The tragic news of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 this past Sunday left us all wondering again about the safety of flight. We routinely purchase plane tickets, pack our suitcases and plod through airport security lines, thankful we don’t have to drive the whatever-hundred miles it is to our out-of-town business meeting. We leave safely and we return home safely. And then we are jolted back to reality by a news story such as what occurred over the past weekend.
The aftermath of this tragedy brought a storm of controversy over the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max airplanes due to a similar disaster last year with the same model plane. Finally, it seems, agreement has been reached between the government and Boeing to take all 737 Max aircraft out of service until a full investigation can be conducted. We can all seemingly sigh a collective sense-of-relief at this decision.
Sara Nelson, who is the head of the flight attendants union at United Airlines, posted an insightful statement about this decision. In part, she expressed these words:
“Lives must come first always. But a brand is at stake as well. And that brand is not just Boeing. It’s America. What America means in international aviation and by extension in the larger world more generally-that we set the standard for safety, competence, and honesty in the governance of aviation.”
I first read her words-in this article written by Bill Murphy, Jr.–out of my interest in the aviation safety issue. But her words struck a deep chord in my soul. Why? Because these same words, written by Sara Nelson, carry profound meaning if applied to the abortion issue that has been cast into a catastrophic tailspin by recent state legislation making late-term abortion legal. An article published in The Atlantic on February 4, 2019, describes the nature of this moral tailspin:
“These bills represent some of the most lenient abortion policies in the country. Tran said her bill would allow a woman to receive an abortion at term, while in labor, and she offered no explanation of what potential maternal or fetal health complications would necessitate it.”
Allowing a physician to perform an abortion at term or while a woman is in labor solely on the assumption that life does not yet exist – when there is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove this – is the same thing as continuing to fly Boeing 737 Max planes, filled with innocent passengers, when there is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove the planes are safe. If, collectively, we will demand the grounding of all planes until evidence proves their safety for all humans, why will we not demand the ceasing of all abortions until evidence proves that life does not exist in the womb?
Ms. Nelson’s words ring true: Lives must come first. And America’s reputation is at stake in something even more important than aviation. May we be brave enough to “set the standard for safety, competence, and honesty in the governance” of our laws to protect the value and sanctity of all human life – before, during and after birth.