By Lenora Grimaud
When Hitler fell, the world cried out in anger, “We must not ever let this happen again!” Hitler’s reign of terror was about the “right to life.” His goal was to produce a one-world government and a Utopian Society of perfect people. Convinced that the Jews were not fully human but, somehow, sub-human or merely animals, Hitler set out to exterminate them. His next target was the Christians who did not share his ideals and were opposed to his reign.
The greatest good that humankind possesses is the right to life. The right to life is not just about abortion, and abortion is not simply an issue that concerns the unborn. It affects all human life. Natural and Divine Law tell us that every human being has the inalienable right to life. (O’Connor). The Pro-Choice Movement bypasses this law by claiming that the fetus is not a fully human being and, therefore, does not qualify for this right.
Many people in our culture believe that it is not life that is important, but the “quality of life.” Psychology, in its various dimensions and theories, describes what “quality of life” is. Quality of life is often defined as “wholeness” – to be fully human, not necessarily according to God’s standards, but to mankind’s standards. Science, Technology, Medicine, Human Psychology, and Education have all collaborated to define the conditions and stages of human development – physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, psychological, and even spiritual. These are the sovereignties and authorities that govern our present world and define for us what it means to be a fully human being.
Psychology is a gift for mankind and has helped us to better understand human nature and development. However, many aspects of psychology are really erroneous teaching. For many people, psychology has become a new religion. Psychology has even presumed to map out for us the “Stages of Faith and Spiritual Development” (Fowler). This spiritual development has nothing to do with a relationship with a personal God, with an adherence to Divine Law as revealed in Scripture, with a belief in a Trinitarian God, or in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God. It has nothing to do with the Mission of the Church or the Christian understanding of grace and sin. The goal of this religion is self-actualization, becoming one’s true self, which is hidden in the unconscious, by making conscious the unconscious. The “Self” is considered by many to be God, and they believe that humans are “called to become God.” Another goal of Psychology is for humans to reach their full potential. This is not the Christian understanding of spiritual development. The model of the fully human being for Christians is Jesus Christ, who is also the only Son of God. The goal of Christian faith and spiritual development is union with God, proclaiming the Kingdom of God, holiness, perfect love, and doing the will of God. These components are interconnected; to have one is to have all of them. This is a goal that is attainable by all, through the Holy Spirit; attainable by the poor (the least) and the rich alike; by people of all ages, cultures, races, and states of life. Faith and “grace” are gifts from God. Spiritual development is dependent on the action of God, on our relationship with God, and our response to God. It is not dependent on human knowledge and reason. “Grace builds on nature” – at every stage of development – rather than in conjunction with nature; grace is given by God to people in every stage of human development. In other words, it is not the perfect or strong that receive more grace, but the lowly and poor. No, it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen—those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. (1Cor1:27-28). Psychology would have us believe that grace is dependent on nature, rather than, grace perfects nature; that faith and spiritual development are dependent on human growth and potential. This means that uneducated, poor fishermen could not possibly be Apostles—models of faith and spiritual development. This means that St. Bernadette could not possibly be a Saint, with great faith and a highly developed spiritual life. Psychology would have us believe that St. Maria Goretti was not a Saint of heroic virtue, but merely a foolish child motivated by fear and oppression. Psychology confuses natural acquired attributes and strengths with the supernatural gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love, given by God. Through a relationship with God, we become like Him, growing in his image and likeness. Psychology makes the “self” the goal of life. Jesus said, Anyone who finds (seeks) his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Mat. 10:39). Christians believe that they become self-actualized by living and dying for the sake of love and the Gospel – laying down their lives in order to live for God, through his love. Christians have the potential to be and do many things, but only one is important – the will of God.
Basically, what all of this means is that if society can determine that a human fetus is a non-human or sub-human—not fully human—than they can determine this for all the “least” in our world and, therefore, has the right to determine who lives and who dies. They can proclaim: “Those who are sub-human and cannot live a fully productive human life should be put out of their misery! Those who are not capable of living a life of quality, by society’s standards, should be put out of their misery! Anyone who has not yet reached the stage of being fully human, by society’s standards, does not have the right to life and is subject to the decision of society!”
