The crime and absolute evil of abortion


One of the current subjects that is cropping up in our country is abortion. We know what abortion is and stands for: the brutal killing of an innocent human being who has not been let to be born like you and me.

We, Maltese and Gozitans, love to death our children. And rightly so! In fact, we do everything that is possible for us to do in order to see and guarantee that our kids grow healthy in every aspect of their lives. Adding to this, the majority of us, Maltese and Gozitans, have great love, respect and trust in Pope Francis since we regard him as doing what he convincingly preaches. Pope Francis is in our hearts. And, this Pope Francis that we claim to treasure has a lot to teach us on how we have to think, discuss and decide on this hotly discussed issue. Here are some of his speeches concerning this much-debated subject.

In a letter to the Pontifical Academy for Life for its 25th Anniversary, which bears the date of January 6, 2019, Pope Francis writes: “The scientific community of the Pontifical Academy for Life has demonstrated, over the past twenty-five years, its ability to enter into this dialogue and to offer its own competent and respected contribution. A sign of this is its constant effort to promote and protect human life at every stage of its development, its condemnation of abortion and euthanasia as extremely grave evils that contradict the Spirit of life and plunge us into the anti-culture of death”. From this letter it clearly emerges that for Pope Francis abortion is an extremely grave evil that contradicts the Spirit of life.

Other Papal pronouncements keep insisting on this point. In his speech to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, which carries the date of Monday, 13 January 2014, the Holy Father said: “Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary.’ For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.” Here, abortion is being presented by the Pope as one of the tangible examples of the throwaway culture we are living in.

In his press conference aboard papal flight from Mexico to Rome, of February 19, 2016, Pope Francis said: “Abortion is not a ‘lesser evil’. It is a crime… It is a crime, it is absolutely evil. Regarding a ‘lesser evil’: preventing pregnancy is one thing — we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the 5th and 6th Commandments. The great Paul VI, in a difficult situation in Africa, allowed nuns to use a form of artificial contraception amid the violence. It is important not to confuse the evil of preventing pregnancy, in itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological issue: it is a human issue, it is a medical issue. One person is killed in order to save another — in the best case scenario — or in order to live comfortably. It is against the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take. It is an evil in and of itself. It is not a ‘religious’ evil, to start with, no, it is a human evil. Evidently, as it is a human evil — like all killing — it is condemned. On the other hand, preventing pregnancy is not an absolute evil, and in certain cases, such as the one I mentioned of Bl. Paul VI, it was clear. Moreover, I would exhort the doctors to do everything possible to find vaccines against this disease which is carried by two mosquitos: this has to be elaborated”. Here, abortion is openly defined as a crime, an absolute evil.

In the case of those who, perhaps, do not give much importance to what Pope Francis stands for and says, a higher authority than him, the Word of God, the Bible, which he incessantly proclaims, keeps sending to us the same message that abortion is an extremely grave offence against God and the human person’s inherent dignity. For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb (Ps 139:13). Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations (Jer 1:5). Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb? (Job 31:15). Upon thee was I cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me thou hast been my God (Ps 22:10). Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you (Isa 49:15). Now I understand why the Catholic Church, in her Catechism, rightly advocates: “Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a ‘criminal’ practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law” (no. 2322).

Let us not forget what Mother Teresa of Calcutta, another saint we Maltese and Gozitans love and admire so much, teaches us on this subject: “Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.” “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion”. As a result, “any country that accepts abortion is the poorest of the poor”.

Thus is the crime and absolute evil of abortion.