I’m sure many of us as Catholics have been confronted by pro-choicers with arguments as to why a woman should ultimately have the right to choose if she wants an abortion or not.
I also know what the Church teaches on the subject and the reasoning she gives for her teaching.
I won’t pretend however, that I haven’t struggled internally, when being questioned by pro-choicers with arguments such as, ‘what about in cases or rape? What if the mother is going to die?’
I must admit, while I am able to refute their arguments with Church teaching, I do feel an inner conflict when doing so. I do accept the teaching, because I believe that choosing not to accept any Church teaching leads to a slippery slope of picking and choosing, ‘well I already don’t accept that, so why not also reject this?’
I find the rape argument in particular very hard to accept though. I think with the mother’s life being at risk, it’s also difficult, but the arguments for why the Church might be against it are easier to comprehend. If the mother dies in the process of giving birth, perhaps that was what God wanted? The mother sacrificed her life in order for the child to live. God took the mother into heaven where she can look down at her child etc. It was part of the plan and of course, while we might find that hard to understand from a worldly perspective, it makes sense from a Godly perspective, which we cannot comprehend, or at least not yet.
With rape we are essentially saying, a man committed a terrible act of violence against a woman and she must give birth to and raise the fruit of this act of violence and violation, even though doing so may continue to remind of her of the horrendous act itself and cause her serious psychological pain. Yes, life is God given and begins at conception, but God can also choose not to allow a women to become pregnant when such an act occurs (and yet he doesn’t do it). If a woman becomes pregnant from an act of rape, it feels as though it’s completely against God’s plan of how children are to be brought into this world. Forcing the woman to have the child just seems so incredibly cruel. The child has come about, not because a woman planned it within the confines of a family, or even because she wasn’t being careful (and her carelessness doesn’t give her the right to end a life) but because somebody else violated her personal freedom. For me it’s almost impossible to understand from an earthly perspective. Actually sometimes I don’t think it is possible to understand for us humans.