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James Martin, S.J.January 10, 2019
  A woman holds a child in 2016 at a maternity home in Riverside, N.J., one of six pro-life maternity homes in the Good Counsel network. The Riverside facility houses about a dozen expectant mothers, provides a safe environment for the women to continue their pregnancy, and offers continuing education, job training and material support. (CNS photo/Jeffrey Bruno)

Whenever I say that I am pro-life, it always surprises some people—which always surprises me.

Last summer I attended a conference on polarization in the Catholic Church, held at Georgetown University. One evening, when I mentioned my pro-life convictions to a participant, her face registered shock. “I’m so relieved to hear that,” she said.

Maybe because I also advocate for refugees and migrants, L.G.B.T. people and the environment—causes usually championed by those who identify as politically progressive—some people tell me that they wonder about the sincerity of my public comments in support of unborn children. By the same token, others with whom I share common ground on a variety of social justice issues often express discomfort, disappointment and even anger when I use the phrase “pro-life.”

So perhaps it would be helpful to explain what I mean when I say that I am pro-life. And I would invite you to consider this more as a profession of faith than as a political argument.

The best way of explaining my belief is this: The longer I live, the more I grow in awe of God’s creative activity and in reverence for God’s creation.

I see God’s creative activity in countless ways, but mainly in the ways that God is active in the spiritual lives of people with whom I minister. Over the last 25 years, I have accompanied perhaps hundreds of people in my ministry as a spiritual director—that is, someone who helps people notice God in their daily lives and in their prayer.

In the process I have seen first-hand how God encounters individuals in breathtakingly, sometimes nearly miraculously personal ways. With one person, God encounters him or her through a powerful experience in private prayer, with another during an almost mystical experience amid nature, with another in a conversation that suddenly heals an old emotional wound. The expression “God meets people where they are” captures some of this reality—but only a little. God’s ability to enter a person’s life in ways that are perfectly tailored to that life always amazes me.

The more I see this, the more my awe of God’s creative activity naturally grows.

But I notice God’s creative activity in other ways, too. The birth of my two nephews, who are now 20 and 13 years old, profoundly deepened my appreciation for the mystery of life. When I first saw my oldest nephew in the hospital a few hours after his birth, I was tremendously moved. After returning home, I wept for joy, completely overwhelmed by the gift and vulnerability of God’s new creation. Over the years I’ve watched them learn how to eat, sit up, talk, crawl, laugh, walk, read, run, ride bikes, make jokes, throw a ball, drive a car and take joy in the world.

The longer I live, the more I grow in awe of God’s creative activity and in reverence for God’s creation.

Recently I had dinner with my older nephew and thought, “I can’t believe that he didn’t exist 20 years ago” and felt a surge of gratitude for God’s grace. (I knew enough not to tell him this, since he’d probably say, “Uncle Jim, give me a break!” Or more likely, “Uh huh.”)

The more I reflect on this the more my reverence for God’s creation grows. All of this naturally increases my reverence for the life of the child in the womb.

Now, as a man and a priest, and therefore someone who will never experience the joys and challenges of being a mother, someone who will never have to make a decision about an abortion and someone in a position of some power in the church, I recognize the limitations of my experience. And I recognize that many women consider it offensive to hear this from a man—because they have told me.

Many women whom I love, respect and admire support abortion rights and see these rights as a constitutive part of their authority over their own bodies. And who can doubt that over the centuries, women have been dominated and abused by men—even men responsible for providing them with legal, pastoral and medical care?

I cannot deny that I see the child in the womb, from the moment of his or her conception, as a creation of God, deserving of our respect, protection and love.

But acknowledging that women’s bodies are their own does not diminish my own reverence for the living body in a woman’s womb. Thus, I cannot deny that I see the child in the womb, from the moment of his or her conception, as a creation of God, deserving of our respect, protection and love. Mysterious, precious, unique, infinite, made in the image and likeness of God. Holy.

And my respect for life extends to life at every stage, a feeling that has only grown though my experiences in various ministries during my 30 years as a Jesuit—for example, with refugees.

For two years, as a young Jesuit in the early 1990s, I worked in Kenya with refugees from around East Africa, who, in search of a safe life for their families, had fled war-torn countries like Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia and Rwanda, and settled in the slums of Nairobi. There, along with colleagues from the Jesuit Refugee Service, I helped them start small businesses to support themselves.

Many of them had suffered the severest losses in their home countries, tragedies that might seem unbelievable to some—seeing spouses hacked to death with machetes before them; watching their children have their throats slit; and being brutalized, kidnapped and tortured themselves. Sometimes people think I am concocting these stories. I’m not. I have met these people, and in many cases have seen the proof: medical records, newspaper clippings, gruesome scars.

When I think of “life issues” I often think of the 68 million refugees, migrants and internally displaced people whose most important “pro-life activity” is to flee.

Their lives were devalued, threatened and imperiled. It’s no wonder that refugees and migrants flee their home countries. Nearly all of them flee to save their lives and protect the lives of their children. So when I think of “life issues” I often think of the 68 million refugees, migrants and internally displaced people whose most important “pro-life activity” is to flee. Their lives are often at risk not just in their home countries, but also in transit through the deserts and on the seas, and later in teeming refugee camps, where, despite many noble efforts, they and their children die due to lack of food, sanitation and medicine.

Every life is precious to God—including the lives of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons. In other words, the life of a child at a border is precious, just as the life of a child in the womb is precious.

To take another non-traditional “life issue,” think about L.G.B.T. people. In the past few years I have learned a great deal about how these precious lives are also in grave danger. Consider this: lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in the United States are almost five times as likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. In many countries around the world, a gay person is at serious risk of being beaten or killed if his or her sexuality is discovered, and in eight countries homosexual acts are punishable with the death penalty. And in the last 10 years, over 3,000 transgender people have been murdered worldwide, and the most common causes of their deaths are shootings, stabbings and beatings.

In some places, then, L.G.B.T. issues are truly life issues. The life of an L.G.B.T. teenager in a family that rejects them is precious, just as the life of a child in the womb is precious.

The life of an L.G.B.T. teenager in a family that rejects them is precious, just as the life of a child in the womb is precious.

I could also tell you about many other vulnerable lives that I have encountered as a Jesuit, which are equally valuable in the eyes of God: the lives of patients with traumatic brain injuries confined for years in a hospital in Cambridge, Mass.; the lives of the poor, sick and dying men and women in their final days at Mother Teresa’s hospice in Kingston, Jamaica; the lives of street-gang members in the violent, deadly and now-demolished housing projects in Chicago; the lives of men who have attempted suicide and who now sit in solitary confinement in a prison in Boston. All these people are God’s beloved children, made in God’s own image.

