The Catholic Church has always led the way in the fight against abortion (this is not to take anything away from the others who stand with us in the fight whether Protestant , Orthodox or Jewish - we definitely need your help) but most Catholics are woefully unprepared on this subject. Much of this again goes back to the abuses that followed Vatican II by liberals within the Church. Make no mistake, we are in the middle of a significant spiritual war and the Church's greatest enemies by far are those within her own walls. They have done a good job dumbing down the liturgy and installing their liberal theologians in seminaries.
So I want to help shed some light on certain aspects of abortion that all Catholics should be aware of (and sadly many are not). We all agree that abortion is intrinsically evil. Great. I'm not going to debate about that here, that is a discussion on an entirely different level. What we need to address are the following four questions:
- Why is abortion wrong?
- Even if it's wrong, should there be a law?
- Why should we legislate abortion but not adultery (for example)?
- What about in cases of rape?
Both contraception and abortion are intrinsically evil because they are antagonistic to life (Catechism 2271, 2370). Of contraception the Catechism says:
In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil.But abortion is not simply wrong because it is antagonistic towards life which God intended. Abortion is wrong because it is literally murdering a human being and is thus dealt with in the catechism under the 5th commandment (you shall not murder) and not under the 6th commandment (you shall not commit adultery) like contraception is. Attempts to soften the maliciousness of this crime against nature by calling the infant a 'fetus' are nothing more than semantic. (Even if it wasn't murder it would still be wrong but on a different level).
To understand the gravity of the offense it helps to understand the eternal consequences as pronounced by the Church. Those who procure an abortion or even those providing necessary assistance are excommunicated from the Church latae sententiae. Canon law states:
Can. 1398 A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.And 1329 says:
§2. Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a latae sententiae penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed, and the penalty is of such a nature that it can affect them; otherwise, they can be punished by ferendae sententiae penalties.You are not excommunicated for simple disorders of the flesh or of God's intrinsic plan for us or even for disorders which impede the natural law of life. It speaks volumes of how deplorable the Church considers this sin to know that a Catholic is automatically excommunicated even by helping make the sin possible! For a Catholic, this issue is not up for debate:
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:The catechism also quotes the Didache (composed in the late first century and may well be based on the results of the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15) :
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.Thus we are not speaking of a disordered behavior but an action which is a grave evil. But just how grave of an evil is it? Every human knows in their heart how intrinsically evil and disordered an abortion is. But in case there's any question, according to the Catechism (2268), abortion belongs to a category of evil that is even more grave than other intentional murders:
Infanticide, fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break.The liberal argues "but its my body I can do what I want" but even your flesh does not belong to you. The very air we breathe is on loan from God. All we are and all we have belongs to Him and was given to us a gift. Stewardship does not mean ownership. If your own body is not yours, how much less the body of another living human inside you?
Summary: Abortion is gravely evil first and foremost because it is a mother hiring a doctor to murder her child. There is no wiggle room on this topic.
Even if its Wrong Should There Be a Law?
Now it's time to start getting real honest with each other. No one thinks that abortion is a good thing. No one. Even the godless liberals who hate the Church and hate Christ who protest in support of this culture of death would never say abortion is a lovely thing. It's viewed by almost everyone as sort of a 'necessary evil'.
This is the ultimate liberal lie: "I wouldn't personally have an abortion but I don't think you should force anyone not to have one". There aren't many pro-abortionists (no matter how morally depraved) that wouldn't start their defense with that line. But sadly many Christians and even Catholics share this view with the left wing.
First of all, it is deception from the beginning to distinguish legislation dealing with abortion from other moral sins (we will deal with this more directly in the next question). But for now, understand that we legislate many other types of sins already (theft, rape, assault).
