By José Antonio Kast | The decision pronounced last week by the Supreme Court of the United States is a gigantic step forward in the cause of the defense of life and dignity of the unborn, because it leaves behind the sentence that granted the right to abortion above any other legislation of any of the federal states that make up the United States of America.
It was an essentially unjust sentence, because it consecrated a right that does not exist, which is to deprive a human being of the possibility of living, omitting the most elementary duty of a Supreme Court, which is to defend the intrinsic dignity of the person.
Now, at least, those who defend the right to life, and consider abortion as a direct attack against it, will have the possibility of promoting legislation in each state to protect it and to punish abortion as a crime.
The members of the Political Network for Values and all of us who share the importance and priority of the defense of life receive this news with hope and admiration. Hope, because it marks a course of what is possible to achieve when political action is faithful and respectful of the fundamental values that should guide it. But above all with admiration, because this achievement of pro-life groups in the United States demonstrates that the approval of abortion laws is not an inexorable fate for modern societies.
When abortion laws were passed in the 1970s, there was a successive debate in most Western countries, where until then there was a clear awareness that abortion was a flagrant violation of the right to life. One by one, the political movements that defended this right and sought to maintain respect for life as a fundamental right were defeated.
But the big difference was marked after the approval of these legislations: in the great majority of countries, and especially in Europe, the political parties that shared this conviction felt definitively defeated and opted to go for “other agendas”, probably because of the false idea that this was already irreversible or, more seriously, that it meant a cost in votes that they were not willing to assume.
The difference was made by the pro-life movements in the United States, which from the first day after the “Roe versus Wade” ruling not only maintained but increased their action to convince American society of the mistake that had been made. Intellectual work, communicational work and political work at the service of a just and necessary cause. Presidents and opinion leaders gave an enormous impulse to this movement, which has now had a great victory and will surely continue in each federated state.
I believe that American society has, like all, virtues and defects. But in this, a sector committed to life has given us a gigantic example of how to act with perseverance and courage when it comes to fundamental values that cannot be abandoned for electoral considerations or lack of courage in public action.
From Ibero-America, Africa and Europe we must look to this example, especially where progress is being made in the opposite direction, and realize that it is always possible to reverse a law, public policy or ruling that harms human dignity and fundamental rights. We have the enormous challenge of continuing to promote respect for the right to life and the elimination of all threats that, under different forms, seek to violate it.
José Antonio Kast is chair of the Political Network for Values, president of the Acción Republicana movement and founder of the Republican Party of Chile.