Editor’s Note: Essay contest administrator Dan DiRocco provided translation from French to English for this essay. Sara Omaiche is from Windsor and was third in the Fr. Ted Colleton Scholarship contest.
A society that strives for utopia, should it not promote life over death? It took several centuries of heated debate to establish a movement uniting people and associations in defense of the “right to life.” The debate is between the culture of life and the culture of death. These famous terms were introduced by Pope John Paul II when he solemnly renewed the prohibition against the culture of death in his encyclical letter, Evangelium vitae, after consultation with the bishops of the world. Despite all this, there are nonetheless many citizens who are reform-minded who support the culture of death. Perhaps they are indoctrinated, and it is particularly this manipulation that has given birth to the culture of death in our society. From a political point of view, some parties manipulate language, thus numbing the moral sensibilities against their horrific actions. Similarly, the economic situation also weighs heavily on the choice of citizens so that the person opts for more personal independence, more power and more control over their own lives. Finally, the medical industry is in the process of promoting the culture of death.
First, there are political parties that use language to their advantage to convince the public and to conceal the moral considerations of their actions. For example, the Democratic Party in the United States is founded on the belief that freedom of choice is a fundamental right of citizens, giving them the freedom to act and take any decision, even when it comes to taking someone’s life. By giving power and control to women, they succeed in manipulating them and distancing them from the recognition and awareness that their pro-choice decisions, abortion, for example, take the life of their own child.
In addition, the manipulation of language is certainly evident throughout the media as it presents images and scenarios that blur the boundaries between fiction and reality. Despite government regulation of the media, the U.S. Constitution still guarantees freedom of the press, which results in an unfortunate relationship between the rate of crime and the violence portrayed in movies.
Similarly, legislation enacted in some country or other may also convince people that that change is for the common good. According to the Radio Canada article “Belgium is considering legalizing euthanasia children.” Since euthanasia was legalized in 2002, the Belgians were euthanizing people for blindness, depression, anorexia nervosa, and botched sex change operations. Now the Belgians want to allow euthanization of children. Supporters of the law say it is both “necessary and compassionate.”
As for the economy, it promotes pro-choice decisions. A detailed study in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care led by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute in New York, surveyed 9,500 American women who had abortions in 2008. Among these women, more than 57 percent noted that they had faced chronic stress the year before. Nearly 20 per cent had lost their jobs, 16 per cent were separated from their partner, 14 per cent did not have the means to pay the bills, and nearly 12 per cent had relocated. It is certain that there is economic pressure leading to abortion and other pro-choice decisions. For example, the practice of euthanasia is based also on the fact that the cost of a “gentle death” for an individual is less than that of providing care and relief. Thus, for the sake of compassion and consideration of economic duress people are convinced that death is the best decision.
As regards the medical industry, on the one hand, it does its best to protect the life of an individual, but when it comes to methods to control life, it greatly facilitates the pro-choice decision. For example, sterilization is increasingly performed by the medical industry as a method of reliable and permanent contraception. Indeed, in 2011, about 150 million women worldwide underwent a sterilization procedure. There is also the pharmaceutical industry that, for reasons of profit, regularly places products on the market that are not only dangerous, but often fatal if taken in large doses.
It is therefore essential that all of us, and especially our youth, are informed of the atrocities of the pro-choice decisions that lead to a culture of death. As a society, we need to find people on both sides of this debate willing to spend years to becoming deeply involved in this dialogue. By sharing our opinions, our values and morals, we can collectively set limits to the culture of death and promote the culture of life. As we engage in such a dialogue, we will surely be able to open the minds of our young people and help them make the right decisions, not only for the life they live, but also for the life after death. By highlighting the divine creation of God, we are in a better position to open their eyes and make sure the young people are not convinced or manipulated by political, media, economic conditions or medical institutions in their decision making.
Finally, when the culture of death replaces the culture of life, belief in eternal life diminishes considerably. In such a situation, it is much easier to be convinced and to allow death to rule the mind. This culture of death is mostly created from political manipulation, economic desires, and personal satisfaction. Therefore it is through enthusiastic commitment, direct education, evangelization through the media, and activism that one can educate our young people to become effective advocates for the pro-life cause. Even if it is a phenomenon that will take much time, we can certainly work together with a renewed determination and spirit of solidarity, and with the firm belief that love and life are stronger than death. After all, all life created by God should be held sacred, be protected and valued.