So the objection is raised "but those sins hurt others". As a first objection, I demonstrated previously that it is false on multiple levels to equate abortion to an evil that only affects yourself. It is demonstrably true that you are ending the life of another human being (and again, even if it did only affect yourself, you are a steward of your body and have rights only to act according to the intrinsic goodness you were created for). The second and most undeniable objection to this poor logic is that we have many other laws that really do only affect yourself (and no one raises any objections): the seatbelt mandate, personal drug use, suicide etc... Even in a case where it unquestionably deals with your own body (lets look at suicide), we legislate and no one has any objections. It is illegal for you to commit suicide in most states. Those who attempt and fail are punished and we don't have a problem. Where are the pro-choicer protests now? Why is it only 'your body' when it is another human being inside of you? So if we are to argue that abortion should be legal (even though it's unpleasant or even wrong) because we don't have the right to 'legislate morality' or 'impose our morality on someone else's body' then we are living in complete hypocrisy unless we also intend to legalize suicide, drug use, no seat belt laws and a host of other laws which deal solely with ourselves and do not inflict harm on others. However, even then we are still mistaken since it is not our body as explained above.
Secondly, the moment 'choice' enters the debate all integrity has been forfeited. It is completely illegitimate to speak of this issue as justified by the necessity of free will. If that line of poor logic worked here, it would work in other cases so lets test it. If I were 'pro-choice' when it came to rape (that is; I would never personally do it but I dont think you should legislate your morality--- everyone should have free choice) would the pro-abortionist agree with me? Certainly not. So their objection must be - 'thats completely different, it harms another person!' Again, see the previous paragraph as to why this logic doesn't work. But assuming it did, the objection only answers the previous assertion (that no law should be made against abortion because it only affects the aggressor) and is thereby false according to the previous arguments and has nothing to do with an issue of 'choice'. What I'm saying is, let's keep the arguments where they belong. If you say no law should be made because it impedes 'choice' you are unquestionably wrong. According to that poorly conceived rationale, forcing rapists not to rape would therefore be wrong since it impeded their 'choice'. Finally, if your idea of 'freedom' is the right to murder your child without consequence, there are some very fundamental and grave disorders at work and not simply a failure of logic.
But what about the Church? What does she say about the issue?
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.And the Catechism goes on to quote the Scripture:
From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.We can therefore discern two things from this text. First, an infant (yes even a fetus) has the same rights as an adult human. Second it is our moral obligation to protect human life. Just as we would be in serious sin by voting for a politician who openly called for the legalization of murder (adult murder) or rape, we are guilty of the same by voting for a pro-abortion politician. (We would never consider the politician in the former, why do so many 'Catholics' do so willingly for the latter? I will return to this question later). Again from the Catechism:
2271 ... God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:Therefore our question is answered. The Church unequivocally affirms that it is society's solemn duty (and the duty of every Catholic) to defend the life of all human beings from conception until natural death. It is not optional. Therefore to say 'there shouldn't be a law restricting abortion' is in stark opposition to clear Church teaching.
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority.These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined....As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."
Why should we legislate abortion but not adultery?
This is a much more difficult question than the previous two. However, it can be simplified. First, the Church does not teach that we should not legislate adultery and in fact, adultery is a crime in most places. In Christian countries the sentence for adultery is usually fairly light. But I am not dealing at this point with the severity of the sentence but rather whether or not it is justifiable to legislate it.
When Jesus pardoned the adulteress in John chapter 8, the point isn't that adultery isn't wrong or even that it doesn't deserve death; in fact, it does. It is a mortal sin. The point is that God is willing to forgive us even of such grave sins. He is also willing to forgive us of abortion. But today we neither call abortion not adultery permissible. Neither should we say that either should not be legislated. In deed, we have a duty to protect human life (as explained previously) and a duty to protect the sanctity of marriage. That is why when we break wed-lock by adultery, we have committed not only a sin but a crime. If marriage is a legal contract, then adultery is a breach of that contract. Just like lying, it is a crime and should be legislated to some degree.
So we haven't even addressed the issue of severity of punishment. It's not like the culture of death wants abortion to be punished by a slap on the wrist (as opposed to say an electric chair) but they don't even want to admit its wrong or that we have any right whatsoever to legislate it!
Even in the comparison of adultery and abortion, abortion is worse. Adultery can be mended (in the relationship) by repentance & forgiveness. Abortion can be forgiven by God but the relationship cannot be healed, it has been severed permanently! The effects on society are probably worse as well. The West is now, by process of abortion, killing itself off. We will reap severe consequences.
What About In Cases of Rape?
