A Reader, Josh, with some very interesting comments wrote to me recently, in regard to my post "HLI TO DURBIN: "GET OUT OF OUR FAMILY ROOM..." I will respond to each comment in blue so you can differentiate between our statements.
Josh: It seems to me that you genuinely do care about those girls who find themselves in a position to get an abortion. Your concern for their physical, social, mental, and spiritual welfare is laudable, and I am glad that such persons as yourself are still out there. However, I also see that your beliefs are the primary motivation for all of this. I, therefore, must respectfully disagree with your opinions.
Thank you, Josh. It sounds as if you are not in favor of my Catholic pro-life beliefs and that you may be feeling some discontent with the Church's teachings on life. Is that correct?
Please know that I would probably do this kind of work whether or not I was Catholic or pro-life -- when I was away from the Church for many years, I continued to be active in my community, assisting the poor and needy because I was brought up that way -- to help others in need -- and because few of us would deny another human being food and clothing. The women I see are in crisis situations and are needy in many ways -- even an atheist can see that and would most likely lend a helping hand to feed and clothe another human being. However, I do this work for God and not myself -- I am simply giving back to Him what has given me -- and that is the gift of love. It is the very least I can do for Him. Because it is God's work, I do it with more enthusiasm and seek to please Him in my actions by caring for every person I come in contact with as I would treat my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Josh: The Child Custody Protection Act serves to punish those who would take a minor over state lines for an abortion if doing so circumvented parental notification laws in the state that was left. While I agree that notification is a good idea in principle, I believe that the final decision should be completely left up to the girl in question.
Josh, let me see if I understand you correctly here. You believe that obtaining parental notification would punish those who take the girl out of state to get an abortion. You also think that the final decision whether or not to kill another human being -- the child that is living and growing in her body -- should be her decision.
Ok, do you think a 13 year old is mature enough to make the decision on whether or not to abort her baby? Now we're not talking about the teen deciding whether or not she should chat with her friends on her cell phone or complete her homework assignment that's due tomorrow. We're not talking about whether or not she should eat a triple order of fries or a salad at Wendy's for lunch. These are the kinds of decisions that I would expect an average young woman of 13 (who has been raised by conscientious and responsible parents) to be able to make on her own.
There are many complex factors involved in making a decision like this that this young woman might not consider. She could end up making a decision that she would regret for the rest of her life. You don't mention your age, so it's difficult for me to determine your vantage point, but I can tell you that young women of this age are experiencing a lot of changes emotionally, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I won't attempt to teach you in any detail the entire course contents of Adolescent Psychology here, but the teen years are a very turbulent time in the life of a young woman. She has more than enough on her plate than to have to make a serious decision that will effect her for the rest of her life by herself. How will she feel about the decision she makes today 10 years from now at age 23? Twenty years from now? She needs a responsible, mature, level-headed adult to guide her. Parents are the primary teachers of their children and it is their duty to protect their children from harm. Parents are the primary educators of their child in terms of their faith, their values, and their morals which begin at an early age.
Since you say that you are a "confirmed Catholic", I will share a few excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law. (CCC 2222:29, 30) Did you catch that? They educate their children to fulfill God's law.
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones." Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide or correct them. (CCC 2222: 31)
Her parents certainly have a right to counsel her, but it is, after all, her body, and she has the utmost right to that, and no one else.
When it comes down to making the final decision, since a teenager is not yet a mature adult who is capable of making such a grave and serious decision with such devastating results (Death, suicide, post traumatic stress syndrome, infertility, and many more consequences are all possible as a result of abortion) and because she is under the protective care of her parents and the parents must answer to God, they must be obedient to His will.
How can we determine what God's will is in this situation? The Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the papal encyclicals all tell us the same thing -- Human life is sacred. Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. (CCC 270, 72) Even our Constitution guarantees each one of us the right to life -- the first and primary right. Without life, we have no other rights.
Josh, I don't know if anyone has ever instructed you in the faith this way, but it is NOT her body. You read that correctly -- her body does not belong to her. God created her and, as such, she is a child of God -- she belongs to God. Her pregnant body is the temporary home for the separate human life growing and developing within her. Within her womb, she is carrying a living, growing human being -- a life separate from her own.
This life is a gift from God and is to be treated with the deepest dignity and utmost respect.
