Despite the “choice” rhetoric of abortion advocates, the unborn child has no voice and no choice and is at the mercy of what adults choose to do to him or her, said Irish bishop Kevin Doran in a pastoral letter released this week.
“When it comes to the right to choose, there is a tendency to forget that there is another person involved; a vulnerable person who has no choice and who depends entirely on others for protection,” wrote Doran, the bishop of the Elphin diocese. “If society accepts that one human being has the right to end the life of another, then it is no longer possible to claim the right to life as a fundamental human right for anybody.”
The bishop’s strong words came as debate over abortion is heating up in Ireland in the lead-up to an important referendum over the eighth amendment of the Irish Constitution that guarantees the rights of the unborn child, while also recognizing its humanity.
“We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life,’” the bishop said, noting that “we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.”
There is a “growing awareness” in Irish society of our shared responsibility to cherish the gift of life, he said, which makes it “difficult to understand why anyone would suggest that abortion should be legalised.”
In his letter, Bishop Doran takes on the slogans of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, stripping away the veil of reasonableness from their demagoguery.
“Abortion has nothing to do with healthcare,” he wrote. “There is nothing in the job-description of your family doctor that would suggest, even for a moment, that he or she should be involved in taking human life.”
From a Christian perspective, the bishop notes that the earliest pages of Scripture offer “a deep awareness of God as the one who calls us into life and into relationship with him, ‘who forms us in our mother’s womb’ (Ps. 139) and who chooses us ‘to live through love in his presence’ (Eph. 1), which is why the Christian Church has condemned abortion since the very beginning.
Citing Pope Benedict XVI, Doran said: “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”
Modern embryology makes it clear that “there is no conflict between faith and reason,” the bishop wrote. “The new human being which will be born as your baby after nine months, begins at fertilisation. The genetic identity of the new child is already there from the very beginning. Everything else is simply natural development.”
“Most people I meet seem to be quite clear that the unborn child is indeed a human baby,” he said. In our desire to be compassionate toward women who find themselves in difficult situations there must be a better solution than ending the life of the child, he suggests.
The prelate also notes how easily the acceptance of abortion leads to a diminishment in the appreciation for human life more generally.
“A number of EU member states have already legalized euthanasia,” he said. “I am convinced that if we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of frail elderly people and people with significant disability. This is the final frontier. If we cross it, there will be no easy way back.”
The bishop also challenges the faithful to be responsible in their vote in the referendum, reminding them of the gravity of abortion, even in the name of “compassion.”
“Some well-meaning people may consider voting to remove the 8th amendment for the sake of compassion, but if the intention of that vote is that human babies would be aborted, I would ask: ‘how can that not be gravely sinful, since it is so clearly in conflict with the truth?’”
“Politics is not just for politicians,” he said. “Politics is the art of good government and, in a democracy, we all have our part to play in government. So talk to your politicians, or write to them, and make clear to them that you want them to defend the right to life of the unborn.”