Fr. Frank Pavone, the Director of Priests For Life
and the Moderator General of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life
(MEV) writes a bi-weekly column dealing with pro-life issues.
Yesterday's column, which we reprint below in full, has to do with the differences between "absolutists" and "prudentialists" in reference to which kinds of legislation can be morally supported.
Fr. Pavone lays out the standard that all Christians should follow within the very human limitations that our political system entails.
You can subscribe to his columns by sending your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.orgAbsolutely No Exceptions
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
One of my favorite pro-life shirts is the one that says, "100% Pro-life, Without Exception, Without Compromise, Without Apology.
"That's exactly the stand each of us is called to take; in fact, it is the only pro-life stance. Abortion is an intrinsic evil. It is evil by its very nature, and that evil is not altered by circumstances. To put it another way, if one lived for a million years -- or forever -- and did nothing but try to imagine circumstances that could justify a single abortion, one could never imagine one. It simply does not exist.
Every abortion, no matter what the circumstances, contradicts the law of God.
The circumstances in which a child is conceived -- whether in love or by rape -- can never make an abortion morally permissible. The circumstances in which the pregnancy advances -- whether with sickness or health -- can never justify the direct killing of a child. Every child, starting at the single cell stage, is a human person. The children conceived in rape and incest must have equal protection. The children of mothers with medically complicated pregnancies must have equal protection. Our duty to these children is absolute, and admits of no exceptions. To say that an abortion might sometimes be permissible is like saying an act of terrorism, of child abuse, of rape, or of Satanism is sometimes permissible.
There is no Court, King, Governor, President, Parliament, or Prince anywhere on earth or any time in history who can issue any decision, decree or declaration that would justify even a single abortion. When human lawmakers attempt to do so, the "law" that results is not simply a bad law; it is, in fact, no law at all, and carries neither authentic juridical validity nor any obligation to obey it.
But why, then, don't we stop all abortions today? What are we waiting for? Obviously there are limits to what we can do. Every abortion is wrong. But as I dissuade one woman from doing it, many other women don't hear me. As I speak to one group, there are countless groups not hearing me. And even if I blockade the door to an abortion clinic, what about all the other clinics that are operating at the same time? Lawmakers are not the only ones who face limits in how many babies they can protect today. We all do.
Yet while we acknowledge practical limitations, we can never limit the principle nor lose sight of the goal. No abortion is permissible, and every child must be protected.
Nor is it permissible for each state to decide on its own whether or not to protect the lives of the unborn. That makes no more sense than letting each state decide on whether to protect the lives of the born!
Life can be confusing, and the temptation to compromise with evil can be great. But the teaching about abortion is as clear and direct as it can be, and is best summed up with one word: never
.This column can be found online at www.priestsforlife.org/columns/columns2007/07-07-02absolutelynoexceptions.htm
Fr. Frank's columns can be heard via podcast. See www.priestsforlife.org/podcast for more details.
Fr. Frank's columns can be listened to in MP3 format at www.priestsforlife.org/columns/columns2007/index.htm
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