Friday, May 22, 2009

Comments Revisited

Matt asked in the comments below:  

"Hi, Joseph. I actually felt a little guilty for having to think about that example for a few seconds before continuing with the rest of your entry :-).

But yeah, I had like a two-hour with someone up at college about this, and he brought up the whole rape thing, and I told him basically what you said here. He just kept talking very rapidly and laughing at me. His argument went something like this:

"I don't think we should let women have abortions, but I think it's going too far to make abortions illegal."

At that point, I considered myself the winner.

But I have a question for you. What about the life/death scenario pro-abortionists are so gung ho on? I don't really know enough about abortion to make a decision. I mean, if both the mother and child would die during the pregnancy or giving birth, I could perhaps see how abortion might be justified. Also, I would think if it's just a situation to where only the mother would die, she would probably be obligated to give birth to the child. But I'm whether those situations ever come up or not. What do you think?"

The point of the matter is, however, that we can never truly foresee when someone will or will not die.  We must take ALL possible steps to save both the mother and the child, because neither life is worth more than the other.  Instead of giving up and forfeiting one life or the other, we should instead press ahead taking every precaution possible to prevent either life from being lost.  I will conclude with this article from Catholic Apologetics which quotes Pope Pius XII:

"I  What if the life of the mother or of the child to be born is in danger?

"Never and in no case has the Church taught that the life of the child must be preferred to that of the mother.  It is erroneous to put the question with this alternative: either the life of the child or that of the mother.  No, neither the life of the mother nor that of the child can be subjected to an act of direct suppression.  In the one case as in the other, there can be but one obligation: to make every effort to save the lives of both, of the mother and of the child.

It is one of the finest and most noble aspirations of the medical profession to search continually for new means of ensuring the life of both mother and child.  But if, notwithstanding all the progress of science, there still remain, and will remain in the future, cases in which one must reckon with the death of the mother, when the mother wills to bring to birth the life that is within her and not destroy it in violation of the command of God - Thou shalt not kill - nothing else remains for the man, who will make every effort till the very last moment to help and save, but to bow respectfully before the laws of nature and the dispositions of divine Providence."  Pius XII, Allocution to Large Families, November 26, 1951. (15)"


Matt Watson said...

Thanks, Joseph. So just let me get this straight in my head. You are saying there is no situation in the course of a pregnancy and giving birth where it is known with absolute certainty that if the child is not killed, both the child and the mother will die. Correct?

~Joseph the Worker said...

Well, I'm obviously not a medical doctor, so I can't say anything about that. I have no idea how often things happen, but it also depends on the definition of absolute certainty - I'm not sure that anything in the world happens with absolute certainty. I think the idea here is that we must not forsake the possibility of saving life and must never do anything where we might be harming life.