Something else I find rather amusing, in a sick, twisted sort of way, is how an amendment to this bill to increase funding for non-abstinence sex education was defeated 51-48. This amendment would have given teens more knowledge on ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies, negating the need for an abortion in the first place! However, those who would impose their own beliefs, even upon the unwilling, won out, and the amendment was defeated. So the trend of not giving teens all the information they need, and then punishing them for acting on that lack of information continues.
What kind of information do you believe would assist the teen in avoiding pregnancy? Information about contraception? I share information with teens on contraception all the time and tell them the truth about contraception -- that it doesn't work! Of course, most of them have already learned that by the time they reach me. The only 100% fail - proof method of avoiding pregnancy is abstinence.
What would you say if it was a girl's grandmother, or grandfather, aunt or uncle, or big brother or big sister, who took her over a state line, and was then sentenced to a year in federal prison?
I wouldn't feel sorry for the person if that's what you're asking. Not only did they violate civil law but they violated God's law: "Thou shalt not kill." Even if they don't know God's law, they know that the pregnant mother is carrying a human life within her and what they're doing is serving as accomplices in the murder of their own grandchild or relative. Would you willingly assist in murdering your own blood relative? How would you feel afterwards? Maybe next time they'll think about the consequences of their actions before they act so hastily.
Is that right? Is destroying not one, but two lives really necessary?
Great question! Yes, abortion destroys two lives -- the life of the mother and the life of the baby. And, NO, it's not right.
Because you know that this is going to happen. Statistically, it must. And when it does, how will you feel? Will you feel it was justified?
I would feel that justice has been served. And, I would pray for the person who committed the crime as well as the other accomplices who took part in the murder of an innocent child.
Is making criminals out of well-meaning friends and family necessary?
The pregnant mother can do without friends and family like that!
Not only are they accomplices to the murder of her child, but they are bad influences on her and certainly can't have any feelings or respect for her as a human being if they want to expose her to something so dangerous for her in all ways imaginable. They are practising misguided compassion. It is a misguided compassion which views killing the child as a solution to resolving the mother’s problems. There are a whole range of options to explore (which abortion mills neglect to mention) and the mother needs to know what those options are. Family and friends who assist her by referring her to a crisis pregnancy clinic are demonstrating their love for both her and her baby.
Are you so desperate to foist your own beliefs on everyone else that you must make it a federal crime to do something you oppose?
It is sad that it takes a law like this for some parents and relatives to stop acting as accomplices in the murder of their own blood relatives. Their consciences should tell them that what they are doing is wrong.
However, I am happy to see that human lives will be saved from the senseless slaughter of abortion and I thank God that He has led me to this apostolate. Since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973, over 47 MILLION innocent lives have been sacrificed.
I know full well the Church's position on abortion and birth control, but in today's culture, such a position is seen as both outdated and uninformed, and not just because of social mores these days.
The Church's teachings have never changed since Christ established it -- His truth remains with us for all eternity. Man is the one who has changed and it hasn't been for the better.
As any biologist will tell you, humans are animals.
I think you may be a little confused here, Josh. Human beings are mammals -- they are warm-blooded and the mothers give milk to their babies. (Sorry -- I couldn't resist that.)
Humans may have growth patterns similar to animals, but are vastly different. A human being has a will and an intellect, which an animal does not have. A human being also has a soul, which an animal does not have.
Humans are creatures unlike any other of God's creation. Unlike any of the animals, humans are created with a body and soul. A dog cannot decide to fast. Fasting is a choice of the rational soul which only humans have. While the body is made from matter the soul is purely spiritual and thus humans are not animals but are made in the image and likeness of God.
As such, we have basic urges. Among these are the urges to survive, and to procreate. Those two are, respectively, the first and second strongest urges in any animal, us included.
Yes, we have basic urges, but unlike animals, we have the ability to control our urges.
Yes, procreation is necessary for the survival of the human species and that is why marriage between one man and one woman is necessary. God commanded us to "be fruitful and multiply". That's exactly why we need to stop using contraception and stop killing our children. If the Black race continues killing their children at the same rate as they have been they will become extinct. It's a very sad situation. Margaret Sanger's dream of wiping out the Blacks in our country is becoming a reality.
One could argue that, yes, God gave us free will to act on them or not, but let's be honest. How many teenagers have the emotional or mental maturity to truly look at what they're doing, in the heat of the moment, and give it a fair consideration? I can tell you from experience: Very, very few.
You're absolutely right, Josh! Teenagers don't have the emotional or mental maturity to truly look at what they are doing in the heat of the moment.