Finally, this is an issue that needs to be faced head on and without reserve. The Church has done a terrible job of educating laity on this issue and as a result - the majority of Catholics are entirely unprepared intellectually to deal with this question. Firstly, this is almost always a dishonest attempt to justify abortion. The fact is that rape and incest account for an infinitesimal amount of abortions. The number of women whose health could actually benefit from abortion is likewise almost non-existent. Ron Fitzsimmons (head of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers) - an abortionist - said this:
"When you're a doctor who does these abortions and the leaders of your movement appear before Congress and go on network news and say these procedures are done in only the most tragic of circumstances, how do you think it makes you feel? You know they're primarily done on healthy women and healthy fetuses, and it makes you feel like a dirty little abortionist with a dirty little secret."(1)US News & World Report said:
"Only 9.4 percent of late abortions at clinics that responded to the U.S. News survey were done for medical reasons, either to protect the mother's health (a rare situation) or, more commonly, because of fetal defects such as spina bifida and Down's syndrome"(2)So it should be noted from the start that this is a rare minority of cases (health concerns or rape). Now, from the Catechism:
2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. the murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.So we should be understanding a clear precedent from Church teachings - ends do not justify the means! On the issue of rape, parents often try to drill two fundamental principles of life into their children's heads. 1. Life is not fair 2. Two wrongs don't make a right. Anyone who argues that rape justifies abortion fails to grasp one or more of these two fundamental (while yes difficult to swallow) facts of life. It's not pretty and there's no way around it. But forcing a defenseless, innocent child to forfeit his or her right to life as a result of another man's sin is grossly disordered in the extreme.
Infanticide, fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority.
Lets imagine a man born with some hideous disfigurement (details aren't important). Needless to say, he would grow up discriminated against and made fun of his entire life. He had few if any friends and he lived a life of misery. Even his parents abandoned him to an orphanage. He has never had a girlfriend and he feels sure he never could marry. But one day he meets a beautiful woman and for whatever unlikely and improbable reason she falls madly in love with him and wants to marry him. But she can't because she has a husband and it simply isn't possible to divorce and remarry him (they must be Catholic). So this man, our hero has been born in to an unfair situation. He is the victim of an evil and arguably an evil worse than being raped. But he does have one way to fix the problem. If he murders her husband (and gets away with it) he can marry the woman and be happy. Of course, we all instantly recognize this as immoral. Regardless of how bad his situation is, we would never agree that it is permissible to murder in order to 'fix' the wrong which was done to him. In the exact same way, we can never under any circumstances, say that murder is justifiable because of rape either.
So, those Christians who believe that abortion is ok in the case of rape have contradicted themselves. If it is murder - then it is wrong whether rape is involved or not. If it is not murder, then it's never wrong (even if just done for the mere convenience of it). Two wrongs never make a right.
Now I'm not going to spend much time on the issue of the health of the mother. I have already explained that this is rarely even a suggested cause for abortion much less a valid justification. The real fact is that abortion itself is demonstrably hazardous to a woman's health and yet this is routinely concealed in post Roe V Wade health reports. Here are a few sites for further reading:
The Church on Abortion In Cases of Rape & Health Concerns
And there's plenty more if you'll just spend a small amount of effort. Bottom line - the defense is there and it's strong if you're willing to hear it.
Now in closing, I urge all of my Catholic and Protestant brothers and sisters to keep one thing in mind: we are not warring against flesh (unless God's Word returns void). (Ephesians 6:12)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.In blunt terms, the Culture of Death is an army orchestrated by Satan. They have an evil agenda. Take for example a story I read today in LifeLine Volume XVI No. 1 - in Arizona, a 12 year old girl was raped by her foster brother. After receiving an abortion at Planned Parenthood they returned her home with full knowledge of the incident but due to their 'dont ask dont tell' policy, neither her parents nor the police were notified and she wasnt counseled to do so either. SHE WAS RAPED AND IMPREGNATED AGAIN. This is the type of evil we're facing. Its not a game. Its not politics, it is evil.
Just as at mass by receiving the Body of Christ we are taking a communion of life, participating and cooperating with heaven, so by sin and apathy to sin we are partaking of death and communing with hell.
To say "we should not legislate abortion" or "abortion is ok in the case of rape" is to give aid and comfort to the enemy.
Embryonic stem cell research & contraception are both also part of the culture of death but those are topics for another time. Again, the resources are abundantly available to anyone who wants to learn. I suggest you do so because our enemies are studying as we speak.
Suggested for further reading: