Let me say at the outset that Opinionated Catholic’s thoughts are anything but quick. You should take the time to read the full post. Good stuff in there. Opinionated Catholic has turned out be one of my good Twitter-friends whose thoughtful (stubborn 🙂 ) and carefully thought out (aggravating 🙂 ) ideas have been a blessing. Keeps me honest!
Opinionated Catholic (O.C.) has been careful to not speak for me on my position on abortion which I characterize as a Catch 22. The short version is that a total and complete ban on abortion is ugly because it not only is akin to rape, but in extreme cases it is murder, so-called “double effect” exceptions notwithstanding. (That would take a whole other post!) On the other hand, abortion on demand is also ugly because it makes life a matter of convenience and by such logic I should not exist. My father was poor and born to a single mother. So there we have my basic position. I should add that I am not trying to debate the morality of abortion per se or what should be the proper form of legal abortion. I’m only interested in the morality and integrity of the Catholic position.
Now, in discussion with O.C., I asserted that the pro-life movement, at least that advocated by Catholics, is more pro-baby than pro-life since we will respect a person’s body in some cases where life can be saved by another person donating tissue but not others. I used organ donation as an example to show that we play favorites. We will go to any length in some cases, i.e. abortion, and not others. I also asserted that this is not true to Christ who’s love knows no bounds since our love does in fact have bounds.
O.C. has made a compelling reply on the basis of voluntary and involuntary moral obligations. For the sake of brevity, I will paraphrase I hope accurately. The mother’s obligation to her child is different than merely person to person moral obligations.
- The mother has a duty to care for her child.
- The uterus unlike other organs exists for the express purpose of carrying her child and serves no other essential function.
- Denial of treatment, e.g. refusing kidney donation, is not the same as intentional act, e.g. abortion is killing the unborn child.
To all of this I would say, is a strong legal argument for limiting if not outright banning abortion if somehow the unborn can be given citizenship rights. Until that happens, legal abortion will remain the law of the land. A woman has no parental
rights obligations whatsoever to a non-person under our law. And the unborn are not persons under our law. But what O.C. fails to see, as far as I can tell, is I am not arguing a legal case. I’m looking at how Christ loves. To wit, Christ was deeply radical in his love. It is not a respecter of boundaries, especially as a disciple:
- Matthew 10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;”
- Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
This is not worldly love and makes worldly life difficult if one wants to be true to Christ. I am not saying that the abortion issue can’t be resolved. I for one would gladly ban it, under certain conditions. For example, if we had the technology to carry any child from zygote to full term by artificial means, I have no trouble at all banning abortion, taxing the responsible parties for child support (and the general public in cases e.g. rape), and making adoption a real social and governmental priority.
So if I love both mother and child, I have to be true to what it is I am doing. Justice is the sound love makes when it speaks in public. And my justice ultimately comes from Christ. So if I play favorites with my love and say that the child is more valuable than the mother then I’ve sinned. It’s why, if it came to it, I would put my body on the line to ban abortion. Justice demands that I be on the same chopping block as any rape victim. If we can traumatize her to save her child, I can lose a kidney in fairness.