September 30, 2023

Let’s begin at the beginning. The first question in the old Baltimore Catechism was: “Who made you?” And the answer was: “God made me!” Think about it: All of us have been created by God to know, love and serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. Therefore, each of us has eternal value from the moment of our conception; from the moment “God made me”. And consider this even in physical terms: at conception we already have a genetic completeness which has begun its growth toward adulthood. This is a fact. For some to argue that human life does not begin at conception is to be left with the question: “If not at conception, then when?” There is no real answer to this. Life begins at conception. Any other attempt at an answer makes no physical, logical or moral sense.

The “Right to Reproductive Freedom” amendment in Ohio uses the term “fetal viability”. By this they mean that human life can only be acknowledged when the fetus can survive ‘on its own’. But this statement seems both clumsy and arbitrary. After all, the moment of “viability” does not mean the arrival of anything new that is essentially human that was not already present in the genetic make-up of the fetus beforehand. And it does not account for the fact that medical science is already amazingly capable of caring for a fetus long before it can survive ‘on its own’, and often does so.

The amendment promotes the “right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions”: meaning that a person has rights over their own body. True, but this does not change the fact that within that body exists another body with an inalienable right to life that is absolute.

Some people also argue that when the Church works for laws that prohibit abortion, it is an attempt to legislate morality and religion. This is false. Law exists to protect the life of the people. However, in allowing abortion, the state is deciding that one category of life is not worthy of its protection. Thus, in civil terms, abortion is a form of discrimination. The Church is called to fight this evil.

Finally, in response to the argument that “many people in the United States favor abortion”, remember that the very highest function of the law is to uphold a principle in the face of dissenting popular opinion. Our nation must be better than taking the easy way out to keep some people satisfied [think of the slavery laws in the past]. The Church must hold our country accountable. So, let us pray for all those whose lives are at risk. Remember: “God made me…and everyone else!”

Written by Fr. Ed Smith

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