Abortion issue: quantity or quality of life?

The abortion controversy hits the headlines again – and the Op-Ed pages. And again the emphasis is on women’s rights, versus the taking of innocent lives.

Doesn’t anyone consider the quality of life that the child may have if he/she is allowed to be born ? What if the child is unwanted or deformed or if she is the result of rape or incest? Will she have two mature, competent and wise parents, who are able to provide loving support? Do the parents know anything about child rearing, or are they prepared to take instruction? Is such instruction available? What about other family support and community resources? Do the parents have (or can they get) a family doctor? Do the parents have an adequate and secure income? What will happen if the parents separate?

It takes a tremendous amount of love and energy to raise a child to be healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally. If the parents – and particularly the mother – are not prepared for the challenge, the consequences for the child, the family and the community will be tragic.

Of course, there are elements of tragedy in every abortion. The mother particularly may be traumatized, guilt-ridden for life. Human life is precious, and must not be taken lightly – the community loves the child and grieves the loss, and God blends his tears with ours. No one wants pregnancies to end in abortions. But there are cases where an abortion is the lesser of two evils.

If we are to prevent abortion, we must support family life instruction in schools. Abortion must not be a substitute for contraception, and the means of contraception must be available. We all have a responsibility to provide the sort of community, the social services and the loving neighborliness that are needed if every child is to have the best possibility of quality living.

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