“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”
Our current struggle to defend the innocent presses me to equate this quote with the ideology of believers in evil who take control of the language. These modern day Humptys can literally sway the way a person perceives someone or something else. And when the subject is human dignity, tragic acts can and do ensue.
There are plentiful examples of this no matter where we look. In Iowa, for example, Planned Parenthood’s Jamie Burch Elliott responded to a proposed legislative measure, House File 515, designed to support alternatives to abortion, by claiming that pro-life pregnancy centers “don’t provide contraception. They just use scare tactics, visuals, unsolicited ultrasound exams to intimidate and shame patients.”
Elliott twists a lifesaving pro-life mission into something gruesome. Her words are designed to scare voters and lawmakers into accepting as a good the act of aborting children.
In addition to the obvious, there are the less obvious deceits that occur every day, such as the ruse that it is pro-life to “chip away at abortion rights.” What exactly does this mean?
Are we to believe that, like repairing an old brick fence or a cracked sidewalk, the practice of killing the innocent can be chipped away until murder is barely there at all? And since when does anyone really believe that there is a “right to abortion” any more than there is a right to kill your grandmother or any family member? No, you do not chip away at murder; you end it.
In South Carolina, there is a debate over a pro-life law that is described as a "near total abortion ban." Those words betray the reader and condemn babies to death. How? Because the language of that law permits abortion in cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly, and at any stage in life prior to a detectable heartbeat. This law is a total sham, yet it is celebrated as a pro-life victory.
Whether we are talking about the innocent baby prior to birth or the aging, dying family member, it would seem that frauds are everywhere.
Assisted suicide is one such example of twisting words to please the Humpty Dumptys of the pro-death movement. Many of these folks are working to convince unsuspecting citizens that assisted suicide is an act of mercy and compassion. But at the same time, they are striving to impose death on even more people by trying to expand current assisted suicide laws. Such groups pretend that assisted suicide protections help the suffering, when in fact they provide protective cover to the doctors who facilitate the deaths.
We cannot forget that patients who seek lethal drugs to end their own lives depend on doctors to write the prescriptions. So no matter how we look at it, the doctor is an accomplice to murder, if not the perpetrator. But this is not how supporters of euthanasia of any kind ever describe it. Once again, words mask the truth.
No matter where you turn, twisted words are everywhere. So, in this age of Orwellian doublespeak, we remember St. John’s wise reminder:
"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world." They are from the world, and therefore the world inspires what they say, and listens to them. We are from God; whoever recognizes God listens to us; anyone who is not from God refuses to listen to us. This is how we can distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood.
And this is why we persist!
Judie Brown is president and co-founder of American Life League, the nation's largest grassroots pro-life educational organization. She is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life in Rome, and has appeared in numerous media, including: 20/20, 60 Minutes, Mother Angelica Live, The O'Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, Today, Oprah, and Larry King Live, The Washington Post and USA Today.