Thursday, November 12, 2009


I heard a news program on NPR yesterday that is bothering me tremendously. The great temptation was there to turn off the radio and not think about it but that seemed irresponsible. So because it is still a bur under my saddle you will be saddled with it today.

It was a political program and the topic was abortion. The person on the program was radically pro-abortion. But more on that in a moment. What became clear to me for the first time was how divided we are as a nation on the topic. Of course you already knew that and so did I, but it became clear to me yesterday how difficult it will be to be a united nation in this great debate.

Trying to see the issue from the pro-abortion side I can see why they would want to call the issue pro-choice. In their eyes there is only one person involved – the woman. There is only one body involved: the woman’s. Passing legislation concerning limiting or abolishing abortion to them is a state violation of the woman’s bodily integrity. It would be a kin to forced operation – or better yet the refusal of an operation because the state wants a say in how a woman would look or what kind of operation she wants concerning her body. Viewed in this light abortion limiting laws must seem like an abomination and explains the harshness of the words of the person on the air yesterday.

She is a politician and was stating that she was going to work hard at bringing down any politician that voted for any legislation that would in any way impede a woman’s right to an abortion. Any politician that voted in this manner is “against the women of this county” and they will make sure that they will be opposed wherever they are running for office. To be “anti-choice” is to automatically be opposed to women.

That is mighty strong language but again, if you have the mentality above it makes sense. The problem is that pro-choice people recognize that more than one person involved. There are two human beings present and the strong feelings that the pro-abortion side has toward the bodily integrity of the woman is extended on the pro-life side to the life in her womb – the child. If you see the life within the womb of the mother to be a person, then the above paragraph stated by the politician no longer sounds like a champion for the underdog but a terrifying speech of a powerful person who wants control to do with as they wish to a powerless person. This may sound a bit strong so brace yourself: But if you see two people involved here and one has absolute power – even to put to death the other – it sounds like the horrors of our human history being played out once again – in most recent times acts against the Jewish people and slavery.

Can it be that we could exist as a country where one’s conscience can be the determining factor? The question becomes can a people live in unity where one sees a soul-less life to be treated as the “host” wills and the other who sees a person with legal and God given rights of peace, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? At question is a deep anthropology: “What is man? When does life become man? When does he deserve rights? Who has the right to decide?” We do not agree on these things as a nation and the answers will have extreme consequences in every area and stage of our lives (who should receive health care and how much for example.)

In the end it is a question of who we are – how much power we have – and who has the right to decide. It is much more than about abortion. It is much greater and much, much more is at stake.


Soutenus said...

Oh my goodness. . . . this puts many conversations into a clearer light. What a great post!
I am going to send it over to my FB page and save it at my Catholic Notebook.
This quote is especially harrowing to me (yet right on target),
"Can it be that we could exist as a country where one’s conscience can be the determining factor? "

Moral Relativity rears its ugly head again, doesn't it?

I actually had a friend from HS chime in on a FB "conversation" and say that his truth was not necessarily my truth. He was saying this (I think?) as a way of showing some kind of "tolerance".

I digress . . . . thank you for a wonderfully well thought out post. And thank you for NOT turning off the radio program.

God bless you, Father.

Pat said...

Dear Father, This post reminded me of one you had published a while ago, in which you stated that both sides of this "debate" are like people running parallel to each other in opposite directions, shouting to the other side, "You're going the wrong way." If such is the case, then ardent prayer for conversion of hearts is our most pressing need. Your title was particularly well-chosen. Thanks for addressing this topic.

Anonymous said...

Father, you are to be commended for your perseverance in listening to the entire interview. When I encounter such things, the steam starts coming out of my ears so much that I can no longer hear what is being said!

Atlas said...

