Abortion is the premature death of the embryo or fetus during his development. We talk about spontaneous abortion or miscarriage when the death is not caused deliberately. We talk about induced abortion or direct abortion when someone voluntarily puts an end to the life of the embryo or fetus. The expression “termination of pregnancy” masks the reality that is the death of the child, the one who is most directly interested in living. Worldwide, there are around 50 million abortions every year. These millions of children are unique and irreplaceable.
What does the Catholic Church have to say about Abortion? (YOUCAT 383)
God-given human life is God’s own property; it is sacred from the first moment of its existence and not under the control of any human being. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer. 1:5). [see CCC. 2270-2274, 2322]
God alone is Lord over life and death. Not even “my” life belongs to me. Every child, from the moment of conception on, has a right to life. From his earliest beginnings, an unborn human being is a separate person, and no one can infringe upon his rights, not the State, not the doctor, and not even the mother. The Church’s clarity about this is not a lack of compassion; she means, rather, to point out the irreparable harm that is inflicted on the child who is killed in an abortion and on his parents and on society as a whole. Protecting innocent human life is one of the noblest tasks of the State. If a State evades this responsibility, it undermines the foundations of a rule of law.
Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat is a journey of spiritual healing to help women and men overcome the painful effects of an abortion experience. The retreat offers a sanctuary in which to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion in a safe, supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment. Retreats are held in both Catholic and Interdenominational settings. The leaders include a highly trained team of facilitators, including a qualified counsellor, a spiritual guide and a priest.
Woman and child: friends or enemies?
Why should the mother’s option to kill her child overrule the child’s right to live? Can the child be considered as an unjust aggressor? Even though this theory has unfortunately been developed by some philosophers, the child is always innocent. The bond that unites the mother and her baby, which is the very symbol of love and peace, is terribly damaged by a law that allows abortion.
Cases of Rape
It is understandable that a woman may not want a child conceived from the terrible experience of rape. The mother most especially needs special care after experiencing such trauma. But killing her child does not undo the tragedy; on the contrary, it aggravates it. The criminal must be punished, but why should the child, who is innocent, suffer the death penalty?
In choosing abortion, parents choose death for their child. Thus, current law gives parents the right to kill. What is legal is not necessarily moral. Although the American justice system, since 1973, does not accuse parents for choosing to commit a deadly act through abortion, our conscience reminds us of the fundamental principle “Thou shalt not kill.”
Some claim that abortion liberates a woman from the constraints of motherhood and gives her a “right to control her own body.” Biologically, though, the child is not a part of the mother’s body: the child is a guest. Therefore the mother cannot dispose of the unborn. Moreover, abortion is an attack on the very nature of woman, which is to be a mother. The immense suffering of sterility demonstrates what an essential part of the feminine identity that motherhood is. Hence killing one’s child cannot be the source of freedom or personal fulfilment.
It is not uncommon that young pregnant women feel obliged to abort because the father does not want to take responsibility for their child. Conversely, it sometimes happens that women abort against the will of the child’s father. The father cannot oppose the mother’s will and protect his child. Is it not, however, the child of them both? The child is “flesh of the flesh” of both of them through procreation. A young 22-year-old father confided that he had nearly jumped out of a window when he learned that his girlfriend had aborted their child. The law in the United States ignores the father’s right to protect the “flesh of his flesh.”
Are financial problems sufficient reason to terminate a pregnancy? The best way to help a woman in a difficult situation is not to help her kill a life but rather to resolve her financial problems. If the mother cannot raise her child, adoption is another possible solution for her.
In cases of extreme hardship, it may happen that a mother cannot raise her child. She can then entrust her baby to adoptive parents. Unlike abortion, in which the child loses everything, adoption gives him a chance: he loses his mother but keeps his life and finds new parents. In the United States, over 120,000 children are adopted each year.