Do You Even Need Religion to Oppose Abortion?

The following is Father Strebler's Pastor's Column for the weekend of September 23 & 24, 2023.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”—The Declaration of Independence. 

Dear Parishioners:

Last week we saw the theological foundations of our opposition to abortion, which is based on it being the taking of an innocent human life.  This week let’s look at some of the secular arguments for life in the womb.

When I was active with an old account on Facebook, I made a pro-life comment and someone responded, “Try doing science.”  I responded, “Ok, let’s do science:  The baby has an entirely different DNA from the mother, so the baby is not ‘just a part of the mother.’  ‘Where else in science does non-life suddenly become life?’”  I was immediately blocked, I was not answered.

It takes some machinations to deny that a unique life begins at conception.  An objective embryology book will admit that.  You sometime hear the argument that the embryo or fetus, both words used to avoid words like child or baby, is not a living human being.  Both words denote not things in themselves, but stages in human development—we all were once an embryo and a fetus.  There are different stages of development.  We look different at 6 days and 6 months and 6 years and 16 years, 36 years, and 86 years, but we are the same person.  We are the same person we were in our mother’s womb, from conception to zygote, to embryo to fetus, to born baby.  What a thing is after a baby leaves the womb it must be what it is in the womb, a human life.

One argument is that life in the womb cannot survive on its own.  A newborn cannot survive on its own without care from others.  It cannot feed itself.  Is a newborn child not worthy of care and protection? It is. So is the child in the womb.

Beyond the biological, I look to what our culture says.  I was struck when visiting the 9/11 memorial in NYC that in the list of the victims were several notes of “Name—and her unborn child.”  In the law, a drunk driver who kills a pregnant woman can be charged with two counts, one for the death of mother and one for death of the child. 

Who, upon hearing that they or their wife is pregnant announces, “We’re having a mass of cells.”?   No one.  We don’t have “possible life” showers, we have baby showers.  Our practice of life admits that there is a life in the womb of the mother. 

Some say that a baby is a part of the woman’s body.  If we saw a woman about to harm her body, I hope we would stop her.  If a woman went to a doctor and asked to have her functioning arm removed, would a responsible doctor do it?  If you would stop the injuring of a child outside the womb, you should stop the injuring of a child in the womb.   Why does the location of a human being take away that human being’s worth and right to life?

Most of the pro-choice (as in being pro-choice to have an abortion) people have to ignore the truth to justify taking the life of their own children.  This also causes great anguish later on.   For those who suffer with this, there is help.  See the bulletin for information on the Bethesda House of Mercy healing retreat.

Rev. Charles F. Strebler