I had the rare opportunity to converse with a woman this week who told me she was just beginning to accept the pro-life message, but had some questions that were bothering her about personal choice. Great questions, and I'd like to share the answers with you, my dear reader, for the sake of your pro-life work, study or consideration. (Wording of the questions has been altered for the sake of confidentiality.)
Why do people think they have the right to interfere with a person's actions or decisions?
First of all, Christian charity and duty requires us to be concerned for the good of every person. Abortion is not only a sin against a child, but also a sin against the mother, father and all of society. "Interfering with the choice" of another person is only valid if the choice a person is about to make affects no one but him/herself. However, the choice to abort is different. It affects many others. In addition, many women do not realize the harm they bring to themselves by the act of abortion. Furthermore, many women are coerced into abortion, which makes the defense against this sin all the more necessary.
Why can't pro-life activists just understand that abortion is a personal decision to be made according to one's own conscience?
The Church does teach that each individual has free will and that decisions ought to be made according to one's conscience. There is a catch, however, in that a person must have a well-formed conscience, and that "free will" ends when the rights of others begin. In the book of Genesis, Cain killed Abel, his brother, and to his defense, Cain asks God "Am I my brother’s keeper?" Many misunderstand this comment to think that each individual lives in a vacuum, but that reality is quite the opposite. God's response is not simply "Yes, you are your brother's keeper," but punishes Cain sufficiently for his sin.
The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
This is a punishment that is "more than [he] can bear," and he laments over his sin in these words: "Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." This story demonstrates the responsibility we have for all our fellow human beings.
Why should a politician be supported when all he wants to do is restrict access to abortion regardless of his personal views on the matter?
First of all, if a politician is "restricting access to abortion" against his own convictions, that means he is doing it for the sake of his constituents. That's wonderful! We want politicians who listen to the people they represent!
With that said, questions regarding political responsibility go hand-in-hand with the above explanation. It is the responsibility of our elected officials to defend the life of all, especially the most defenseless- the unborn and the elderly. But, through "restricting access to abortion" politicians also help pregnant women who often do not have the support or resources during a difficult pregnancy. The abortion industry preys on these women to make money, and this leads to catastrophic consequences, as is evidenced in the extensive research done by post-abortion awareness groups. You may be interested in reading testimonies from women who aborted, and there are thousands of these available from Priests for Life.