Lately I have been talking to our editorial writer about why abortion is so important, and so unlike any other issue. Some of that conversation is going to make it into an editorial or my column. Then I open the August/September issue of First Things and find that journal’s editor writing about the very same topic. Here is an excerpt:

Even now, abortion remains what it has been for more than thirty years: the signpost at the intersection of religion and American public life.

Of course, there are those who think this shouldn’t be so. Personally, I cannot see how abortion could not rank first. We eliminate 1.3 million unborn children in this country every year, a number that dwarfs, by far, the impact of every other activity with which the moral teachings of the churches might be concerned. For that matter, the story of abortion is a tale of blood and sex and power and law—I do not know what more anyone could need for public significance. The people who say they are uninterested in the issue of abortion have always seemed, to me, to be trying to suppress the imagination that most makes us human.

He adds:

Abortion is here, and not to take a stand is to take a stand.

Every two years, we seem to go through this. Usually it comes after the election—and often from Republicans. There’s a good-sized section of the conservative commenting classes that seems to blame the pro-lifers if the Republicans lose, and dismiss the pro-life vote if the Republicans win.

There are, of course, differences between the Canada and US abortion debate, so there is a Canadian version of Bottum’s essay waiting to be written. For now, read Bottum’s essay here.