So my respect for life extends to all people, but most especially those whose lives are at risk: the unborn child, to be sure, but also the refugee whose life is threatened by war, the L.G.B.T. young person tempted to commit suicide, the homeless person whose life is endangered by malnutrition, the uninsured sick person with no health care, the elderly person in danger of being euthanized, the inmate on death row. I have come to value all life, from conception to natural death, and believe that our laws should reflect this important principle.

Sometimes this is referred to as the “consistent ethic of life” or the “seamless garment” approach, a reference to the robe stripped from Jesus before his crucifixion and for which soldiers cast lots (Jn 19:23-24). It has been criticized unfairly by some people as “watering down” pro-life activities. One strong advocate of that approach, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the late archbishop of Chicago, lamented it was wrongly used in that way. But the misuse of a principle does not invalidate it.

The misuse of a principle does not invalidate it.

In fact, the point of the consistent ethic of life is not that we should focus on other issues instead of abortion, but that our witness for social justice and in defense of all life is strengthened when we base it clearly and consistently on the recognition of the dignity of every human life at every stage.

No less a person than St. John Paul II, in his encyclical “The Gospel of Life” (“Evangelium Vitae”), pointed to several “life issues” beyond abortion, invoking the Didache, one of the most ancient Christian texts outside the Bible, which dates to the first century. The Didache (which means “teaching” in Greek) not only inveighed against abortion but also condemned those who “show no compassion for the poor” and who “do not suffer with the suffering.”

In his encyclical, John Paul highlighted not only “the ancient threats of scourges of poverty, hunger, endemic disease, violence and war but also “new threats.” “Evangelium Vitae” joined with the Second Vatican Council in “forcefully condemning” practices that are “opposed to life itself.”

The long list often surprises people, but it is a reminder of the breadth of human life and the many threats to it.

…any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed.

Today we could add even more to St. John Paul’s list. The threats to human life in all its diversity grow with each passing year.

The threats to human life in all its diversity grow with each passing year.

Perhaps it is time to expand our understanding of what it means to be pro-life. During the Georgetown University conference, I met many thoughtful people who proposed other ways of framing the discussion: “Whole Life,” “One Life,” “Every Life.” These may be some helpful ways forward.

What would help even more than a new label is for all of us to care for every life. For the refugee advocate to care passionately about the unborn. And for the pro-life marcher to care passionately about the migrant. We should care for all life.

Because, as our faith teaches, as I have learned, and as I believe, every life is sacred.

This article has been updated.

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J Jones
2 years 11 months ago

Fr Jim,

This will be reflective of the Church ONLY when your average parish "pro-life ministry" engages in something other than anti-abortion activities.

That is a fact you can't wiggle around.

And you can't wiggle around the fact that few anti-abortion ministries --- their priests and their members --- are focused on the men who co-created those pregnancies.

Where is the screaming outside courthouses about fathers, many of them Catholic ------ and their lawyers, many of them Catholics ------ who force women into courts to obtain child support?

Where is the homily telling Catholic fathers and their Catholic lawyers that it is immoral for them to fight child support for the child they co-created?

Where is the priest who tells that Catholic father and that Catholic lawyer that they sinning against God when they fight a child support order?

And where is the diocese, parish, priest who refused to accept money from Catholic fathers and their Catholic lawyers who are fighting and winning the right to deny support for the children of those fathers?

Warren Patton
2 years 11 months ago

I think there is a pretty strong societal consensus that deadbeat Dads are bad. Yeah people still get away with it but there's no anti-child support movement or political parties claiming to represent the interests of deadbeat Dads. If there wereI'm sure a lot of religious groups would come out against that.

J Jones
2 years 11 months ago

Warren, "deadbeat dad" is the guy who has been ordered to pay and doesn't.
I am talking about every single father whose support of his children is court-driven.

God forbid fathers are told by the Church they must GUARANTEE that the children they fathered have housing, food, clothing, medical care, education, etc, until they are 18.

But they have other kids! But are they supposed to spend their lives taking care of kids they don't even live with, with the result they can't afford to marry again? But they don't make enough money to contribute to two households! But they need to be able afford a car! But they can't work three jobs! But but but but but.

When the day comes that the Church sponsors a 40 Days for Life vigil at every State capitol to demand public policy that guarantees every bill for maternity care is funded 50% through the responsible father's financial resources NO MATTER WHAT; when the Pro-Life Committee in every Catholic Church puts 50% of their time into preaching to fathers about the sin of allowing their children and the women who bore those children to live in poverty while Father Dearest moves on a new family, the Church will have some credibility.

Have you ever heard a homily about the responsibility of every single father to guarantee that every single child he has fathered has its needs met, which means guaranteeing the mother's needs are met?

Nope. You have not.

The bottom line here is that women are vessels. Men are free agents. And that dog won't hunt in democracies.

Warren Patton
2 years 11 months ago

Your quibbling. I meant all fathers who don't take care of their kids. If "deadbeat dads" is the wrong term then whatever. As for this:

"But they have other kids! But are they supposed to spend their lives taking care of kids they don't even live with, with the result they can't afford to marry again? But they don't make enough money to contribute to two households! But they need to be able afford a car! But they can't work three jobs! But but but but but."

I've never heard anyone make these arguments. I've never heard anyone make *any* arguments in favor of fathers who don't care for their children! Certainly not from priests! This is a strawman argument. Pro-lifers are more likely then anyone to condemn premarital sex, hookup culture, the sexual revolution, and all the cultural issues that lead to single mothers.

J Jones
2 years 11 months ago

Warren, the vast majority of Americans living in poverty are women and children. Where are the 40 Days for Life protests about THAT? Where are the ProLife committees which are targeting parish men who allow their children and the women who bore them to live in poverty? Where is the priest who refuses tithes from men whose children are living in poverty?

Crisis pregnancy centers and the "prolifers" who support them are exactly what they say they are: pregnancy centers. Period. How about parish prolife committees start adopting those women talked into bearing children they can't afford to raise outside of poverty? Say, each committee assumes 18 years of financial and relational responsibility for ensuring for just 5 women and their children do NOT live in poverty. NO

Then let's talk

Until then, leave women alone and advocate for contraception.

Warren Patton
2 years 10 months ago

However much sympathy you may have for the problems of single mothers it does not justify the killing of innocent children. Charities and church groups already do a lot to help out in their communities, including helping single moms. But we aren't capable of just wishing away all their problems. Of course we all want men to help raise the children they father. But the reasons they fail to do so have nothing to do with pro-lifers.

Churches and charities already help out in their communities in various ways, and that includes helping single moms. What your suggesting would just not be a wise use of resources though. I would rather a church use their resources to donate diapers to anybody who needs them, then that they use it turning just 5 women into permanent wards.

