Aborting unborn babies sometimes is a “pro-life answer,” a Catholic blogger argued this week, basing his claim on a misrepresentation of the pro-life movement.
On his blog A Little Bit of Nothing, Henry Karlson, who identifies as a Byzantine Catholic, asserted that abortions can be morally acceptable under Catholic teachings and pro-life.
Karlson began by rightly pointing out that the term abortion can mean different things in medical terminology, but he quickly went wrong with his mischaracterization of pro-life laws.
“Technically speaking, a miscarriage is an abortion, and so if laws are written which penalize women who have had abortions, those who suffer a miscarriage can be (and have been) penalized by such laws,” he wrote.
Fearmongering abortion activists make similar claims about pro-life laws, but they are not true. Pro-life legislation does punish women for miscarriages – or even elective abortions. Nor does the pro-life movement, which includes millions of women, want to.
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Historically and consistently, the pro-life movement supports laws that penalize abortionists but not mothers. Pro-life leaders recognize that women often are second victims of the profit-driven abortion industry. Their desire is to help women, not punish them.
What’s more, pro-life laws include exceptions for the rare cases when a mother’s life is at risk – something Karlson addressed next. He argued that abortions that intentionally end the life of an unborn baby also can be “pro-life” because they save mothers’ lives.
Catholic teaching allows medical procedures used to save the life of a mother due to some danger, such as cancer, or an ectopic pregnancy, which results with the unintended consequence of the termination of the pregnancy and the death of the fetus. Since it is the result of a medically induced procedure, even if it is not the intended or desired result of that procedure, it would still qualify as an abortion …
If [abortions are made illegal], then what is morally permissible would likewise be forbidden. The life of the mother would be shown to be without value according to the letter of the law. And it would prove that the law is not about preservation of life, about promoting morality, but rather, it would show that the law is about control even as it undermines the value of the life of the pregnant woman.
But this is a non issue. Pro-life laws include exceptions for these rare circumstances, and the reason is precisely because pro-lifers recognize that both the mother and her unborn child are valuable.
Karlson concluded his post by arguing against pro-life laws as a means of protecting life and for better social support services for women.
“The more we focus on doing good for others, helping people out of difficulties, the more society helps women in need, abortions will decline,” he wrote, “while, on the other hand, the more we try to control women, the more we undermine the value of life, the more we engage legalism over compassion, we find abortion itself becomes much more common.”
Karlson’s desire to help people and prevent abortions is good, and pro-lifers share that desire. Saving babies and protecting mothers through legislation is a goal of the pro-life movement – and even abortion activists admit that pro-life laws do prevent abortions – but it is not the only way the movement is working to save lives.
Pro-lifers run thousands of charities that support women and children, including pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, adoption agencies, post-abortion healing programs and even an organization to help abortion workers quit their jobs and find meaningful employment.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, pregnancy resource centers served almost 2 million people in 2019, providing more than 730,000 pregnancy tests, nearly half a million ultrasounds, 1.3 million packs of diapers and more than 2 million baby outfits.
Pro-lifers also stand on the sidewalks outside abortion facilities to offer compassionate information and hope to mothers who may think abortion is their only option. They run hotlines and throw baby showers, set up education tables at local fairs and festivals and much more – all because they believe that every life, including women and children, are valuable.