Philip Kosloski graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Catholic Studies and completed his Master of Arts degree in Theology with the Augustine Institute. He is a writer and author of In the Footsteps of a Saint: John Paul II’s Visit to Wisconsin. He blogs at philipkosloski.com and writes to help all Catholics master the art of prayer by conquering the practical obstacles that prevent a fruitful relationship with Christ.
The abortion debate has taken center stage this summer and the videos released on the activities of Planned Parenthood have shed new light on this hot topic. It has allowed all of us to reflect upon the core issue behind a woman’s right to choose and to reexamine our approach.
At this point in the history of America abortion is the most hotly debated political and moral issue of our times. Yet when it all boils down, what is the woman’s right to choose all about? In the end, it should be formulated as such: does a woman have the right to kill her child?
With advances in technology, especially ultrasound, we now know when life begins: conception. The issue of when a human life begins is no longer an issue that is seriously debated in the scientific community. For example, many respected scientists and scientific organizations all say the same thing:
“To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion … it is plain experimental evidence.” - The “Father of Modern Genetics” Dr. Jerome Lejeune, Univ. of Descarte, Paris
“By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” - Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic
Even more so, with the new videos linking Planned Parenthood to the sale of fetal body parts and the admission by their own employees that the aborted fetus was “a boy,” proves with clarity the old argument of “the fetus is a blob of tissue” is no longer valid. The child is not somehow a “parasite” that the mother can freely eliminate, but a separate human being dependent on her mother for life from the moment of conception.
Therefore, the real issue at hand is: does a woman have the right to kill her child? This is the stark reality of the issue. Here I refer to the wisdom of Gandalf:
“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” – The Fellowship of the Ring
This is the core of the debate over abortion. It is not whether a woman has the right to end her pregnancy, but whether or not she has the capacity to choose who lives and who dies.
With this being said, I do realize that “unplanned pregnancies” are tragic and should never be taken lightly. In fact, women facing such a hard situation should be met with love and compassion. Almost every time a woman has an abortion she is forced into it because of some factor. It could be money, parents, boyfriend, husband or even fear. The day a woman has an abortion is not something glorious, but something that she will live with for the rest of her life and is never easy.
Even more so, after a woman has an abortion she is left empty with an emotional scar that lasts a lifetime. They have just killed their child and that fact will never go away. I have known many women who have had abortions and they still have nightmares about their children. Abortions are even one of the primary reasons for suicides among women. One of my good friends had an abortion and years after it she committed suicide because of it. In her suicide letter she noted how she would finally see her child.
So what now? In order for abortion to no longer be accepted in our country (or anywhere) it will not be based on a Senate vote, but because of a conversion of hearts. If hearts are not converted and people do not want to protect human life in all its stages, any legislation that passes would be futile; the next generation will change it right back. This is not to say that legislation is meaningless, for we do need abortion to be completely outlawed. However, what this means is that before that could ever take place, we need to convert society from “within.” We need to change ourselves and teach our children the beauty and sanctity of life. Also, it means we need to be more compassionate towards “unplanned pregnancies” and support a woman when she most needs our help.
Defunding Planned Parenthood is only one aspect a much larger issue. We need compassion for the single mother who has no idea what to do when she finds out she is pregnant. Above all we need love.
Christians in the early Church were accused of child sacrifice as they were seen collecting all of the babies that were put out to die. The Christians were the only ones willing to take care of these abandoned children. This is the type of love we need.
To conclude, while many will say the pro-life movement is a battle, I would like to say it is a “battle of love.” Only love will be able to show women everywhere that they do not need to kill their child. In fact the words of Gandalf (albeit from The Hobbit movie) ring true again:
“Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. That is not what I’ve found. I found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keep the darkness at bay.”