These sorts of arguments are just completely unfair. This whole framing of: "If your *really* cared you would be doing this, therefore you must not really care." And when it's applied to abortion its unfair because, in many cases pro-lifers are already doing the things their accused of ignoring (maybe not in the dramatic fashion people seem to expect) and because this is just an attempt to tie down action by imposing demands. "Only once you've solved this problem can you take action on this one."

Once you've recognized the humanity of the fetus saving them takes on an intense urgency. Obviously problems faced by single moms are a related problem, and it's reasonable to want to solve the two issues in tandem with each other. But it's not fair to say we should simply shelve abortion activism in order to focus on attacking deadbeat Dads or whatever other societal problem you choose to bring up. Doing that is effectively treating unborn children as expendable in the fight for women's welfare.

J Jones
2 years 10 months ago

Warren, I hear you loud and clear.

What you want is to control women's reproductive lives and give away free diapers.

I hear you loud and clear: I love babies but you can't force fathers to parent but it's bad for women and children to be provided for by the community that loves babies but there is only so much we can do but I'd rather meet this need and not that one but i get to make my own decisions but I am in control of how I respond to pregnancies but I will decide what I will do for a baby but how unfair of you to judge how I decide what is the best way to respond to a pregnancy but you need to stay out of my business but I am doing the best I can and besides I would rather give away free diapers up to the limit of how many I am willing to buy and donate this month.

Advocate for contraception, Warren; commit to providing for 18 years a child and the mother you talked into giving birth to that child through your crisis pregnancy center; develop a 40 Days for Life ministry targeted at the sins being committed by individual men known to your parish whose children are living in poverty (a lot of those men are white, middle class, employed and have new wives and new children); and quit making decisions based on what seems possible to you even as you lecture women that it doesn't matter what seems possible to them.

Thanks for exposing the truth of the prolife movement: it is about YOU. Get those babies born and then let them and their mommas shift for themselves after they pick up a pack of diapers and a food box because That is what you "would rather". Women, Warren, would rather not give birth to children they cannot provide for....children no one else, including people like you, are going to provide for because, after all, you can only do so much.

Warren Patton
2 years 10 months ago

If after three comments you are *still* claiming that I am defending deadbeat Dads then I don't know what to say. Your attacking strawmen and your moving in the direction of making personal attacks. I'm not quite sure whether you think I'm a deadbeat Dad or a priest or what but I don't have any children that I'm not taking care of, I don't run a Crisis Pregnancy Center, and I have nothing to gain personally from stopping abortion, and nothing to lose from helping women. I do know single mothers so if you think I'm completely ignorant I'm not. Still, I probably should have ignored your original comment and left it up to a priest or a someone who works for a Crisis Pregnancy Center to explain the services they offer and the impact they have on women.

In any case I'm done shadowboxing. I'm not going to make arguments just so you can respond to arguments I never made.

J Jones
2 years 10 months ago

Warren, the Catholic prolife (anti-abortion) movement is morally bankrupt. The answer is for the Catholic Church to quit making a fetish of sperm and support contraception.

Warren Patton
2 years 10 months ago


Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

Warren: Your logic is clear.. You competently speak against false dichotomies and the ongoing con job of the Devil in our midst. I pray your effort inspires other men who hesitate to defend our innocent victims. Jesus wouldn't have been allowed to speak by these feminist bullies who attack the credibility of half of humanity on the basis of gender.

J Jones
2 years 10 months ago

The vast vast vast majority of aborted pregnancies began when a man ejaculated without putting his penis in a condom.

Easy fix, Warren, catchy 40 Days for Life poster: "wrap it up after you whip it out".

And, no, Bev, I do not believe that is an offence against God.

Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

It s has become increasingly clear that repetitious 'shadowboxing' , straw man arguments, false dichotomies and off the point distractions are the modus operandi of the screeching celebrants of abortion. Their inability to present cogent arguments for their position becomes obvious when the same is offered by the other side. The Devil squirms.

J Jones
2 years 10 months ago

Bev, you are being obtuse. The point is that Catholic pro-lifers see only one solution: diapers and prayers outside clinics. And my goodness but your skin is thin.

Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

I know a woman who is the product of a gang rape...Her biological mother was a Catholic and gave birth but, under the circumstances, chose to adopt her into another Catholic family. The zygote is now grown up, healthy, happy and glad to be alive....

Judith Jordan
2 years 10 months ago

Warren Patton---Charities, including one of the biggest, Catholic Charities have testified before Congress that they do not have enough resources to take care of all the needs and they need more government subsidy to care for children. Most of the “pro-life” Republicans voted against it. It is an irony how people approach these issues. If you look at the Congressional Record, you will see that most “pro-life” representatives vote against programs feeding children. The pro-choice representatives vote for programs feeding children. Who is pro-life?

A statement by Sister Joan Chittister, Order of St. Benedict, best describes my position.

"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

Judith Jordan
2 years 10 months ago

Warren Patton---True, you don’t hear people cheering for “dead beat dads,” but people and our legal system are often indifferent to them. Men don’t pay child support and courts give them another chance over and over and over. Meanwhile, the children suffer. I have heard men say they don’t see their kids because their ex-wife makes it too difficult. People shrug, and so do the courts. Can you imagine someone taking a man’s Porsche and he does not turn over heaven and earth to get it back? And can you imagine that people wouldn’t think he was nuts if he didn’t do everything to get it back? Children need to be more important than a Porsche.

James Haraldson
2 years 11 months ago

Where is the homily that will tell liberal Catholics to stop telling bald faced lies and dealing in caricatures towards the pro-life movement by those who do not do a damned thing to help the women and children in crisis pregnancies?

Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

Brookbank: Given your commentary is persistently anti-Catholic and you eschew any authority given the Church by Jesus,and you outright deny the authority of the majesterium, what rule, or cannon do you use as a measure for what is or is not a mortal offence against God.?

J Jones
2 years 10 months ago

Tim O'Leary, is that you?

Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

As evidenced by the vast body of your commentary , you're not a practicing Catholic.Your report, therefore, on anything pertaining to parish life is not credible.

Tim Miller
2 years 10 months ago

What makes comments of Brookbanks worse is a serious factual error in thinking, that by condoms problem of abortion would be solved.

But its simple mathematics:
"Male latex condom[16][26] Condom 18(1 of 5) 2"

Presume a school with 100 16 year old pupils; they all decide: "Who cares about stupid adult suggestions to abstain? Let's have constant fun, everybody with everybody whenever there is opportunity, cause intelligent, reliable person and he said condoms are fine, so we only use condoms and all problems like unwanted pregnancy and abortion are guaranteed to be absent because he said so."