Who, then, are the fully human? Who are those who have quality of life by society’s standards? Presumably, they are the rich, the powerful, the highly educated, the physically, mentally, psychologically, and emotionally healthy, the successful, the famous, the professionals and those who are in control. Those who won’t have a right to life are: the unborn, children, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the elderly, the poor, the uneducated and illiterate, prisoners, criminals, those who are dependent, the sick, the dysfunctional, the homeless, the jobless, the dying, those with any kind of defects, alcoholics and drug addicts, mothers, Religious, and especially the Christians who are disloyal to the governing authorities. These are the very ones that Jesus came to deliver, to set free, and to give eternal life. Jesus quoted the scripture: The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19). Perhaps this seems over reactive to think that just because society accepts abortion, they would go to the extreme of classifying all the “least” in our society as being sub-human and undeserving of the right to life. But, is it? What about euthanasia? What about assisted suicide? What about capital punishment? What about acts of terrorism, and the possibility of nuclear war? What about Hitler?
Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood is quoted as saying, “the most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its infant members is to kill it.” “Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood,” by George Grant. Wolgermuth & Hyatt 1988. (qtd. in O’Connor 14). If this attitude prevailed in America, what would prevent us from justifying the annihilation of a poor country of illiterate people, in the name of mercy?
Nancy Mairs , an essayist, developed multiple sclerosis when she was thirty years old. In her writing, she says she seeks “to conceptualize not merely a habitable body but a habitable World: a world that wants me in it.” In an essay which focuses on the ethics of genetic testing of fetuses in order to avoid the birth of babies with disabilities, called “Freeing Choices,” from the book, "Waist-High in the World" (1996) by Nancy Mairs, she made this thought provoking statement:
Obviously, I don’t have an unambiguous answer to this dilemma. I don’t think one exists. I do feel certain, in view of the human propensity for exploiting whatever techniques we can devise with virtually no regard for consequences, that more and more people will choose, either for their own reasons or in response to the social pressure not to produce “unnecessary” burdens, to terminate pregnancies so as to avoid birth defects (and to select for sex as well). This development won’t eradicate people with disabilities, of course; birth trauma, accidental injury, and disease will continue to create them from those who started out as even the healthiest fetuses. What it will do is to make their social position even more marginal by emphasizing that no one with the power to choose would ever have permitted them to exist. Their own choice to survive will seem suspect. “We’re doing everything we can to exterminate your kind, the social message will read, and we’d get rid of you too if only we knew how.” No one will ever say this. No one will have to. (Mairs 582)
The movie, “Sophie’s Choice,” is a wake-up call. This was a choice that never should have been. One of Hitler’s Officers gave Sophie a choice to choose which of her two children would die, and which one would live. Why did he give her this choice? It wasn’t out of mercy or compassion, but to make her an accomplice to evil and murder. She chose the male vs. the female, the strongest child vs. the weakest, the most intelligent child with the most potential. God, however, has no favorites, and with Him, all people are equal. There was no reason for this choice. Neither child should have died. The Officer had it in his power to set both children free or to kill one or both of them. It didn’t matter to him whether they lived or died. He was really acting as an agent of evil, out to destroy her soul as well. She went against everything she believed in by making this choice. She could not choose life for one without also choosing death for the other. Sophie survived the war but both children died. She lived out the rest of her life in a prison of guilt, and everyone’s victim, believing that she didn’t have a right to live.
The end does not justify the means. We can never use evil as a means of producing good. Even though God can bring good out of evil, he does not justify the evil. Abortion is intrinsically evil, not the “lesser of two evils.” It is a choice between good (life) and evil (death). Life is always good, always sacred, no matter what the conditions. How short our memory is, how soon we forget! Hitler is, indeed, alive and well and if we don’t wake up soon we may see him appear on the scene as an even stronger and more tyrannical enemy of humankind. The unborn are merely first on the list to die. People who turn to abortion, euthanasia, suicide, and terrorism as a solution to their problems, are people who are confused and suffering and in need of healing. These avenues are not a solution, however, and only lead to a culture of slavery and death. In the name of mercy, there are powers of being who take advantage of the vulnerability of those who are in pain and confusion, but they are driven by their pursuit of power, greed, and control, not mercy. Let us not be deceived any longer. God is all merciful and compassionate. Let us pray for the conversion and healing of all those who have had abortions or been involved in abortions. Let us say “no” to abortion, euthanasia, suicide, assisted suicide, and acts of terrorism. Wake up America! Look down the road to see what we are headed for if we do not stop this insanity, now! We are being led, blindly, to the Gas Chambers! Hitler is, indeed, alive and well!
