Life or Death: A Catholic Perspective on the Abortion Issue

In the past, I actually did not think that abortion was equivalent to murder, because I didn’t think much about it at all. When the issue of abortion was brought to my attention, and I researched it, and learned the facts about how the fetus grows and how it is aborted, I was horrified. I suspect that many pro-choice people are probably as ignorant of the truth about abortion as I used to be.

In this article, I would like to discuss why abortion is an important issue, and what the Catholic perspective on this issue is.

God’s Forgiveness and the Sin of Abortion in Catholicism

The teaching of the Catholic Church is that it is always wrong to willfully take the life of an innocent human being. An unborn child is human, and is obviously innocent. So, the killing of an unborn child, or abortion, is the taking of an innocent human life, and is therefore a mortal sin. If a person leaves this world with even one unrepented mortal sin, that sin will send him or her headlong into eternal hell. So, anyone who has committed or cooperated with the mortal sin of abortion, just as in the case of any other mortal sin, must make a good confession, sincerely asking God for forgiveness, in order for his or her soul to be redeemed.

What about non-Catholics?

As it turns out, even non-Catholics who do not make a sacramental confession can be forgiven and benefit from God’s grace, because God loves them. In one of my local priest’s sermons, he emphasized that, while it is true that our Lord Jesus Christ said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6), and even though Christ founded one Church, which he desires all men to join, it does not follow that everyone who is not Catholic must, necessarily, go to hell.

The priest explained that God’s forgiveness and grace sometimes operate in mysterious ways, without any outward and visible signs. The priest emphasized that, while we Catholics have the great advantage of the sacraments, nevertheless, God’s grace is available, in some way, to all people.

Does Having an Abortion mean Going to hell?

“We all make many mistakes” (James 3:2).

The priest stated that the people who go to hell are those who, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, reject the forgiveness and grace of God, who is love. God values free will above all else, and therefore cannot extend His salvation to those who willfully reject it.

What this means with regard to abortion is that, on the one hand, to have an abortion, or to pay for or otherwise cooperate with one, are grave sins that could potentially send a person to hell; on the other hand, any person, Catholic or not, who loves God, is sorry for having offended him, and truly repents of his or her sins (what is known as “perfect contrition”) can be forgiven by God for abortion or any other sin. “As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).

Public Opinion on Abortion in the United States

In January 1972, the Supreme Court of the United States, in its decision in the Roe v. Wade case, ruled that all laws prohibiting abortion were unconstitutional. However, in June 2022, the Supreme Court overturned that decision, ruling that there is no constitutionally-protected “right” to abortion. That means that each of the fifty States is now free to prohibit abortion if it wishes to do so.

A subsequent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 62% of U.S. adults said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 36% said it should be illegal in all or most cases. Another survey found that relatively few Americans hold absolutist views on the issue.

The survey found that 83% of non-religious people are pro-choice. Among Christians, according to the survey, a majority of black Protestants (71%) and white non-evangelical Protestants (61%) take the position that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. But nearly three-quarters of white evangelicals (73%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

Are cultural Catholics pro-choice?

Also, according to the survey, 53% of Catholics believe that abortion is not morally wrong.

At first glance, this is a shocking result, but, of course, it is possible to get a different result by changing the way the survey questions are asked. Moreover, I believe that this number includes what are called “cultural Catholics.” Cultural Catholics are those who check the box for Catholic on the survey, but do not care about Catholic doctrine or morals, and do not attend Church regularly. Clearly, the 53% of Catholics who responded to the survey as indicated above are ignorant of doctrinal and moral matters.

Is Abortion the Answer?

One of the questions posed to those who oppose abortion is what to do if a woman becomes pregnant as the result of rape. As far as Catholics are concerned, abortion is not an option. This is true even if the rape victim has an unwanted pregnancy and the financial and psychological burden makes it difficult for her to have a baby.

Rape is a serious problem in the U.S. According to RAINN, a rape occurs every 68 seconds, and one in six women experience sexual victimization in their lives.

However, abortion has been found to have no positive outcome for rape victims. According to Live Action, 88 percent of rape survivors who choose to have an abortion regret it. Also, 93% of rape survivors who have had an abortion say they would not recommend abortion to others in the same situation.

Rape is an act of violence for which a woman bears no responsibility; abortion is an act of violence for which she is morally responsible. (Students for life of America)

Rape Survivors Speak Up, “I did not choose to be raped, nor did I choose to become pregnant. Nor did my child want me to become pregnant. I have no right to take his life because of the horrible situation that happened to me.” (Students for life of America)

One major problem that emerges from these facts is the misperception that abortion is the solution for a woman who has been victimized. There is also a need for more welfare and community support for women who are brave enough to choose to have a child. I have always resented the fact that victims of sexual crimes are subjected to further suffering after they have been victimized. I have always felt that giving women the “right” to abortion does not do anything to mitigate the damage caused by serious sex crimes.

Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, who assisted in the Roe v. Wade Decision

OB/GYN Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, known as “the Abortion King,” was a pro-choice activist who helped to bring about the victory of his side in the Roe v. Wade decision. However, ultrasound images caused Nathanson to change his mind about abortion.

He saw a fetus smiling, stretching, and wiggling its toes in the womb. He could also see the fetus shrinking away from the abortion equipment, which he felt was a sign that the fetus was in pain. After seeing the truth about the unborn child thanks to ultrasound, he founded the National Abortion Abolition Society. (For more about Dr. Nathanson, see Inside the Vatican.)

Dr. Nathanson calls abortion “the cruelest holocaust in American history.” The fetus is not a hunk of meat, but a human baby trying to escape the abortion apparatus. According to Pew Research Center abortions are on the decline in the United States. On the other hand, drug-induced abortions are on the rise. For example, even in the conservative state of Texas, where state law makes abortion illegal, drug abortions are up 1100% (Celebrate Life Magazine. Winter 2023, p. 30). The holocaust, as Dr. Nathanson calls it, is far from over.

Deuteronomy: Choosing Life

In the Bible, God commands us to choose life:

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The words “therefore choose life” are imperative in both the Japanese (Don Bosco Colloquial) and English (RSV) translations, as well as in the Greek, Latin, and some other English translations. One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill,” meaning, “Thou shalt not kill innocent people.” In other words, abortion is equivalent to murder.

The God who gave us life commanded us to “choose life.” We humans have no right to rewrite that divine command.

A Child whose Mother Chose Life

Ryan Bomberger, a child conceived as the result of a rape, is a Christian, a designer, an Emmy Award-winning artist, a songwriter, an author, and a “factivist” (Bomberger coined the word from “activist” and “fact.”)He wrote the song “Meant to Be” to thank his biological mother for her choice of life.

The song is a message to his mother, to thank her for giving him a life that has had, and continues to have, meaning in the past and in the present, as the English phrase “meant to be” suggests.

“MEANT TO BE” by Ryan Scott Bomberger – YouTube

What organizations are on the side of abortion “rights”?

Even though I am aware of the “pro-life” teaching, when I see news stories advocating the “right” to abortion, I often feel as though it might be okay for a woman to have an abortion if her pregnancy was the result of a sex crime, or if she has health problems. But the idea of compromising on abortion “rights” is a devious trick.

Satanic Temple, a pro-abortion group

The Satanic Temple, which was approved as a religious organization in 2019, continues to work for abortion “rights.” They say that they do not really worship the devil, but interestingly, they display images of the devil prominently on their website, and they actively support ideas that are contrary to Christianity.

As I read this news, I was reminded of the English saying, “If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it probably is a duck.” I thought to myself, with regard to the Satanic Temple, “If they look like Satanists, and act like Satanists…”

Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who was an exorcist, described how people who willingly violate God’s law are similar to the fallen angels:

“The original sins of the angels are the same as those who implicitly or explicitly adhere to Satanism. Angels and men who follow Satan base their existence on three principles and practical rules of life: you can do what you wish, that is, without subjugation to God’s laws; you obey no one; and you are the god of yourself.” (Catholic Exchange, April 19, 2023)

From the secular world’s point of view, when it comes to abortion, the Catholic Church and the Satanic Temple, as described above, are just two odd but colorful groups with a difference of opinion. It would seem as if the problem would be solved if those who take a stand against abortion did not impose their anti-abortion values on others.

For the pro-life movement, however, the right to life, from conception to natural death, is not only a religious dogma, but also a basic principle of natural law, part of the foundation of a just and stable society. A society that does not protect or care for its most vulnerable members will eventually dissolve into the anarchy of “might makes right.”

“Abortion rights” or “freedom of choice” (the choice of a woman to have an abortion or not) might sound like a good idea at first, but those who support this idea, like their (acknowledged or unacknowledged) leader, the devil, have an ungodly agenda. And the devil’s goal is always the destruction of society, of the family, of the Church, and of souls.

Life over Political Correctness

The topic of abortion is complicated by many factors: political, moral, and religious. Recent social trends, strongly left-wing, have made opposition to abortion out of step with the political correctness of “mainstream” society. Catholics have even been called extremists, and have even been arrested for praying in front of abortion clinics—not rioting, not violence, but merely praying.

The issue of abortion is often thought to entail a conflict between religious beliefs and secular values. This causes some people (on both sides) to become very emotional. And yet, abortion is not the sort of issue that one should make up one’s mind about based only on one’s own personal feelings. A clear understanding of this issue does not depend on one’s feelings about religion. Even atheists can understand, with reason alone, that abortion is wrong. (See, for example, this webpage: Secularprolife)

The choice between life and death does not depend on political correctness or religious dogma, but on human nature. The world should not become a place where “choosing life” is considered extremist.

I strongly hope and pray that the day will come soon when all lives will be protected by civil law, in accordance with natural law and God’s will.

Image: Virgin Mary and baby Jesus