Even if said pupils take great care to use condoms correctly, they would have a failure rate of 2% per year. So of the constantly sexual active 50 16 year old girls, 1 would get pregnant per year; as about half of unplanned pregnancy end in abortion, there would be 1 abortion before they turned 18.

But as with 16 year old perfect use, is quite unrealistic, higher number of abortion would be expectable IF all girls are constantly sexually active and ONLY condoms are used.

There can be various approaches one might have to improve that situation, e.g. in the direction of what the Church suggest, that not all 16 year old girls should be constantly sexually active but just those who are married and therefore have at least formally declared to be ready to welcome children, or e.g. the more Planned Parenthood approach to implant in all girls long acting contraceptives, which supposedly have a lot lower failure rate than condoms, or e.g. a combination of 16- year old girls being a bit less sexually active and in case it anyway happens the unreliable condoms are supported/replaced by more reliable methods.

But whatever one thinks of this various approached to avoid the issue of having 1 in 3 teens getting pregnant before 18th birthday (which would be expected in case of constant sexual activity and only using condoms), anyone like Brookbanks suggesting that the problem is solvable solely by condoms is just WRONG on the FACTS.

J Jones
2 years 10 months ago

You mean this is complicated? You mean that if we want to reduce abortions we might want to focus on all contributing factors (and participants) and not be simplistic?

Tim Miller
2 years 10 months ago

"You mean this is complicated?"


Which for example means, that the opinions of somebody writing:
"The vast vast vast majority of aborted pregnancies began when a man ejaculated without putting his penis in a condom.

Easy fix, Warren, catchy 40 Days for Life poster: "wrap it up after you whip it out"."

are simplistic utterance which can be ignored, as the person saying this did not spent 5 minutes thinking about the matter, as 5 minutes of thinking would have shown, that the "easy fix" by using condoms is no fix at all.

There are even studies from an Austrian abortionists, who suggest that several thousand abortions could be prevented in Austria if among other thing people had not sex while using solely a condom as contraception (the abortionist of course suggest that they should instead have sex with more efficient contraception; but an abortionist agreeing that sex with only condom as contraception is insufficient to reduce abortion numbers, shows just how wrong your line of reasoning and thought is).

The Church btw already suggested in 1968 that contraception might not be helpful in reducing abortion numbers due to failure rate and that then an abortion is more likely to "correct" the error of contraception failing.

Of course, there is one simple thing:
You shall not kill/murder.

The complicated thing is how politically in our complicated and individualized society the state might attempt - while keeping mind of legal precedent and that the end does not justify the means - to reduce the chance that people end up in situations in which they then decide to get their unborn children killed.

A in my view unavoidable element in that would be to communicate in clear terms that unborn children are children and shall not be killed and communicate in clear terms that the best precaution would be if people had some form of agreement prior to sex that any children that might be conceived are not to be killed, e.g. marriage (which usual includes some non-verbal agreement of the couple, that children one day would be nice, which is at least close to an agreement not to kill any children conceived) - which the Church of course also does.

While it is perceivable that there might be still disagreements between Church and state about the fine print and about the legislative consequences, the state failing to go in that direction is unlikely to improve situation about abortion much; at least if the only alternative plan would be to promote condoms as you seem to do.

John Chuchman
2 years 11 months ago

I am Pro-Choice Pro-life. Everyone has a God-given right to choice, which does not make all choices right. It is not a legal issue, tho it may be moral.

Rhett Segall
2 years 11 months ago

John, should it be legal for people to sell heroin on the basis of the "free choice" principle? I'm confident you would say "No" because heroin kills human beings, perhaps slowly, but it kills. The "free choice" to abort kills human life immediately. The vulnerable need people to speak up for them.

Nora Bolcon
2 years 11 months ago

Rhett you are talking apples and oranges. A woman who refuses to carry a fetus or embryo to full term cuts off use of her organs to the unborn life developing inside her. Without the use of her organs, the fetus dies because it's own organs are not capable of supporting it's own life. The equivalent example would be denying someone a kidney that was a match because the person will die without your kidney and donating your kidney although physically scarring and causing of major interruption and even great pain in your life, it won't Likely kill you.
Note we do not have laws mandating people donate kidneys to those who will die without one. This is because men would never be willing legally to put their body parts under someone elses control. Women don't agree to do this either and for good reasons.

Women have a real argument for justice because men are not required to use their organs to save others lives so it is demanding greater than equal treatment to the unborn to mandate this by law of women. This treats women as less valuable than their unborn children and this is not justice or freedom. I say this as someone who is morally offended by abortion.

So add to the fact that no criminalizing law about abortion can be made fair for all citizens, as only child bearing women could ever be jailed for breaking the law, to the fact that countries who already have these anti abortion laws have much higher abortion and maternal death rates, I have no problem stating that I believe Christ would want women to keep the legal right to choose but would also have us help in real ways all pregnant woman and new parents so less women seek to abort.

Frank T
2 years 11 months ago

Beautifully put. I am so sick of people using their personal convictions to decide for others, using analogies that don't make sense. No wonder Catholicism has lost the young.

Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

....Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church....those that believe, believe this. It doesn't matter how many people are in the Church. The mission of the Church is to preserve and tell the message of Christ...first and foremost,,,, I think its safe to presume 'holy, God centered people' were in the minority in Hitler's Germany..... Pol Pot also managed to attract multitudes of youth. So what's your point? Since when do 'popular trends' equate to holiness or the hope of salvation.

Ann Ryan
2 years 11 months ago

Why is a planned baby a real baby and an unwanted one not a baby? Women are smart enough to know how to prevent a pregnancy without having to kill a life in the womb. The innocent created life cannot defend itself. It’s our obligation to protect the defenseless. At some point, we must acknowledge that a body inside a mother’s body is a separate person. Why is that life worth less than the mother’s just because of it’s vulnerable position at that moment in time? I know too many examples of people who were allowed to be born in the most inconvenient of circumstances and I thank God for them. We cannot be shortsighted. We must acknowledge the pain of the poor women who live with regrets of their abortion, and the innocent babies who feel pain in the womb. Before advanced ultrasound, we didn’t know any better. Now, we have no excuse. Father Jim, this is your moment to educate your followers who reject your stance on life, particularly as relates to the unborn.

J Jones
2 years 11 months ago

Ann, you leave out of your statement that another necessary tbere-wod-no-pregnancy player ALSO knows how to avoid pregnancy: MEN. Two particular kinds of men:

the men who owns the penises in each and every single one of those sex acts;

AND every single Catholic cleric, Father Jim included, who refuses to support and encouragement the use of contraception.

every single abortion accrues to the conscience of the father who had unprotected sex with the mother AND to the Roman Catholic Church and its clerics who teach that protected intercourse is a sin against God. Shame on them.

And shame on you.

