Tommy Piolata recently wrote a short, but beautifully insightful, article for Heartbeat, St. Louis University's pro-life publication. I have received his permission to share it with you here:
Vita Pro Omni!
An Ethic of Love
by Tommy Piolata
Often, when there is ethical talk, what follows are words such as rights, obligations, duties etc. However, such language misses the heart of ethics. I once read a homily by Pope Benedict XVI in which he rightly identifies the nucleus of ethics as love. Where there is love, there is authentic morality. Thus, I think it is a rather unfortunate reality that moral-talk is saturated with words such as rights and duties. What happened to love? Where is talk of the good? I’m pro-life not because of some power-political language regarding rights and property, but because ethics is about love, the good, and happiness.
My being pro-life is not rooted in some sort of moral obligation that I perceive, or some sort of Kantian duty that I ought to follow. My being pro-life is rather discovered in the fabric of a credo: that I believe in love. I believe, above all else, that the fulfillment of the human person is founded in the form of love, which is always for the happiness of the other. I believe that happiness is a good, and hence, an ethic that dismisses and disrupts the happiness of mothers and children is far from a moral good.
I’m pro-life because I want to fall in love with the way of love. And it seems so apparent to me that to adhere to an ethic of love I should stand up for an injustice that dehumanizes women and places a façade upon their womb, that refuses to listen to a child’s cry and annihilates him because he is “inconvenient” and small, that oppresses mothers into believing their bodies are not sacred and their children not children. I’m pro-life because I believe in love and charity; and it is a grave injustice, anything which as its aim is the destruction of human personality, human development, human happiness.
Lastly, we live in a world of interconnectedness—hence the importance of love! There is no such thing as the radically separate individual. Instead, as Mother Teresa once remarked, we belong to one another. So, to be completely honest with the abortion issue and consider it as is, I see the pinnacle of segregation, that is—to borrow the words of Martin Luther King Jr.—“it substitutes an “I-it” relationship for an “I-thou” relationship.” Locate for me love, when the womb becomes a trashcan and the child an “it.”