Sometimes a person is faced with a choice.
In a brutal Vietnamese prisoner of war camp where he was being tortured, John McCain was faced with a choice: he was offered release. He refused the offer, deciding instead to stay with the fellow prisoners under his command.
Many years later John McCain's wife Cindy was visiting an orphanage run by Mother Theresa. There she faced a choice. In the orphanage she saw an abandoned three-month old Bangladeshi girl in need of medical care. She brought the child to the United States, and the McCains later adopted her. Her name is Bridget; she is seventeen years old.
Early in her fifth pregnancy, Sarah Palin was faced with a choice: The Governor of Alaska, in the throes of a demanding and politically promising public career, she was told that the child she was carrying had Down Syndrome, a text-book case for pro-abortion feminists. Sarah Palin chose to have the child. His name is Trig.
Bristol Palin, herself a 17-year-old and the daughter of Sarah and Todd Palin, faced a choice. In her senior year in high school she got pregnant. She accepted responsibility for her behavior, as did the father of the child, and they plan to marry and provide a loving home for the child they are bringing into the world.
In a speech during the primary season, Barack Obama spoke of his support for abortion -- a support so wholehearted that he voted against a bill in the Illinois legislature banning infanticide. In his speech, Obama -- invoking as always the principle of choice -- defended abortion by saying that if one of his daughters happened to get pregnant he would not want her to be "punished with a child."
Bristol Palin and her future husband are not being punished with a child; they are being blessed with one, though they may not be as fully aware of that right now as they soon will be. But even before they discover the fullness of that blessing they will feel something of the moral maturation that comes to those who do the right thing even when it entails self-sacrifice.
The bitter irony is that the term "pro-choice" is almost exclusively used to justify the refusal to take responsibility for a choice.
"Freedom," said Benedict XVI, "isn't opting out; it's opting in."
What he meant by that was that we are given the gift of freedom so that we can use it in ways that are ennobling and selfless and courageous. We opt in by choosing, not the easy way out, but the responsible way forward.