Judith Jordan
2 years 10 months ago

J Brookbank---Excellent comment. Making it difficult to have access to birth control is deplorable. First, birth control is part of a woman’s health care. Second, those who make it difficult for people to obtain birth control must take some responsibility for the high abortion rate.

Jill Caldwell
2 years 10 months ago

How is contraception women's health care? Pregnancy is not a disease or illness. Controlling sexual appetites is a social issue, not one of health. One could easily argue that some birth control (abortifacient) is quite harmful to innocent health. I'm not saying artificial birth control is right or wrong, but it is not health care.

Crystal Watson
2 years 11 months ago

Not everyone has access to efficient and affordable contraception. An IUD can cost as much as $1000. And sometimes contraception fails. And sometimes people plan a baby but there are health problems of the mother or fetus that cause an abortion choice. Studies show most women - like more than 90% - do not regret having an abortion.

Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

So ' most women don't regret abortion"........what point are you making? '

rose-ellen caminer
2 years 10 months ago

It is NOT demanding greater then equal treatment, as needing an organ donation is not the same as a period of gestation in a womb. The gestation in the womb [ environment;where a human is located] has no inherent bearing on its humanity.I cant live underwater or in outer space without assistance, but that does not mean when under water or in outer space I am not a human.[ You drank the euthanasia- Terry- Schiavo-she's no longer human kool -Aid, me thinks] .Ones location in a womb has no bearing on ones humanity. Ones location is irrelevant. And so is ones lack of autonomy; ones dependence for oxygen or for nutrients. A baby , a child is also dependent for its life on adults. Most adults for that matter are dependent on society for their survival. We have civilization; we have networks of dependence and co dependence, communities, societies, which at this stage of our evolution, is essential to most of us, for our individual survival. And so the dependence of the unborn on its mothers body for its life, is really a straw man deflection .It is a throwback , a barbaric; might- makes -right , only the strong , the "autonomous"[ feral,uncivil] have a right to survive, ethos!

And this notion that men can't have a say in whether killing unborn humans is ethical is also absurd and intellectually dishonest. [ IMO].The issue of the morality or immorality of killing, in the case of fetuses,of sentient; capable- of -suffering humans,is an ethical issue that all humans, as made- in- God's -image, - ethical - beings[God's laws are written in our hearts} have a natural right and obligation to discern.

Nora Bolcon
2 years 10 months ago

yes it is the same. Environment of life is not relevant. We are demanding women use their bodies to give life where that life would die without that person's body. This is equally true if a person cannot survive without a donor kidney and the donor of the kidney is unlikely to die by donating. God does not care more about the life of the unborn than he does about the life of a person who needs a kidney to live. I never said men couldn't have a say but they should not have the greater say since their bodies are not effected by the law you wish to make.

Franklin Uroda
2 years 11 months ago

You seem to be talking about "Free Will".

Warren Patton
2 years 11 months ago

I find this position confusing. The reasons for thinking abortion is immoral are the same as the reasons for thinking it should be illegal. I can't think of any good arguments for thinking abortion is immoral that don't also point to banning it. The mere fact that God gives us the ability to make choices doesn't mean all choices we can make are acceptable or should be legal.

I don't understand this position, honestly. I don't see how you can admit that abortion is immoral- thus apparently accepting that it is the killing of a human being- and yet defend people's right to do it. Still if that is your position I hope your at least consistent in it and would defend the rights of pro-lifers to engage in their activities- like protesting and opening crisis pregnancy centers- without being tied down by the State.

rose-ellen caminer
2 years 10 months ago

Of course;" I think abortion is killing, but go right ahead". This position makes no moral sense yet Catholics say this often, especially politicians!Now that is serving two masters, I think.

Nora Bolcon
2 years 10 months ago

Because what I think is immoral others may not and they have a right to act against my morals. It is right to make it against church law as long as you don't demand a greater penance than that of any other serious sin like murder or adultery. Governmental laws are designed to keep the peace and provide equal justice to all citizens (which means born people) as much as possible, and to protect the unborn, as long as the born citizen's rights are not overtaken by the desire to secure the unborn person's rights.

Bev Ceccanti
2 years 10 months ago

I can see a Constitutional argument for a woman to abort but the right of others not to participate is clearly Constitutional . By that I mean in any way whatsoever ie. through taxation , employment or any other way. When I inquired with the Italian Consulate, I learned Italian citizens were never forced into participating in 'private killings of human beings in the womb, regardless of their ages on the continuum of life. Furthermore, no health professional , public or private, could be denied their job if they refused to kill, and no business could be forced to provide assistance in any way. The onus was on the woman to seek a willing provider. The Planned Parenthood Party continues to abuse the Constitutional rights of others.. Roe v Wade may be settled law but the dirty stuff that came after was a clear overreach. Feminists cannot legitimately defend what they're trying to do to the rest of us but they continue to influence with irrational, politically motivated judges. Catholic hospitals established by the nearly donated labor of nuns and Catholic charities abound throughout the nation. How dare the Planned Parenthood Party or its ugly fan club attempt to abuse that holy endeavor. Donate your own lifetimes to your own repulsive vision. The rest of us are not obliged to finance it any more than we are obliged to buy weapons for gun enthusiasts. Period.

Carol Goodson
2 years 11 months ago

I agree 100%; thank you for articulating this so well.

bill carson
2 years 11 months ago

"I also advocate for refugees and migrants, L.G.B.T. people"... When you advocate for people opposed to life as defined by the Church, you're actually NOT pro-life. Homosexual sin rejects life totally, yet Martin "advocates" for such sinners. As far as I know, he's NEVER spoken against homosexual sin. So don't give us this "pro-life" claptrap, Fr. Martin.

Mike Bayer
2 years 11 months ago

Doesn't Jesus advocate for sinners and forgive them? Isn't that the whole purpose of the Incarnation, His mission, His Death, and His Resurrection? I hope those stones you cast don't hit your glass house.

Franklin Uroda
2 years 11 months ago

Of course Jesus forgave sinners, but He expected repentance, i.e., forsaking the sinful life style "Go and sin no more".

Nora Bolcon
2 years 11 months ago

NO offense Fr. Martin but that sounds very nifty. Unfortunately, women cannot afford to be nifty or naive with our responses to abortion. Three Jesuit trained men on our Supreme Court seem quite ready to make what I agree should be a non-political but still moral issue into a political one and change laws which will cause real death increases to both the unborn and many women if Pro-life and its movement gets its way.

The research is clear and concrete by valid sources like the World Health Organization and Guttmacher, a research corporation that our church uses for many research issues because it trusts its research ethics as honest.

All research shows that countries that make abortion difficult to access or a crime have the highest abortion rates, this is especially true if birth control is not easy and free to access in these countries (I will show the Guttmacher research below and you are welcome to check out the W.H.O's research which is almost identical and equally reliably unbiased.)

