I just read a post entitled “Pro-Choice need not apply?” and started to have some questions of my own. The person who asked the questions referred to stuggling with pro-life politics and how that comes into contact with our faith as Catholics, and I find myself in the same boat.
I have long described my pro-life/pro-choice politics with this phrase: “I’m pro-life, but that’s my choice.” As an American Catholic, I have never been able to reconcile legislating any issue with only my faith as at the root of why. Personally, I can’t stomach the idea of abortion, and as a few my friends from high school and college who have come to me in crisis to tell me that they were pregnant, I have strongly asserted the baby’s right to live when I encouraged them to carry the child to term and–if they did not have to raise the child themselves–to find a family who would be able to.
But, as an American, I also know and understand that my values are not the same values that everyone else has. God gave us the freedom of choice–and the responsibility of the consequences that go with those choices. Not everyone feels that abortion is morally objectionable; for example, my athiest brother; Islam even recognizes circumstances in which abortion is–to them, at least–permissible. So, how can we legislate our faith, codify it into law?
In my heart, I feel that to force everyone to choose life, to remove their rights as humans and as citizens to choose for themselves between right or wrong would be the same as forcing my athiest brother to come to Mass every day: my brother, as well as the countless people who choose abortion, do know the consequences of their actions and of their own free willare choosing wrong.
Am I wrong to think that we shouldn’t force faith and values on people who don’t want it? Doesn’t it degrade their own humanity by not letting them choose freely, just as we all have *chosen freely *to accept Christ?