Father William Byron, S.J.

Father William Byron, S.J.

As I write, I’m warm and dry with a “Snowzilla” of a blizzard swirling around my residence in the Jesuit community at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s University. As I sit here, I find the word “millions” running through my mind. According to news reports, about 85 million people are affected by this blizzard of 2016.

With very few exceptions, all of them will be safe and secure within a few days. Everybody is talking about it; everyone is concerned.

On Jan. 22, thousands of dedicated pro-life activists braved the snow in Washington to mark the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. They marched in protest against legalized abortion, reminding the nation that the number of abortions in America since that landmark Supreme Court decision has passed the 50 million mark. Some sources say 58 million.

None of those snuffed-out incipient human lives will ever see the light of day. Not many people are talking about that; surprisingly few appear concerned.

How have we come to this point of national indifference and unconcern in the face of millions of lives lost and no signs of a reversal of this trend in the near future?

The abortion issue will get a ride in the upcoming presidential primaries, but sloganeering, not reasoned argument, will characterize the debate. I wonder why the so-called woman’s “right to choose” proponents never complete that sentence and say “choose to end a human life.” That’s what the choice is: death.

If there is to be reasoned argument, it does not help to call that death “murder.” Nor is it helpful to wave placards of aborted fetuses and accuse women who make that terrible choice of being heartless criminals. They are troubled human beings who themselves are children of a God who loves them and is ready to forgive. They need the help of other human beings who are willing to assist in any way, including arranging for the adoption of the unborn child.

A blizzard is not a bad time to begin thinking about the millions of lives — human lives — that are taken each year by abortion. Experts say that every snowflake, like every fingerprint, is unique — no two in the blizzard I see outside my window are exactly alike. And that is true, of course, of a human being. No two are ever exactly alike.

What might have become of any one of the millions of aborted babies who lost their lives since Roe v. Wade? Might one of them have become the researcher who brought us closer to a cure for cancer? Might another have won the Nobel Prize for peace? Who can say? We will never know. But isn’t that all the more reason to respect and protect every human life from conception to natural death?

We simply must not permit ourselves any longer, as a nation, to walk with callous disregard over the lives of the unborn. Every pregnancy is preamble to personhood and every unborn child deserves the right to life.

It is time to set the slogans aside and look to the author of life for guidance. Each of us alone and all of us together must be committed to a vision that sees life in a human embryo and does everything possible to bring to birth that brimming bud of human potential that lies within the womb.


Jesuit Father Byron is university professor of business and society at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia. Email: wbyron@sju.edu.