One cannot claim to be pro-life authentically while knowingly supporting laws that cause more death, of either women or the unborn. Our church is lying to its women. Our hierarchy has known the below research for over a decade and has not changed its stand on how to react to the sin of abortion. This makes them culpable for the increased deaths in the many Catholic run countries of S. America and Africa and Asia which have double, many of them, than that of the U.S. (for now with Roe v. Wade still in place) and Western Europe have for rates of abortion and maternal deaths.

Helping women gain free birth control, and countries offering mothers and fathers greater paid time off for maternity and paternity leaves, also "government funded" quality day care, and universal health care are the things which have been proven to lower abortion and maternal death rates on a global scale. NOT making abortion a crime! Not making birth control hard to access! Not de-funding Planned Parenthood's Cancer and non-abortive health care funds in clinics for poor women! such as Pro-Life has been pushing.

Women cannot pretend this isn't always a political and human justice issue for women while so called Pro-Life groups who refuse to educate themselves continually put narrow minded men on our courts to try to criminalize abortion. Already in states where legal abortion has been made difficult to access, there has been an increase in self-aborting with deadly and horrific results.

If you want to help women, the unborn, if you genuinely want to make a difference like Jesus would - stop making laws to punish women and doctors and support laws instead that offer real help to women.

This attitude that there is only the baby's life to consider has already made the U.S. the most dangerous place in the world to give birth outside of the actual third world. That is nothing to be proud of Father.

Get real. We need real priests, who really care about what is actually taking place in the real world. This article takes its force not from God or Justice or the quest for Life, but from some Zuloo Fantasy. Women can no longer afford to join you there in this fantasy land and you are not the one paying the price for your self-inflicted coma on this subject. Please wake up! We need you all to wake up! Now!

From Guttmacher: Abortion and Birth Control Stats.
(Notes from my other research on this topic - bottom)
• The highest annual rate of abortion in 2010–2014 was in the Caribbean, estimated at 59 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, followed by South America, at 48.
The lowest rates were in Northern America, at 17, and Western and Northern Europe—at 16 and 18, respectively.
• Across regions, Eastern Europe experienced the largest decline in the abortion rate, from 88 in 1990–1994 to 42 in 2010–2014. Despite this decline, there is a persistent gap in rates between Eastern and Western Europe (42 vs. 16) likely reflecting lower use of effective, modern contraceptive methods in Eastern Europe.
• The overall abortion rate in Africa was 34 per 1,000 women in 2010–2014. Subregional rates ranged from 31 in Western Africa to 38 in Northern Africa. There has been little if any change in abortion rates in these subregions since 1990–1994.
• For Latin America, subregional abortion rates range from 33 in Central America to 48 in South America. Rates have increased slightly since 1990–1994, but not by statistically significant amounts.
• Abortion rates in Asia have also fallen since 1990–1994, although not significantly. Asia’s subregions all have rates close to the regional average of 36 per 1,000 women.
• Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. When countries are grouped according to the grounds under which the procedure is legal, the rate is 37 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age where it is prohibited altogether or allowed only to save a woman’s life, compared with 34 per 1,000 where it is available on request, a nonsignificant difference.
• High levels of unmet need for contraception help explain the prevalence of abortion in countries with restrictive abortion laws.

What I have researched from other appropriate sources agrees with Guttmacher but also indicates the below information on this subject:
The World Health Organization Research agrees with the Guttmacher Research. Their results are almost identical.
However, neither the W.H.O. or Guttmacher can give us a solid conclusion, due to lack of evidence, as to what happens when countries offer easy access to quality birth control but make their abortion laws stricter. This is due to the fact that most countries either are lenient on both issues or they are strict on access to both abortion and birth control.
We could make some confident speculation, based on the global evidence that does exist, that in countries, currently, where laws are strict for both abortion and birth control or where both are criminalized, that were these countries to loosen up laws on birth control access alone and not on abortion, the abortion rates would come down more, and likely closer to where the Western and developed nations are at. However, these countries are not necessarily or likely to get quite as low as the western, industrialized, countries since there does exist evidence that the mere difficulty of access to abortion alone lends, especially in certain cases, to higher abortion rates by itself.
Unfortunately, in the countries where the laws for abortion become much stricter than in the past, such as may exist in the U.S. for the future, the amount of abortions could increase quite a bit even if birth control access remains easy and free. One of the reasons this is true is due to the fact that, in these countries, many women who get pregnant in their later years, 40s or older, often now seek to get an amnio to see if their fetus is healthy. They can only get this during the late part of the 3rd month or beginning of the fourth month of their pregnancy. With stricter laws, some of these women may decide they don't want to take the chance the fetus is unhealthy or has downs syndrome, and instead may opt to get an early abortion thru more easily, anonymously obtained, although perhaps illegally obtained, abortion pills. These pills become not an option in later months, and testing would put women in a position to not be able to deny they are pregnant, publicly, if they wait, so this puts the women at risk they could be charged with a crime if abortion becomes illegal. (Please note: I am not suggesting this is right or moral or Christian behavior but only that the reality exist and I personally know quite a few women who would fit this category, today, in the U.S. despite anyone's opinions or beliefs)
A horrible side effect of the above situation is this: 50% of all downs fetuses naturally miscarry in the first trimester, and 40% that make it to the 2nd trimester miscarry then. Fetuses that have other severe health issues often miscarry, naturally, within the first three - four months of pregnancy as well. The amount of downs fetuses that become born infants are very small amounts even for older women. This illness is still quite rare overall. This means many women could end up aborting perfectly healthy fetuses, by the thousands, each year, or more, to avoid the possibility of having an unhealthy baby, and this number increases if women already have other children. One way some western countries avoid this issue is that they keep early abortions legal and allow later abortions into the 4th and 5th month if the fetus has tested unhealthy or the woman's life is in real danger if she remains pregnant. Many married older women think they aren't fertile when they still are and stop taking birth control.
Lastly, there is no existing evidence that easy access to abortions, even throughout pregnancy, equates to more abortions, in any country, that has free and easy access to birth control. In fact, countries with easy access to abortion and also free easy access to birth control have the lowest rates in the world, and these rates lower even more when those countries offer mandated longer paid maternity/paternity leaves, free quality universal health care, and free, quality, public daycare. (The only exception to this seems to be Sweden. Despite Sweden's similarly ease of access to both abortion and birth control and it's offering many of the benefits listed above that other Western European Countries offer, it still has quite a high abortion rate. However, there is no evidence suggesting that tightening Sweden's existing laws would lower its rate for abortion and doing so would likely only raise it even higher.)
The evidence we do have seems to indicate, on a global scale, that despite what seems reasonable in theory, i.e., harsh abortion laws will lower abortion rates, is completely false when put to the test in reality. It just may be that easy access to abortion, and lenient abortion laws, help more to reduce abortion rates than having strict laws against abortion, in any country. Perhaps some morality issues simply cannot be solved by force or threat but must instead be dealt with by respecting the situation of the people involved and helping them out of their place of fear or desperation, with physical and material protections and emotional and spiritual support. We could do much more perhaps by encouraging a choice for good, and for life, without attempting to control women. We could choose to help women in real ways, instead of trying to corner them into doing the Christian thing.