You make it sound as if the woman is no better than Hitler if she has an abortion. To be Pro-choice is to give the woman the choice whether or not to have an abortion or not. You cannot command a woman what to do with her body.
A fetus is, at early stages after conception, nothing more than a parasite, living off the mothers body. If the woman cannot sustain the parasite during pregnancy or the child after birth, then I believe she has the right to an abortion.
The biggest problem with banning abortion is you end up with women who, not wanting to sin by having an abortion nor wanting to have a child, just dump their babies in dumpsters or in the street. Or they would have an abortion performed cheap by a back-ally doctor who uses crude and unsanitary instruments. And any child given away to adoption will have to live their life knowing they were rejected from their mother, which is devastating to a child's mentality, especially if they discover this later in their life.
By keeping abortion legal, you keep both options, either abortion or no abortion, open and thus the medical technology can advance to make the abortion process less harmful to the woman.
By forcing a teen girl to go through with the pregnancy is cruel and is severely damaging to the teens mental health, for she will be met by others with either ridicule or disgust. I know this b/c it happened at my High School when a girl got pregnant and the school threatened to end her learning if she got an abortion.
But when you look at it, who is really the dictator here, the women deciding the fate of the fetus, or the church deciding the fate of the woman?

Fr. V said...


You made my point beautifully!

silencedoGood said...


After careful consideration as to whether I should write a rebuttal of your baseless comments regarding abortion I have decided to follow the lead of my Pastor, who so graciously responded to you in the spirit of charity. However, I must correct you on but one remark. In the above post you state: "And any child given away to adoption will have to live their life knowing they were rejected from their mother, which is devastating to a child's mentality, especially if they discover this later in their life.". I take offense at this notion, since I myself was adopted, by loving parents, and can assure you that I neither suffer from mental anguish, nor to I walk through life feeling as if my birth mother rejected me. Quite the contrary. I have the utmost respect for my birth mother, who at 22 yrs of age had the COURGAGE and FORTITUDE to continue her pregnancy and in an act of selfless love give me, her only son, up for adoption because she knew that I deserved a life she herself could not provide for me. Atlas, each day I thank her and God that she did not cowar behind the likes of planned parent hood and take the "easy way out" through abortion, like so many before her.

As always, I will pray for you.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Atlas uses the term "parasite" which is the same term Hitler used to refer to the Jews. I suppose we are all parasites to one degree or another. It's hardly dictatorial for the Church to follow one of the basic tenets of morality: do not kill another human being. God asks us to do what might be inconvenient to us for the sake of others. Abortion has always been the safety net for the sexual revolution. The final contraceptive solution, to paraphrase another idea from the Culture of Death's favorite dictator.

Atlas said...

I was merely using the scientific classificatin of such an organism. The fetus lives off the nutrition of its host, its mother.
A Parasite is something that lives off the nutrition of a host.
Hitler called the Jews parasites meaning they are living off the "nutrition" (the economic benefits) of the Germans. Surprisingly, he actually was right for once. The Jews were exploiting the German Markets at the time, but so were some Germans. This is in NO way supporting what Hitler proceeded to do at all. Hitler needed a scapegoat for all the problems he saw, and the only connection he could make was that Germany's economy was in the pooper b/c of the Jews. This soon evolved into the belief the Jews caused all the problems, which, fueled by the support of the masses, unfortunately led to his Final Solution.
Now, abortion is a safety-net, not because its a final contraceptive solution but b/c it allows women who are finacially or physicall unable to go through child birth. If a women is raped and this leads to a pregnancy, she does NOT have to be forced to go through an unexpected child birthing, she has the option to abort the child. In other cases, such as financial problems, is it better for the child to be aborted or born into a world then swiftly taken back out due to starvation/malnutrition or having to go through life not knowing why there mother rejected them and put them in an orphanage or gave them to another family?
The pope claimed that condoms were not an effective way to stop AIDS in Africa. As soon as he said that, the number of people infected with AIDS in Africa shot up b/c no one was using condoms anymore. Condoms are probably the best protection from STDs, this has been scientifically proven as a fact and to say otherwise is ignorent and condemning millions to a horrible death.