So how do we solve that one? We, as adult parents, need to teach them to avoid such situations. We need to teach them the virtues of modesty and chastity -- first, by our own example, and second with words. We role play with them so they are prepared to handle difficult situations. We teach them the faith and let them know we love them and care about them. We communicate with them about the dangers out there. We make rules and set limits and we discipline our children and act in a consistent manner. We reassure them that they can always come to us with their problems and we will try to help them. We teach them and show them the ways they can receive strength to ward off temptation. For example, frequent reception of the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Communion provides the graces that assist teens in remaining strong in the face of temptation.
Josh, you just mentioned what concerns me the most about teenagers and abortion -- the fact that they are emotionally and mentally immature. Can you understand now why they don't have the capacity to make the decision whether or not to abort on their own?
You cannot legislate away biological imperatives. Attempting to do so, in the current manner that it's being attempted, will only serve to exacerbate an already bad situation. My point is this: What is needed is not criminalization. Parental notice should be required, I will admit, but certain things need to be taken into consideration. Namely, what will the reaction of the family be to such notification?
As I said before, it is sad that we need to enforce laws like this. When people learn to act in ways that are consistent with God’s will and the natural law, then such laws would be unnecessary.
It will do no good for a girl to have an abortion, if her parents get notified and she returns home to a savage beating, or to be thrown out of the house.
Abortions NEVER do any good. I have heard some unbelievable horror stories about abortion and have seen the results. I have smelled the bodies of aborted babies burning just as they did in the Nazi Prison camps. I have witnessed the face of death - not only physical death, but spiritual and emotional death.
I have never heard a woman say "I was happy to have an abortion", but I have heard many who have admitted that they regretted having an abortion and then shared with me the gruesome details.
I would hope that the young woman in an abusive family situation would have an adult friend she could turn to for support -- a teacher, school counselor, coach, priest or minister, an aunt, grandma, or a neighbor who would help her. We all need to take responsibility for our youth and be "our brother's keeper."
I am just amazed at the number of loving people there are in this world who so unselfishly reach out to help young mothers and fathers in this situation. I see miracles everyday and new life entering into the world bringing so much joy into the hearts of parents who are so thankful and grateful that someone finally spoke the truth to them and helped them learn the meaning of true love. (You won't find it in killing your child -- that's for sure.)
There was a story going around a few years back about a girl whose mother forced her to drink bleach until she died, because she found out she was having sex out of wedlock.
If that story is true, I hope that mother didn't get off scott-free by our criminal justice system.
Do we really want to risk these sorts of things? Parental notification is a good idea, but has its perils. If a girl could get an abortion and then stay somewhere for awhile, to see what her parents' reaction was, then I think that might be acceptable. There must be safe haven, and counseling. This is a traumatic experience for all involved. More education, counseling, and places of refuge are needed.
Definitely! We need to educate men and women in the faith, in the teachings on Humane Vitae, John Paul II's teachings on the theology of the body, Natural Family Planning (which by the way is not rhythm), and all the beautiful teachings on love and sexuality in the Church.
We need to help girls take control of their own lives, not let others control them.
As I said above, I believe teenagers are "too immature" to make those kinds of decisions. You seem to agree with me that teens are mentally and emotionally immature.
No one has control over their lives, but we are totally dependent on God. The only thing we have control over is our actions. We can do our will or His -- it's our choice. He never forces us to do anything. He loves us so much and is such a perfect Gentleman, that He gives us free will. We can follow His commandments and be at peace or follow our own selfish desires and make a mess out of our lives. But, He will do all that He can to bring us closer to Him no matter how much pain and misery we cause Him. There is no human being on earth who can love like He does – His love is unconditional and endures forever.
And, for the record: I am a confirmed Roman Catholic. I understand EXACTLY where you are coming from. However, as a scientist and a realist, I recognize that not everything can be as we would like. It is my view that, while it would be nice if all would follow the teachings of Christ, not all want to, and that is their right. We have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to tell anyone otherwise. If we do that, we bring ourselves back to the days of the Inquisition, and I'm sure none of us want THAT.
We all have the RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY as Christians to share the Truth with others. We have the right to speak out and share the Good News with others. We rejoice in the miracle of life and love and in the Victory we have won through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
If others desire to remain in the darkness and do not welcome us, we wipe the dust off our feet and move on. Nevertheless, we pray for these lost souls because they are not so different from us -- we are all God's children.
I'm keeping you in my prayers, Josh. I enjoyed our "conversation".
God bless you,
I invite all my readers to express their opinions here. I am opening up my comment section, so please be nice to one another.
5 months ago