What would happen if she had made another decision?

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By fr. Reynaldo Rafael Chang, OP

From the point of view of faith

It is a good question to begin to analyze the situation that aims to tear – to end - life from shortly after conception. This first question could be complemented with the following question: What would happen if the laws had supported the opposite decision? Since not only the “committing a crime” would be considered but the consent and support of the laws to commit that crime.

She” is not more than our mother and each of the mothers who have “decided” to continue with the pregnancy instead of resorting to an abortion.

When I was the university, I took a subject that I consider the most interesting, because it is closely linked to life, the planet, each unicellular and multicellular organism, rocks and minerals, a subject dedicated to The Creation and the evolution of Species: Environmental Education.

My teacher: a person without equal; my classmates: the best. At the end of the semester, we came to the topics related to reproduction and population. For the first class of this subject the teacher reproduced a video comparable to the saga “Saw”: they were the most atrocious and bloody 30 or 45 minutes of the semester; finished the video - the carnage and the bloodshed - our teacher read a text that was entitled “letter of an aborted child to his mother” (easily available online). After reading the letter, the teacher dismissed us, even though there were 2 hours left until the end of the class. I guess because there was nothing more to say, clarify, explain, discuss... the images spoke for themselves... Now I want to ask: if for someone who only sees a video about abortions it is a terrible experience, how will it be to decide and practice an abortion?

When I began my vocational discernment one of the biblical texts that were recommended to me is: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jr. 1:5). Once I was accepted in the postulancy of the Order of Preachers, in one of the philosophy classes I studied the Aristotelian concepts of “the act” and “the power”. Keeping in mind these aspects of faith and reason I will ask again what would happen if she had made another decision?

Now I invite you to think about the mothers of the most prominent men and women of the world: people of faith, leaders of the Church, leaders of religious movements of any kind, scientists, doctors, researchers, politicians, philosophers, artists, police, firemen, in short, countless people who have dedicated their lives so that others can live better. Let us think about “ordinary” people like us, like the members of our families, our friends, like the destitute who begs on the corner, people around the world whose existence we do not know and they ignore ours, but who play an important role for very simple that is, like ours ... What would happen if our mother or his had made the decision to abort us?

Once I discussed with a friend about the stance of science and its apparent control over the life of the human being. “Who does decide who lives and who dies?” was the controversial question, we laughed a lot when we saw how stupid each idea was, one more absurd than the other, but this mental exercise helped us to understand that the problem is not the science itself, it is the human being that needs to be re-educated and learn to respect life, from its beginning (unicellular) and in each of its forms (biodiversity).

The relearning process will be slow and painful, I am sure of that, but this seems to be the only answer we can find to not destroy The Creation. The following quote is taken from the Encyclical Letter “Humanae Vitae” (1968) “Call to the attention of educators and people in charge of the good of human coexistence on the need to create a favorable climate for the education of chastity, triumph of freedom over debauchery, through respect for the moral order.” For 50 years, Blessed Paul VI has invited us to take up positions in favor of life.

Life is defined as the “property or essential quality of animals and plants, by which they evolve, adapt to the environment, develop and reproduce.

Living organisms evolve. The human being, as a living organism, also does so, but on two levels: the natural one that has caused him to lose body hair; and the intellectual who has led him to discover and master knowledge.

Life is the “property or essential quality of […] plants ...” How many times have we sat on the grass in a beautiful park to talk with another person and at the same time(conscious or unconscious of it) we start to tear off the lawn? A detail that is considered insignificant, but that does justice to the definition quoted, at tearing off the grass we end with that essential property called life.

We feel like having a new table. Why not make it out of cedar? The coffin in mahogany, the furniture set in pine, the doors in walnut, the maple floors ... do not the trees also have this property that we call life?

As we climb the evolutionary scale and we find tigers, leopards, jaguars, snakes, crocodiles, all of them with a raw material par excellence for the manufacture of coats, purses, and belts... and how is it to be missing among the ornaments of the house a mountainous landscape carved in the tusk of an elephant? ... Dressed in fur, sitting on the pine furniture, we can contemplate the aforementioned mountainous landscape carved in the tusk of an elephant while we eat, at the cedar table, our soup of shark fins and «foie gras» as a luxury dish... with these examples I consider that I make myself understood. What are we doing with The Creation? Pope Francis in his encyclical letter “Laudato Si’” explains it in a very correct way.

Now the central point of this essay: the human being leads the evolutionary scale, is the most beautiful creation of God: “You made him a little less than the angels, you crowned him with glory and honor, and you put him on the works of your hands.” (Heb 2: 7); we are endowed with intelligence to manage (dominate) the planet's natural resources and even scientific knowledge. In “Humanae Vitae” Blessed Paul VI affirms that "The Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of intelligence in a work that closely associates the rational creature with its Creator, but affirms that it must be done respecting the order established by God.” 

