Forty million is a big number. That's how many people have not been born in America since the Roe vs. Wade decision.
Whatever one thinks of abortion, 40 million is a lot of non-people. They had no children, or grandchildren of their own. They contributed nothing to science, to culture or to humanity.
Our cavalier attitude toward abortion is part of an indifference to a lot of things that once mattered -- marriage, civility, honesty, generosity and self-control.
As the pro-lifers that marched in Washington this week can tell you, our views about abortion flow from our conception of who we are and where we come from. If we have evolved from slime with no purpose for living, then we should be untroubled by abortion.
But if there is something unique about us -- if we've been created in the image and likeness of god -- then we shouldn't be playing god and deciding who lives and who dies.
Two women on opposite sides of the abortion issue wrote a column for The New York Times this week. They spoke of emphasizing common ground, as opposed to focusing on the things that divide them. That's fine in the short term.
But in the long term, we must revisit what makes human beings objectively unique --philosophically, biologically and theologically. If we don't, we will still be searching for "common ground" while others of our human family are put to death.
Science and alternatives to abortion exist today that did not exist 30 years ago. Even many pro-choicers acknowledge the law was poorly served by the Supreme Court in the Roe decision. But we remain stuck in 1973 as if nothing has changed.
The next generation is reported to be more conflicted than their baby-boomer, "free love" parents. That's a good thing. It shows they are thinking about it and might possibly examine something beyond their own minds and glands.
And that's Column One for this week.
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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America". Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.