I think it’s fair to say that whatever the religious belief of a mother was, no mother has ever told a story about an easy abortion. Even pro-choice women with the best of intentions found such an experience difficult and life changing, one that they can never forget for life.
And so I thought that no mother has ever assumed that a child in her womb was merely a lump of cells that needed to be removed. To a mother, I would like to believe that the least possible thought she could have was that the fetus was unlike any other cell. It is different because it “has the potential” to become a true human being.
Yet even that seems to be something that should be thought about much deeper. If it only had the potential to be one, isn’t it the same then as any egg cell that resides in one’s womb? But no person has ever had a difficult time lamenting the untapped potential of those egg cells to become a child. It is only that moment when that egg cell is fertilized by a sperm cell that something significant happens.
And for us Catholics, that significant thing that happened was that we have now witnessed the formation of a new human being.
For some mothers, I think this would be the case. Somewhere deep within them, they knew that they had a child, a true human being in their wombs, a life that is just waiting to see the world.
Despite that, however, they made a difficult decision. They decided that it was the best thing or the only possible choice they could make at that moment in time.
What are those factors then that could possibly have made a mother choose to end the life of her own child?
What were the good intentions these mothers had to decide the eternal fate of their children?
Here are some of the thing they could possibly have in mind:
1. To save her child from illness or disabilities
I think there are some scientific methods used to determine whether the child will suffer from health problems. Some can even detect those that will have Down’s Syndrome.
Pro-choice women who decide to abort their children would rather that they not be born at all rather than suffer the said conditions for life.
2. To save her child from an unstable family life
Many pro-choice women say that they were too young and unprepared to raise their children well. They may have even grown up with trauma from a dysfunctional family and they didn’t want their children to experience the same.
How many children have been aborted because the father can’t take responsibility for his child?
3. To save her child from a life of poverty and unbearable hardship
Many pro-choice women who chose to abort their children did so for fear of letting their children live in poverty and unbearable difficulties.
They fear they couldn’t give them their material needs such as a good education. They may also fear that they may have to give them away and their children would end up in an orphanage, other institutions or irresponsible families who couldn’t give them their material and emotional needs.
Yes, they fear that their children would feel abandoned and unloved.
Our Definition of Love
In all these things, these pro-choice women may have held on to love as the very reason for their irrevocable decision.
Love that does not want their children to suffer from poverty, emotional instability or some difficult health condition.
In the end, we seem to differ not only in how we see the child within the womb but on how we define the kind of love we want to give them.
But where do we base the love we give away?
The Value of a Human Life
I think that the way we define love depends a lot upon the way we see a human life.
What does it mean to live as a human being? What are the standards by which we measure the worth of a human life?
If we see it only in terms of physical health, emotional stability and financial prosperity, we lose much of the value we should give to every person.
Who are we to limit the preciousness of each human life by the limited standards we set upon them?
From a Christian point of view, every human being has a God-given dignity that no sickness or hardship in life could ever take away.
There is so much more to a human being than our difficulties in life. For even from these, one can rise up with virtue, holiness and a great capacity for love.
Final Thoughts on Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Perspective
We fail to see far enough unless we think about our true nature as human beings. Before we can love in the truest sense of the word, we must realize who we truly are.
We are not just a collection of cells walking and breathing and going through various stages of physical growth before death. We have been conceived out of God’s love for us, and we were made in His very image. That’s what give us our true dignity. And that’s what would ultimately give us the capacity to love.
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.’” – Luke 1:41-44 (NRSVCE)
You may also want to read “Are Aborted Children Much Happier in Heaven?”.
Do you have a question for God? You may want to read the book Questions to God.