Excerpts from “Abortion: Questions and Answers,” by John Cardinal O’Connor July 1990:
• Science – “Science reveals without question that once the egg is fertilized every identifying characteristic of a brand-new human being is present, even the color of the eyes and the hair, the sex and everything else. Pregnancy is the period for this new human life to mature, not to ‘become human’ – it already is.” (5)
• Medicine – “The World Medical Association adopted in September 1948 the Declaration of Geneva: ‘I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.’ In October 1969 the International Code of Medical Ethics stated: ‘A doctor must always bear in mind the importance of preserving human life from the time of conception until death.’ Again in 1970 the world Medical Association reaffirmed its position by way of the Declaration of Oslo: “The first moral imposed upon the doctor is respect for human life as expressed in the Declaration of Geneva.” (5)
• Natural Moral Law – “Abortion is also forbidden, however, by Natural Moral Law, which governs all peoples, of all religions. Our own Declaration of Independence was declared, not on the basis of a particular religion, but on the basis of Natural Moral Law. It appealed to ‘the Laws of nature and of Nature’s God,’ and on this basis declared it self-evident that all are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that the first of these is the right to life.” (13)
• Government – “Life is a right which must be acknowledged by a civil society as a given; it is never the concession of the state. Indeed, the state has as its primary purpose the defense of the lives of its citizens; Thomas Jefferson called it, ‘the first and only legitimate object of good government – the care of human life, and not its destruction.’ (12-13)
• Church – “In 1974 the Declaration on Procured Abortion (by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) stated: ‘Respect for human life is called for from the time that the process of generation begins. From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with its own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already…’ This declaration was ratified by Pope Paul VI, who confirmed it and ordered it to be promulgated.” (5)
“Our present Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, clearly stated the consistent teaching of the Church in 1979 when he said: ‘I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life—from the moment of conception and through all subsequent states—is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God. Nothing surpasses the greatness or dignity of a human person…If a person’s right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother’s womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole of the moral order, which serves to ensure the inviolable goods of man. Among those goods, life occupies the first place…And so we will stand up every time that human life is threatened. When the sacredness of life before birth is attacked, we will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life.’ (Homily on the Capitol Mall, Washington, D.C., October 7, 1979.)” (15)
• Divine Law—“All who accept the Ten Commandments, that is, Divine Law, know that it is never lawful, under any circumstances, deliberately or directly to take the life of any innocent human being.” (13)
References from Scripture:
Gen. 1:26, NJB – God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves…’
Psalm 139:13,15-16,NJB – “You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother’s womb…You knew me through and through, my being held no secrets from you, when I was being formed in secret, textured in the depths of the earth. Your eyes could see my embryo. In your book all my days were inscribed, every one that was fixed is there.”
Psalm 22:11, NJB – “On you was I cast from my birth, from the womb I have belonged to you.”
John 10:10, NJB – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Jeremiah 1:5, NJB – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you;….”
Luke 1:41-44, NJB – “Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.
Reasons Why Women Get Abortions:
Assumed right of a woman over her own body
• Belief that the fetus is not human
• Loss of freedom for the mother, especially for young girls
• Unwanted pregnancy due to rape or incest
• Birth defects in the fetus
• Fear of hereditary birth defects
• Poverty – inability to support a child
• Psychological trauma due to unwanted pregnancy
• Sex preference of the fetus
• Pregnancy outside of marriage – lack of support
• Rejection by spouse or family
• Medical necessity – fear of harm to the mother
• Child pregnancy – mother is not an adult
• Unplanned pregnancy
• Lack of faith
• Lack of respect for life
• Society condones it and encourages it
• Civil law supports it
• Pressure from Doctors, family or society
• Lack of freedom to choose life
• Despair and hopelessness
• Mental or emotional instability or illness
O’Connor, John Cardinal. "Abortion: Questions and Answers" July 1990
Peck, M. Scott. "The Road Less Traveled" 1978. Pages 185-311
Mairs, Nancy. "Freeing Choices" Essay from "The Bedford Guide For College Writers" Fifth Edition, 1999 Page 582
Alvare, Helen. “Abortion: What the Church Teaches.” Catholic Update 1998.