Abortion Is Not A Victimless Solution

Author: Mary Beth Bonacci


"In her vigorous concern for human rights and justice, the Catholic Church is unambiguously committed to protecting and cherishing every human life, especially the unborn." ¾ Pope John Paul II, Prayer Service at McNichols Arena


It's a word that makes us really uncomfortable. We know how controversial abortion is. We see fights about it all the time ¾ on TV and in our own schools and often our own homes.

So many times we just want to stay out of it. We want to get along with our friends. We don't want to argue. Life is too complicated anyway, without having to bring global issues into our friendships. So we say, "Sure, I'm a Catholic. Sure I'm against abortion. I mean, I wouldn't have one personally. But that's my morality. I can't impose it on someone else.

If they want to have an abortion, it's their business." It's a lot more comfortable that way, isn't it? I mean, everybody's happy. You're against it, just the way a good Catholic should be. But you leave room for other people's "values." Who can argue with that?

I can. And I will.

To test yourself, take the above statement and replace the word "abortion" with something else you're opposed to. Like, "I'm against rape. I mean, I wouldn't do it. But I can't impose my morality on someone else. If they want to rape, it's their business." Or, "I'm opposed to racism, but if you want to be a racist..."

Now, if we were talking about "values" like which church you want to join, or whether you believe in "great taste" or "less filling," then maybe there's room to "respect other people's values." But that doesn't work in rape or racism. Why? Because in rape or racism, it goes beyond the person, to someone else. There's a victim.

And there's a victim in abortion. It's easy to forget about this victim, because you can't see her or him. It's easy to want to believe that this is just a "blob of tissue" that we're getting rid of in an abortion. But, as my brother once said, if that's "just" a blob of tissue, then everyone else is just a tubful of tissue. It's not how much tissue there is, but what the tissue is that counts.

That blob of tissue, by the earliest abortion, has a heartbeat, brain waves, fingers and toes. She sucks her thumb, wakes and sleeps, and, according to increasing evidence, feels pain. If you've ever seen "The Silent Scream," you know what I mean. It shows an ultrasound of an actual abortion. You can see the baby trying to dodge the abortionist's instruments. You see the heart rate suddenly double in fear. You see her being dismembered. If you're "personally opposed," I recommend that you watch it. And then tell me you wouldn't do that "yourself" but wouldn't object if someone else did.

That little child in the womb is a human being, created in the image and likeness of God. What possible reason could we have for taking her life away? And if we can take hers, who else can we kill? Her parents are too poor to care for her? Well, if we can kill her, what would be wrong with killing the born children of poor people? The only difference is where they live and how big they are. She'll be handicapped? Why not kill the rest of the handicapped, too. Do they mean that little to us? Who are we to say she can't live because her life won't be up to our standards? She's unwanted? What about the homeless? Do we reach out in love to them, or shoot them?

Abortion is supposed to solve the problems of women. But really, what does it solve? If a woman is poor, what does it solve to take her money, kill her child and send her back to the slum? Nothing. It just kills her child. If a woman has been raped, does abortion un-rape her? No, it just kills her child. Face it ¾ invading her body and killing her child cannot possibly be good for her, regardless of the problem.

Sure, there are problems that bring on abortion ¾ big problems. Poverty, rape, incest ¾ these aren't pretty. But does abortion bring us one step closer to solving them? No. Abortion gives us nothing but a dead child. It's an act of violence, nothing more. And a civilized society like ours should be able to solve our problems without resorting to violence against our own children. And to be "personally Opposed" to that kind of violence is nothing but a cop-out. You can do better.

If someone were planning to kill you, you'd want people who care about you to be more than "personally opposed." I suggest that you do the same. Bonacci is a frequent lecturer on chastity.

This article appeared in the August 4, 1994 issue of "The Arlington Catholic Herald."

Courtesy of the "Arlington Catholic Herald" diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information, call 1-800-377-0511 or write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.