The truth behind ‘pro-choice’

Mary, a nurse who teaches childbirth classes, was sitting in a waiting room while her car was being serviced. As she sat there, another woman entered the area, and began talking to the cashier.

“My baby is due in January,” she said.

“Oh, congratulations,” said the cashier.

“I’m going next week to have an amniocentesis done,” the woman continued.

The cashier, a wonderful but rather naïve person, asked: “Why would you have that done?”

The woman replied: “Oh, I’m 37. I’m at risk to have a child with Down syndrome. That wouldn’t be any kind of life for the child. It wouldn’t be any kind of life for me.”

The lady left, and the cashier, still bewildered, asked: “Mary, you’re a nurse. Why would she be having an amniocentesis?”

Mary, a strong pro-life person, replied: “She’s going to have an amniocentesis to see if the baby has Down syndrome. If she tests positive, she’s going to have an abortion.”

The cashier began to cry: “But why? We have people with Down syndrome in our family. They’re a part of our family. We love them, and they love us. I don’t understand.”

In everyday life, the drama of life and death gets played out before us. Let me emphasize immediately that I’m not trying to portray the woman going for the test as a bad woman. She is probably a very good woman, but a woman potentially about to make a tragic choice.

Likely she is one of many women in our society who have been culturally conditioned by the media and activist groups to see abortion as a ‘right.’ She literally knows her ‘rights’ better than her wrongs.

Again and again, in the press and on the screen, pro-life groups are never referred to as pro-life. Invariably, we are referred to as “those opposed to a woman’s right to choose.” By garbing themselves in the mantle of protecting women’s rights, pro-choice makes it seem that pro-life is anti-women.

If pro-choice were really honest about the choice, virtually no one would publicly support it. “We support a woman’s right to choose death for her unborn child.” What political party could embrace that platform? “I demand the right to choose death for my unborn child?” What mother could say those words?

But by couching death dealing experiences as ‘medical procedures,’ by masquerading ‘constitutional rights’ as moral rights, pro-choice can appear to be what it isn’t – a force that cares about women. What pro-choice has succeeded in doing is to create a very wealthy and very powerful abortion industry. Pro-choice has ended the lives of 1.3 million unborn babies annually. Pro-choice has succeeded in damaging countless women physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Let me emphatically add that I’m not interested at all in adding to the pain of women who have had abortions. The abortion is punishment enough. The strongest opponents of abortion that I have met have been women who have had abortions. Often women who choose abortions are fearful, abandoned and lacking meaningful support. “If only one person had told me not to do it, I would never have killed my baby,” one regretful mother put it.

I don’t approach the abortion issue from any place of self-righteousness. I approach it from a place of God consciousness. God is always life-giving, hope-giving, joy-giving.

Our role in the pro-life movement is to help women heal from the trauma of an abortion. And our role is to do what we can to prevent a woman from ever feeling that she would have to choose one.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.