The Christian Response to Abortion: Choosing Hope Over Despair

Opinion   Maria Vitale Gallagher   Sep 27, 2013   |   9:33AM    Washington, DC

Religion rarely becomes the lead story on cable news, but it did this past week, following the publication of an interview with Pope Francis published in “America” magazine.

The pro-abortion lobbying group NARAL went so far as to publicly thank the Pope. Yet, the following day, it became apparent that NARAL’s Gospel is not Pope Francis’ Gospel, when he condemned today’s throwaway culture, saying “Our response to this mentality is a ‘yes’ to life, decisive and without hesitation. The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are precious, but this one is fundamental –- the condition for all the others.”

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Moreover, in a moving description of the inherent dignity of the unborn baby, Pope Francis said, “Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world.”

Coincidentally, I was flipping through channels the other night when I saw that the O’Reilly Factor was running part of a 60 Minutes segment on host Bill O’Reilly and his book, Killing Jesus: A History. His previous works, Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, focused on the events leading up to the assassinations of two Presidents. The tragic trilogy now turns to the individual whom Christians view as the Son of God—true God and true man—the savior of the world.

As a child, I often wondered, “How could people kill Christ?” To crucify God—what crime could be worse?

Today, Jesus’ words from Matthew 25 come to mind, “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”

For the Christian, to turn away from the unborn baby girl and her mother is to turn away from Christ. To fail to provide support—both emotional and material—to mother and child is to fail Jesus. To ignore the tragedy of abortion is to ignore God and to reject the most wonderful gift He gives—life.

And I think of the staggering death toll from abortion—more than 55 million in the U.S. alone. A death sentence carried out against Christ—millions upon millions of times.

The Christian response to this tragedy should be one of choosing hope over despair, compassion over cold-heartedness, caring over violence. The woman facing an unexpected pregnancy is not to be condemned, but to be loved—a feat carried out everyday by the dedicated women and men at pregnancy help centers.

Likewise, the woman who has suffered the loss of a child to abortion is to be comforted and extended a hand of healing, as is done through ministries such as Rachel’s Vineyard. If, as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, it must also take a village to prevent a child from taking her first breath—that is why we must continue to work, through peaceful means, to re-establish a culture of life in our communities and in our nation. And to change the law, for the law is a great teacher.

The pro-life movement is made up of individuals from many different faiths—and no faith at all. It is entirely possible to see abortion for what it is—the taking of an innocent human life—from a secular standpoint. The science tells the story.

But since Pope Francis and Jesus are in the news, it seems appropriate to address Catholic teaching on the subject of abortion. And the Catechism makes it clear, “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”

And that is because, as the Catechism earlier states, “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”

The teaching of the Catholic Church on the issue of abortion has not changed, because it is unchangeable.

What can change is our response—individually and collectively—to the plight of the unborn child and the mother who holds that child in her sacred womb. Our response, as Pope Francis said, should be a yes to life.

LifeNews.com Note: Maria Vitale is an opinion columnist for LifeNews.com. She is the Legislative Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.