The worst crimes against humanity have been perpetrated at those times when certain groups of people are perceived as less than human. The horror of the Holocaust, the tragedy of African slavery, the destruction of Native Americans, and the Rwandan genocide are only a few examples of times when otherwise ordinary, upstanding people participated in unspeakable crimes against entire populations with their society’s tacit approval and seemingly without qualms of conscience.
The holocaust of abortion is being permitted today precisely because many deny the humanity of the unborn child. The fact that life begins at conception is increasingly evident as medical science detects signs of life in the tiniest embryo, which, left to its natural course, will grow into a human child. If the most basic human right to life is unprotected, can any human rights truly be upheld?
In his Gospel of Life, the late Pope John Paul II warns of the dangerous ground we enter when we tolerate the destruction of the most helpless among us:
it asserts values such as the dignity of the person,
by allowing human life [to be] devalued and violated,
especially where it is weak or marginalized.
and guarantee … of democracy and peace."