step up by Gillette razor advertising (among others), they are also being told they don’t have a right to step up by pro-abortion advocates.

The idea that men cannot have a say in all of this reinforces irresponsibility and undermines the reality that men can be responsible and reliable fathers. It also sustains the deadbeat stereotypes that Gillette plays on to score political points. Why should men even try to make an effort if they’re only going to be criticized for it?

To argue that men cannot have a say in something which affects the world in which they live is also to deny moral responsibility. If someone sees something he or she believes is wrong, he or she has the responsibility to speak out. That was certainly true of whites who supported civil rights. If men believe abortion is wrong, they must say so.

The pro-abortion circle has itself not been silent in its own pursuits. For decades, advocates claimed that they wanted abortions to be safe, legal and rare in the drive for women’s rights. This evolved into arguments over tri-mesters, partial-birth abortions, human development and viability, all under a legal framework.

This further descended into pseudo-scientific arguments, such as whether a baby should be considered human or merely a “parasite” that was “feeding” off a host. Even more extremist elements have recently emerged, such as actress Martha Plimpton who cheerfully recalled the “best” abortion she ever had as being in Seattle.

And now New York’s law is only one more element in a political agenda to transform American society and culture, which has long stood on life. Leftist philosopher Peter Singer supports infanticide — the killing of small children — for any number of reasons. Ezekiel Emmanuel has argued for denying medical care to people based on their age. Rhode Island’s governor, and legislators in Vermont, want to follow New York’s lead. New York legislators are now also considering assisted suicide. It is a mad race to the far Left.

I have defended the unborn and the elderly in this column before. Their lives are no less precious or sacred because of their age. Drawing from Saint Augustine, it is the God-breathed human soul contained within the body, no matter the body’s condition, which counts. To deny the soul is to deny our humanity. To deny humanity is to deny one of the cornerstones of the American founding. Even more troubling, when we actively try to reject the humanity in others, we shut out God.

It becomes a self-perpetuating descent. As we shut out God, we continue to find ways to shut out each other. When we begin to deny one’s humanity and rights based on age, what else can we deny their humanity based upon? Gender? Health? Class? Age? Race?

A moral stand has to be made. As readers know, I am proud to belong to Christ and to be a member of the Catholic Church. Many are calling for Catholic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s excommunication over the abortion law, but Cardinal Timothy Dolan has resisted such a moral stand as “counterproductive.” The cardinal is wrong. The moral stand now rests with the conscience and future decision of voters.


As I have learned from fellow conservatives who happen to be women, to be truly pro-woman as a man, you must be pro-life, thereby respecting all life. On this positive note, though it has been challenged in the courts, Iowa’s governor signed into law a heartbeat bill this past May to restrict abortion and reaffirm the dignity of all human life.

The governor of Iowa is a woman.