Any discussion regarding abortion rights should acknowledge certain fundamental truths. First of all, there is no sin greater than God’s Love and Grace. God loves us and wants us to experience his love. My Quaker Grandmother told me to always look into the faces of people—strangers and those we hold close and understand that each of us harbors something in our hearts that is known only to us and that causes us great pain. Treat all people with this in mind especially when assuming a position in a moral argument.
Today women reaching the age of 45 in several states have a one in four chance of having had an abortion. I hold no position in the Catholic Church nor am I an apologetic of any kind. I am expressing my feelings based on my understanding of Church teachings—the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Catholic doctrine and dogma is consistent and incontrovertible regarding the issue of abortion. Paragraphs 2259 through paragraph 2270 of the Catholic Catechism deal specifically with abortion and the sanctity of human life. Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative act of God. “Before I formed you I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you” Jer. 1:5
The Biblical bases for the protection of all life comes from an understanding of the 5th Commandment and as paragraph 2273 states “the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being is a constitutive element of a civil society and it’s legislation” Abortion is a purposeful premeditated thoughtful procedure with a specific intent of destroying a life with all it’s potential. An unborn baby boy or girl is the most vulnerable person in this discussion
There are civil libertarians that argue it is not the role of society or government to interfere in a private decision that only involves issues concerning the mother. Early in his political career, though his position changed over time, Barry Goldwater took the libertarian approach on right-to-life issues. These arguments fail to take into account the rights of the child or recognize the moral standing of the baby’s right to life.
Secular moralists arguing a pro-life position—though few, have made an “agency asymmetry” argument. The mother is in effect an agent for both herself and the baby and her interests and perspective may be “asymmetric” when considering this specific life and death of a child. The Christian position would be that the unborn child is a gift from God that carries with it a unique responsibility of the mother to protect the child, no matter the circumstances of conception.
World Health Organization, CDC, and Guttmacher Foundation—a leading reproductive non-profit, statistics vary and when citing statistics, I will use averages. Since 1973 (Roe vs Wade) there have been over 60 million abortions in the USA. Last year there were 900,000 little baby boys and girls killed in the USA by abortion and Worldwide there are about 70 million abortions per year. In 1980 abortions were occurring at a rate of 18/1000 women of child-bearing age. Since that time the abortion rate has been going down and in 2016 the rate was at 14/1000 or one in four pregnancies in the USA are unwanted and 25% of these result in an abortion 98% of abortions in our country are simply because the baby is unwanted. In New York City there are more abortions of Black baby boys and girls than there are live births.
Arguments have been made by conservative black political philosophers that the right to life is the ultimate civil rights issue of the day in immigrant and black communities. I am today most disappointed, but not surprised by the lack of courage of the leadership of the Catholic Church in our country. The Bishops seem to be unwilling to call abortion for what it really is. In trying to accommodate the feelings of disparate political factions they fail to be true teachers and defenders of the faith in my most humble opinion. Teach the Catechism and what is in the Bible. Standup to those—particularly politicians who themselves are Catholic who consistently vote against the rights of the unborn child.
The extreme libertarian and progressive positions regarding abortion rights are inconsistent with Christian teaching and inconsistent with an understanding of The “Natural Law”. The “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through the pursuit of property” are given to us by God, but if one were an atheist or agnostic such as Ayn Rand, or an ancient pre Christian philosopher like Cicero or Aristotle, it would still be argued in the tradition of Western philosophy that a life cannot be possessed or owned but only “held in trust”.
Christians believe that the ultimate responsibility for holding that trust is a mother protecting a child as exemplified by Mary protecting her son Jesus. This is the ultimate example of what we stand for as a Christian people. In the case of abortion it is not WWJD—”what would Jesus do?” But what would Mary do?
I would hope and pray that every mother, father, and family would ask that question before undergoing an abortion. And as the years go on I hope that every mother, father, and family, that made such a decision would never forget that there is no sin greater than God’s love and grace, and God wants to love you and know that you are always loved.
I personally couldn’t make it through a day without knowing that truth.