Beatriz Vera
2 years 11 months ago

Nora Bolcon, I couldn't find the words to say what I think until I read your comment. Without wanting to "wiggle myself out" of my own voice, I could not find better words and thank you for yours.

Tim Miller
2 years 11 months ago

While you are correct that pro-life side ignores too much of the information you cited, that information contains a few serious problems/errors; i just name the most easy ones to explain:

1. "Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. When countries are grouped according to the grounds under which the procedure is legal, the rate is 37 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age where it is prohibited altogether or allowed only to save a woman’s life, compared with 34 per 1,000 where it is available on request, a nonsignificant difference."

Considering that abortion rates vary even inside one country a lot (up to a factor of 2,5 between dense cities and rural areas) it borders on the dishonest what Guttmacher does here, to just arrange countries according to abortion laws and thereby deliberately giving the impression that laws against abortion do not effect the number of abortions; one should at least check for other factors and also look at countries with differing abortion laws which are otherwise less different.

E.g. compare Irland to GB, instead of sub-sahara Africa to Western Europe; and that comparison - up until 1st January this year - would strongly indicate that Irlands strict abortion ban did have an effect to reduce abortions, as GB has about 15 abortions per 1000 15-44 year old women while Irland had about 6 or 5.

(Part of the issue is of course, that with ban, the data is less reliable; but that adds to Guttmacher's near dishonesty - one does not compare countries with legal abortion and reliable statistics to countries with illegal abortion and therefore only unreliable estimates and then draws as a scientific undeniable conclusion, that it is proven, than bans do not lower abortion; after all, the reduction effect of ban might be sucker up by the measurement error; while Guttmacher does this nowhere explicitly - they are not stupid after all - they never raise there voice when activist or journalists cite their studies as supposedly "scientific" "evidence" that bans do not reduce; comparing reliable statistics with rough estimates is in principle insufficient to consider anything scientifically proven; it is just indication)

2. direct contradiction of the claim is found in Guttmacher's own statistics:
"Across regions, Eastern Europe experienced the largest decline in the abortion rate, from 88 in 1990–1994 to 42 in 2010–2014. Despite this decline, there is a persistent gap in rates between Eastern and Western Europe (42 vs. 16) likely reflecting lower use of effective, modern contraceptive methods in Eastern Europe."

Why the decline?
The best available guess is changes of laws making abortion more illegal, when the countries went from communist - no communist out there who ever saw and abortion he didn't like - to non-communist.

3. "The evidence we do have seems to indicate, on a global scale, that despite what seems reasonable in theory, i.e., harsh abortion laws will lower abortion rates, is completely false when put to the test in reality. It just may be that easy access to abortion, and lenient abortion laws, help more to reduce abortion rates than having strict laws against abortion, in any country. Perhaps some morality issues simply cannot be solved by force or threat but must instead be dealt with by respecting the situation of the people involved and helping them out of their place of fear or desperation, with physical and material protections and emotional and spiritual support. We could do much more perhaps by encouraging a choice for good, and for life, without attempting to control women. We could choose to help women in real ways, instead of trying to corner them into doing the Christian thing."

Guttmacher and other pro-abortion advocates have fallen into the false dichotomy, that its either banning abortion as murder or having a lenient and easy access.

In Germany the supreme court affirmed that unborn have the right to life according to Art. 2.2 of German constitution and affirmed that unborn have human dignity according to Art. 1.1 of German constitution and that there the German state has a duty to attempt to protect the live of unborn and is required to both use penal code and other means to achieve this, with the German state left quite some freedom how to exactly due to this based on the experience that harsh laws are of limited effectiveness.

So there is no need to legally deny the right to life of unborn to cope with the issue, that data so far INDICATES (but does not prove as activists claim) that harsh abortion laws are often of limited effectiveness.

It is in principle so simple:

Unborn humans have a right to life, etc.

Banning abortions does not work?

Then try something else, but for the sake of sanity do not change the law to consider unborn humans to be non-humans.

Evidence about German supreme court:

First link under "Volltextveröffentlichung":

"1. Das Grundgesetz verpflichtet den Staat, menschliches Leben, auch das ungeborene, zu schützen. Diese Schutzpflicht hat ihren Grund in Art. 1 Abs. 1 GG; ihr Gegenstand und - von ihm her - ihr Maß werden durch Art. 2 Abs. 2 GG näher bestimmt. Menschenwürde kommt schon dem ungeborenen menschlichen Leben zu. Die Rechtsordnung muß die rechtlichen Voraussetzungen seiner Entfaltung im Sinne eines eigenen Lebensrechts des Ungeborenen gewährleisten. Dieses Lebensrecht wird nicht erst durch die Annahme seitens der Mutter begründet. "

So unborn have rights according to constitution.

"11. Dem Gesetzgeber ist es verfassungsrechtlich grundsätzlich nicht verwehrt, zu einem Konzept für den Schutz des ungeborenen Lebens überzugehen, das in der Frühphase der Schwangerschaft in Schwangerschaftskonflikten den Schwerpunkt auf die Beratung der schwangeren Frau legt, um sie für das Austragen des Kindes zu gewinnen, und dabei auf eine indikationsbestimmte Strafdrohung und die Feststellung von Indikationstatbeständen durch einen Dritten verzichtet. "

State ("Gesetzgeber") may pursue protection in the early phase of pregnancy with an approach less focused on penal code ("auf eine indikationsbestimmte Strafdrohung ... verzichtet") and more focused on counseling ("Schwerpunkt auf die Beratung der schwangeren Frau") and helping.

The critical difference:
When the unborn is legally a worthless nothing, there is legally little or no way to put limitations upon father of the child or other people asking or even pressuring the woman to abort - after all, there can be nothing wrong in asking someone else to destroy a legal nothing of no ethically value whatsoever according to the constitution.

