We cannot deny that there is a fornication culture in the world aided by contraceptives. To prove that the “safe sex” ideology which the promoters of contraceptives push is an illusion, we still have many “unwanted” pregnancies and teenagers are involved. “Have sex and make it safe with condoms. The pills are still there to avoid pregnancy.” Yet people are still contracting STDs and getting pregnant. With contraception you are encouraged to senselessly gratify your desire and with abortion you are encouraged not to take responsibility for your action. So, when you get pregnant even after using contraceptives, there is a backup – abortion.
But abortion breeds an attitude that devalues children and the devastating consequences is with us.
The Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as a grave evil. Abortion is nothing less than the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. Regardless of what the world says, there is no purpose or circumstance that makes right an act that is intrinsically evil and contrary to the law of God. The law of God proclaimed by the Church is in the heart of the human. It is knowable by reason. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” (CCC 2258).
At the moment of conception, we have a human life which should both be respected and protected. This human being is a person having rights which includes the right to life. To take this life which should be defended is an abominable crime. “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae, by the very commission of the offense, and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society” (CCC 2272). This means that the doctor, the nurse, the cleaner and all who work together to carry out abortion are under the penalty of excommunication.
It is sometimes argued that abortion is a private decision for the woman concerned. It is her body and she has control over it. But no one’s freedom is absolute. Our individual freedom has a limit and this leads us to respect the freedom of others. In this case we are referring to the freedom of the weak and defenseless child in the womb. That child has a right to life and the freedom of the mother should respect that and not take it. What is the first right of a human person? It is his life. With abortion, the society is saying that we can recognize this right for some and not for others.
Women have been told that the fetus is just a lump of tissue, yet by three weeks gestation the baby has a heartbeat; by seven weeks brain waves can be measured; by nine weeks he withdraws from pain; and by ten weeks all of his organs are formed and the baby just needs to continue to grow.1
The risks of abortion are hardly disclosed to the woman and this does not help her make an informed decision. Consider the long term physical risks of abortion:
- Due to the damage resulting from cervical lacerations, women who receive abortions often have difficulty conceiving or carrying future children to term.
- Some abortions cause perforation of the uterus, which usually goes undiagnosed and can result in pregnancy complications and eventually damage to the uterus requiring a hysterectomy.
- Placenta previa (a condition in which the placenta blocks the neck of the uterus wholly or partially such that it interfers with the normal delivery of a baby) in subsequent pregnancies is much more common in women who have had abortions. This can seriously endanger unborn children, leading to malformation and sometimes death.
- Abortion and Cancer: Data indicates that the rates of cervical, ovarian, breast and liver cancer are greatly increased by abortion. Some studies suggest that one abortion increases the chances of cervical cancer by 130 percent, while two increase the chances by 392 percent. The increase in cancer risks for women are due to the violent disturbance of the normal hormonal balances of pregnancy, as well as frequent cervical damage.2
These physical effects do not include the guilt that hovers over the woman afterwards. Abortion is not an easy decision for the woman. A woman who chooses abortion is going against deeply seated instincts. That child is her baby and she knows she ought to protect her. But she thinks, “I cannot afford to have this baby now. Abortion is easy and it will be as if this never happened. It is the solution to this confusion.” She hardly considers that the act of aborting her own child can leave her with feelings of anxiety and guilt. This is a condition called Post-Abortion Syndrome and the symptoms include:
- Suicidal thoughts or acts
- A sense of hopelessness about the future
- Nightmares or sleeping disorders
- Flashbacks to the abortion experience
- Feelings of intense grief or depression on the date of the abortion
If abortion contributes to the feelings of self-hatred, depression, and even substance abuse, children pay a price especially when there is a complete emotional breakdown. The day after her abortion, Renee Niceley of New Jersey experienced a “psychotic episode” and beat her 3-year old son, Shawn, to death. A tragedy similar to this occurred just one week after Donna Flemming’s second abortion. She tried to kill herself and her two sons by jumping off a bridge in Long Beach, California. Donna and her five-year old son survived but her two-year old son did not. Donna claimed she tried to kill herself and her other children so that her family would be reunited.
Considering these, one can say that post-abortion trauma can lead to a rise in child abuse.
When a child is torn from his or her mother’s womb, it triggers a tragic chain of events. Because a woman was created to be a giver of life, she now must justify her actions toward her child. Denial allows her to initially feel relief and she thinks that her problem is solved. Yet her denial slowly evolves into anger and rage. When it is directed toward herself it becomes depression, anxiety, fearfulness, and lack of motivation. She vividly relives the event through intrusive thoughts or through nightmares. It becomes difficult to see babies, to hear their cries, or to view anything relating to them. If her anger is directed outwardly, she lashes out in rage toward her husband or other children. She has difficulty forming trusting relationships with others, especially men. Since she has already broken the initial bond between mother and child, her relationships with her other children may be affected. Her children may be smothered and overprotected and not allowed to attain their full maturity, or they may not be nurtured in a loving relationship with her.”
The rates of child abuse have risen sharply over the past twenty years. Is it possible that abortion can make a woman more vulnerable to abuse her child? 1
Some people who support abortion claim that abortion of “unwanted children” prevents child abuse. Something is wrong with this argument which seems to be ignored. The argument suggests that killing a child is better than beating them. You know that is not true. There is rather a connection between abortion and subsequent child abuse. Hardly do the supporters of abortion or Pro-choice group consider the effects of abortion on the woman herself. There are two victims of abortion – the woman and the child. The difference is that one of them does not live to regret it. Compare the inconvenience of a woman having an unwanted child or adopting the baby out to that of being haunted by her conscience for possibly the rest of her life.
What about rape victims who get pregnant? “Certainly they are free to abort and not be made to carry the baby of a depraved stranger,” pro-choice advocates would say. This argument can make pro-life advocates seem cruel. From what has been discussed so far, you can see that abortion can be traumatic. So I ask: is it helpful to add the physical and emotional trauma an abortion would bring to the hurt the woman already has? A woman who has been raped is already hurting and adding the guilt of abortion will not help her to heal.
A pregnant woman especially one who is not married has many things on her mind which she is processing. She is probably hurting, angry, and confused. At that point, she is vulnerable and is very likely to make rash decisions. This is why many women have abortions that they later regret.
- Rhode Island Right to Life, Side Effects of Abortion, http://www.rirtl.org/site/page.php?s=01_01_05, Accessed January 12, 2017.
- Abortion Clinics… The Facts, http://www.abortionclinics.ca/abortion-risks.shtml, Accessed January 11, 2017.