Going beyond ‘abortion kills babies’

By Pedro Mendez

Connecting Faith and Life

First and foremost, I am aware that abortion is a sensitive issue for those who directly or indirectly may have cooperated in it. We know that God’s mercy is unconditional, and his healing power is limitless. It is my prayer that God may heal the wounds that their participation might have left in their soul.

The idea of writing about abortion started in 2015 when I saw a sign saying: “Abortion kills babies.” I had read similar signs before, but something from that sign drew me to think deeper about abortion. What is missing in that statement is reference to the person(s) involved in the act. It is easier to place the responsibility on the procedure itself than on those who perform it. Putting things in perspective helped me to have an insight into the spiritual dynamic in an abortion.

While it is true that abortion is the act of killing a baby, it is important to not lose sight of its personal dimension: in abortion, people kill babies. What makes a person kill an unborn baby? We might avoid the temptation of condemning so quickly the person who kills an unborn baby since only God knows the person’s spiritual, psychological, emotional and physical motivations. Only God knows the person as a whole. From the outside, we do not.

However, with the Church, we proclaim that the act itself of killing an unborn baby is a crime (CCC 2271, 2272). The exception is when the intended effect is not to kill the baby, but to save the mother’s life. So, what are some of the spiritual dynamics behind the intentional act of killing an unborn baby?

First, there is a deep lack of good infecting the person’s intellect. This lack of good is so powerful that it moves the person against God and against the unborn baby, who is taking form out of the parents’ own flesh. It distorts God’s beautiful gifts of freedom and autonomy. We become our authentic selves as we freely allow God to shape us into the people he intended us to be – people able to love him and love one another.

At the root of this lack of good is the ancient serpent, Satan, playing the same old trick by which he tempts our intellects (Genesis 3:5). Satan deceives us by making us believe that we, as individuals and society, can be “like God”' and, therefore, be the lords of our lives without God (i.e. self-determination without God).  God, instead of being our fulfillment, becomes our personal and societal enemy. As a result, sinful pride pervades the most influential aspects of society – including politics, religion, and family. We are not evil; we are good people committing evil acts.

The only solution to destroy the power of evil – Satan and his old tricks – is Jesus Christ (Col 2:13-15). We humans have no power to defeat this horrendous crime. But Jesus does. To be sure, all our efforts – spiritually, ecclesially, politically, and socially – must be immersed, motivated and empowered by Jesus Christ crucified. In this battle, we are naive and like clashing cymbals if we rely solely on human efforts. What can we do?

  • We need to live the power of Jesus’ cross and resurrection in our own lives.
  • We can always proclaim, without hesitation, God’s mercy, refuge and healing to those who have been involved in killing an unborn baby. Do you need Jesus? Come to him!
  • We parents need to fully embrace the responsibility of teaching our children how to always choose God and reject sin/Satan amid so much distraction and substitutes for goodness, and to educate our kids on the dignity of human life from God’s perspective.
  • Our parishes need to continue exploring effective programs to teach our children about the beauty of life, sexuality and marriage, and the threats they will find in a society that has distorted God’s original plan.
  • We need to bring this conversation to our pews and parish groups. This is not the work of just the pro-life movements.

Remember, abortion is always personal and spiritual! What is our part to end this crime?