On a second level, we may compare issues of similar moral seriousness in terms of the number of victims and the gravity of the injury they suffer.
Abortion is, of course, an intrinsic evil. But the sheer magnitude of abortions is also stunning. For example, in 2005 (the latest year for which full figures are available), according to CDC statistics, the total number of deaths of American children under 15 from all causes except abortions was 39,798. This compares with deaths from abortion of 1.2 million, or more than 30 times as many. Nearly 3,300 babies are killed by abortion every day. Nothing else even comes close.
No wonder our Bishops have written that "Abortion and euthanasia have become pre-eminent threats to human life and dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental good and the condition for all others." (Living the Gospel of Life)
It may be true that a pro-abortion candidate (such as Obama) has appealing positions on other issues, perhaps on health care, for example. However, let us bring to mind what Pope John Paul II said on this matter:
The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, fínds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights - for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture - is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination. (Christifideles Laici, n. 38, emphasis in original)False and illusory. Those are powerful words, indeed.
The Church affirms that some issues are more important than others. The right to life of an innocent person, which is under attack in a number of ways, takes precedence for several reasons.
1. All other rights depend on life. Without life, a person cannot exercise any other rights.
2. When abortion, cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, etc. are made legal, then the clear implication is that some persons have less value than others. Hence all are not equal under the law.
3. The view that supports the right to life and the one that instead affirms a "right" to abortion, euthanasia, etc. are based on two irreconcilable views of human rights and dignity:
- That all our rights come from God and the government has the duty to protect those rights.
- That our rights are granted us by the state (in the form of legislation, or the Constitution, etc.)
These are some of the reasons for the Pope's description of the "outcry .. on behalf of human rights" as being false and illusory if the right to life is not defended as part of the program; defending the right to life is not any part of Obama's program.