Hope i could shed light on what trap lies within the data from Guttmacher (a trap which i think is to some extent gladly accepted if not deliberately set up; cause do you think pro-aborts are happy in Germany with the solution that abortion is possible within first three months if a mandatory counseling happened? No, they literally scream how cruel and inhuman it is, to require woman to have such counseling, which is at least formally aimed at encouraging the women not to abort and to help them with the problems they face; there are pro-aborts - and Guttmacher people might be partly among them - who will be satisfied with nothing less than solely on request of the woman, paid by taxpayer, doctors forced by law and till the umbilical cord is cut [that doens't mean that a lot of people being against strict abortion laws, might also be against that radicalism; but as the situation in Canada shows, that is of little help, if the radical pro-aborts get their way; so one should be aware about them and the traps lying inside Guttmacher and other data])

Nora Bolcon
2 years 10 months ago

Hi Tim,

Since I already answered these pretty much same questions in the last abortion article in America - I am now just going to cut and paste this response again. Perhaps you did not get the chance to read the other one yet.

Guttmacher is not the only one with these results, The World Health Organization agrees with this research and there is no viably sourced evidence contradicting either Guttmacher or the W.H.O's evidence. Also, I have a problem with your comment being riddled with statements accusing Guttmacher of lying, yet you offer no evidence to support their findings as incorrect.

Definition of Evidence: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

What Guttmacher has supplied fits the definition of evidence. They have researched these issues in every country of the world, and with integrity. In fact, the abortion rates in Africa and in other certain third world countries, listed in their research, are probably on the low side. The W.H.O. points this out in its research that because many of these countries are extremely poor and don't keep good records and abortion is illegal, the rates listed for abortion are much lower than likely is the reality since only what is recorded can be listed in the research.

There is nothing misleading in grouping countries by abortion rates, and abortion and birth control access, as this was the point of the research in this area. They are allowed to research countries by the data they find significant and of use to the world organizations who may need this data or find it constructive.

As for the clustering of urban to non-urban - this issue makes no difference since every country with strict laws against abortion had higher rates of abortion and much higher rates of maternal deaths which some of us also care about. Urban or not every country had higher rates around the globe and all countries have urban and rural populations. Our own country has seen an increase in self-aborting around some of our states that have tried to restrict abortion access with nasty results since 2014.

As for Ireland, it has been well documented in England that as long as abortion has been legal in England, the Irish have gone to England to procure abortion. Which explains the lower rate documented in Ireland than most countries with banned abortion.

The same applies to the Eastern European Countries such as Poland. Polish Women have commonly gone to Germany and other European Countries to procure abortions since the wall came down and this research has been documented as well. Eastern Europeans now have difficult access to both abortions and birth control compared to most Western European Countries, and their rates are still much higher than Western European rates of abortion and maternal deaths. As for the rate drop from before the wall fell in the Eastern Bloc of abortions to now - I don't know why, and neither do you since there is no research on this issue that I have found or you have offered here - so this is pure speculation but I can tell you abortion rates were higher in the U.S. too before birth control was more readily available after the 1980s. It could have been due to poor access to birth control in Russia or the promotion of abortion in Russia before the wall came down. I am merely guessing. I don't disagree that pushing abortion on women in desperate situations will likely increase its happening as well. I am sure China has had hideously high rates of abortion while it mandated no more than one child per couple but that issue is not the subject of my comment or this article. We are not discussing rates of abortion when women are forced to abort. The subject is access and the lack of it to both birth control and abortion increasing, and by how much, abortions happening in countries where there is no governmental pressure to abort.

So let me get this straight - you prefer the amount of 42 abortions per 1000 women in Eastern Europe compared to the 16 in 1000 women in Western Europe? That does not sound Pro-Life to me!? Either way 42 unborn lives compared to 16 is the difference of 26 abortions being done above the Western European countries which have the easiest access to both birth control and abortion, compared by the Eastern European Countries which now have more difficult access to both.

I don't think there is anything misleading in what the Guttmacher evidence has pointed out but I do believe Pro-Life isn't really Pro-Life, but instead a morality brigade and no matter how damaging the results of its efforts, it will not change its tactics even to save many of the unborn it proclaims to care about, and certainly they will not rethink their destructive goals to criminalize abortion in order to lower maternal death rates to save any women's lives.
Also to answer your German statement, Yes, after a certain time of pregnancy, Western European Countries protect the unborn and demand greater medical evidence - physical or emotional for allowing an abortion. However, I know a German couple and this is not tightly restricted until after the first 20 weeks and even then women can get an abortion if the fetus has a serious health issue or the mother does and the women gets a note from her Dr.
As for, "Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. When countries are grouped according to the grounds under which the procedure is legal, the rate is 37 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age where it is prohibited altogether or allowed only to save a woman’s life, compared with 34 per 1,000 where it is available on request, a nonsignificant difference." . . . .
I don't consider 3 deaths non-significant per 1,000 women, but that's me. Also if you research further into the World Health Orgs. research online, you will see that most countries that have strict abortion laws also have strict birth control access so in this one area Guttmacher is using very little evidence to back its statement but probably is using the little evidence there is available. Either way, we have more deaths of the unborn with only abortion restricted according to available evidence and that is what I wrote, that abortions would likely be dramatically less in countries with easy access to birth control only but not as low as say Western European Countries or the current rate of the U.S. with Roe v. Wade still intact.

None of this research justifies anyone getting an abortion morally. I do not believe it is right or moral or healthy for anyone to get an abortion. However, what we are discussing is criminalizing the act, and since all evidence available proves that this only increases the amount of times this act is done around the world, and definitely causes more women to die and the unborn too, it is more immoral to react with this response to the problem.

Jesus never told you or anyone else to condemn another person. In point of fact he specifically told all of his followers not to condemn anyone. You can proclaim abortion a sin, and I would agree with you, but criminalizing it only seeks to punish, after the fact, and neither Jesus nor I would support that action, according to what is written in the Gospels. Do not murder is not the same command as you must jail anyone who murders. Laws in the country are designed to keep the peace and give justice to all citizens, as equally as possible, and also to the unborn, as long as you are not taking rights from the born to do so.

God Almighty nor Jesus values the unborn more than their mothers, whether in regards to their lives, or their human dignity, or their freedom and right to act according to their free will over the body God gave to them. Unfortunately, no law could ever be justly made to force women to gestate a baby they do not wish to gestate with the use of their organs since we do not have any such mandate on men, or on women of non-child bearing age. The equivalent would be mandating organ donation to save the lives of others, say of kidneys or bone marrow and you notice we do not have such laws.

Sometimes the best and most just solution is no law at all and choosing another avenue. With abortion, both Europe and the U.S. have already proven other routes work much better so why are you still pushing for criminalization? Avoiding the actual evidence, and there is plenty of it, won't avoid the results that the evidence foretells. Women and the unborn are dying in higher amounts while you keep your head in the sand. Time to wake up brother - time to ask yourself are you really backing what Christ would do or maybe it just feels good to try and control women since you won't be effected by any such laws of the kind you want made?

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