I recently posted a topic-starter in the “catholic Dialogs” devoted to the issue of conception control and why Catholics and Protestants have different motivations and methods in the practice. In a moment of carelessness, I mentioned that in the case of rape or where coming to term would kill the mother, abortion is not beyond my ability to comprehend. Here’s exactly what I said. “…I am against abortion in most cases, but possibly understanding it when the mother’s life is at stake (as long as it is her choice) and maybe in cases of rape…”
I stand by that position, but it unecessarily confused the issue I wanted to discuss with Catholic friends about conception-control. So I unintentionally invited people to weigh-in on abortion, all of whom (so far) have disagreed with me on what I stated above. I am ok with that, but instead of funneling those comments and the potential debate into that section of the “catholic Dialogs,” I just decided to create some new space for it here.
So, without any attempt to offer a comprehensive defense of my developing stance, let me briefly say why I am where I am on abortion in cases of rape and mother mortality:
1) There are worse things than being killed. Having a biological mother who doesn’t want you is undeniably (and perhaps unendingly) painful and has proven to lead to abuse, neglect and general destruction. Unwanted and unloved children oftentimes (but no, not always) grow up to be abusive, illicit sex-having and irresponsible types who perpetuate potentially abortive situations. Abortion is certainly abuse, but it is over quickly.
2) There are worse things than going to heaven. Babies get a one-way ticket to heaven. Even if an unwilling mother doesn’t neglect, abuse and destroy her child after he or she is born, this doesn’t mean that the child will grow up to be a Christ follower. Abortion is terrible, but the results are guaranteed in more ways than one.
3) I can encourage potential mothers to have a self-sacrificng attitude on the issue, but it is simply not my call to make for them. To become a mother or avoid it is up to them and it is an issue between them and God, not me and them and God. The same can be said of anyone or anything else we might substitute for “me,” like an institution or the government etc. Becoming a mother should always be the choice of the mother. Rape takes that choice away as does terminal pregnancy. Motherhood is a bit moot if you’re dead after all.
Some of my fellow believers, Catholic or otherwise, will undoubtedly say that the church must confront all types of abortion and seek to prevent them all. I understand this on the grounds that we are called to act on our beliefs and protect the defenseless. However, I cannot pretend that there is no conflict with well-meaning religious people who want to impose their beliefs and convictions on others who do not espouse similar faith and convictions. That is politely called “Theocracy” in Western circles. It has been tried, and it has failed time and time again. Western culture has already been down that bloody road more than once, and we need not repeat the error again. For those more familiar with Islam, Sharia Law is the name of that game, and I have little doubt that Christians chafe at the idea of having it imposed on them from without, yet this is precisely what some Christians want to do to others.
So, there is the preliminary gauntlet for readers to throw down. All I ask is that respondents keep the claws in and that you/they do not post a meandering, multi-page rant all at once. Break it down and we can discuss one (or perhaps two) issue(s) at a time.