It is not absurd to say that the human being has not been able to respect the life of the “lower organisms”. The thought evolves, changes, develops, rises in level, often becomes arrogant, selfish and seeks to dethrone the Wisdom itself; therefore it is logical to think that if we are doing away with plants and animals, abortion is no exception. It seems that wars, the number of biological and chemical weapons, terrorism, environmental pollution or diseases to end the human race are not enough. It seems that something more radical was needed: to destroy the life of a human being who does not yet have the strength or the means to defend himself.

The central question in this text is linked to the decision of a woman and this is totally true because it is the woman who has and will always have the last word when it comes to successfully carry a pregnancy or choose abortion. It is in the body of the woman that the biological and psychological processes of pregnancy occur and she suffers at the moment of birth, to the point of, many times, putting her own life at risk when complications arise.

On Facebook®I found a picture of a protest in favor of the legalization of abortion, a woman holding a poster with the following inscription: “with my uterus, I do what I want”. Undoubtedly I support the idea expressed in the poster: it is that woman's body in particular, as she says “it is her uterus”; now the question is: the life that is developing in “her uterus” to whom it belongs? Each one of us is the son of his mother, biologically and legally speaking, but our mothers are not the owners of life. The word mother is defined in the dictionary as “Woman who has had one or more children, or female animal that has had one or more offspring.” Similarly, the word owner is defined as “Person who exercises control over a certain thing or person, or has power over it.” At no time are these definitions equivalent, or even similar.

When considering the idea of an abortion it must be taken into account that this new being that is being formed (in act) can be (in power) the one that develops the vaccine against cancer, the one that brings peace to the Middle East, the one that achieves the unification of all denominations of the Church, the one that brings happiness to the home, the one that saves the life of another in danger, the perfect donor of bone marrow, the one that will close your eyes when death comes. If abortion is the chosen alternative, then there is the possibility that the vaccine against cancer will never be developed or postponed, that peace never reaches the Middle East...

Another topic that can be considered for analysis is that motherhood (and fatherhood) is assumed as a heavy responsibility in the first place, then as the restriction of freedom and finally as an economic commitment. This problem is solved when we realize that being a mother or father is a received grace, a privilege that we do not deserve but that God in his infinite mercy has granted us. To have a child is to be co-creators with the Creator, it is to continue his work on earth, and it is to guarantee the continuation of life and its development. Paul VI tells us “Human life is sacred; from its beginning, it directly commits the creative action of God.” (Cf. HV, 13). How to despise being co-creators? How to reject a gift or a privilege as such? Why not change the words “responsibility” for “total surrender”, “restriction of freedom” for “being available to those who need it” and “economic commitment” for “investment”? Is it that the purpose is for human life to end with our generation? 

The third and last element is the use of abortion as a new “contraceptive method”. Apparently, family planning is failing, sexual education has disappeared and sex has become a promiscuous and irresponsible physical exercise, being the causes of “unwanted pregnancies” which have as an easy solution the practice of abortion. Part of the re-education to which I refer has to do with understanding that abortion is not and never will be a contraceptive method. 

St. John Paul II (1983), recalled that God “calls husbands to responsible procreation.” That means “discerning the rhythms of human fertility and guiding your paternity according to these rhythms.” With these words, he reaffirmed that “the doctrine of the Catholic Church admits the limitation or regulation of births only with methods based on the biological rhythms of fecundity or non-fertility of women, but rejects contraception” or direct intervention to prevent the conception. 

Finally, among the 10 Commandments, we find “you shall not kill”. Abortion presupposes a direct intervention to end an innocent life and incapable of defending by himself. That governments support legal initiatives that regulate, encourage or accept the practice of abortion is the first step towards legalization to justify the termination of life, this time not of a “fetus”, but of any human being regardless of his age. To accept and support abortion is to abrogate the right on the life of every human being because each one of us could be that human being aborted by our mother's decision and with the approval of the laws of our country. Abortion is also to end the possibility of evolution and improvement of the human species. It is to eliminate the joy of the world.

Saint Dominic fought against the heresies in the south of France, once founded the Order of Preachers the first task entrusted was to study for the preaching of the Gospel, to believers and non-believers, as the result of contemplation. The situation of abortion is comparable to the heresies of the thirteenth century. Friars, nuns, and tertiaries who live according to the example of our Father Saint Dominic, once again we are being called to preach the Gospel of Life for the life of all those who have not yet been born. 

I would like to insist once again that the solution lies in the education of the masses on time and out of time, against the odds, with the help of God, who has given us the means, the intelligence and the ability to fight against this new evil. Let us help mothers, fathers, and families to make the right decision, a decision in favor of life: the essential property of each organism and the greatest gift we have received from our heavenly Father.