For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14)
Time is a gift given to us by God; how we choose to spend it is our gift to Him. I spend some of mine at an orphanage, just playing with the kids, looking after them and learning from them. In this particular home I visit, there are a number of kids ranging from new-borns to around six year olds, however my heart goes out to these two particular kids. One is a little boy with hydrocephalus(a condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain, typically in young children, enlarging the head and sometimes causing brain damage.) while the other is a new-born baby devoid of pupils and with a cleft palate(a congenital split in the roof of the mouth). The thing is, of all the perfectly formed children there, it is these two that bring the most joy to me and I often wonder, why would their parents give away such a bundle of joy? Then, I stop and consider the fact that maybe they couldn’t manage to bring up the child and I thank God that at least they brought the child into the world. But how many of us on seeing such children often wonder why the parents didn’t choose to abort the child instead, and save them from a life that we would consider to be one of misery?
Nowadays, we see a new trend catching on. Something called “Pro-choice” where we have the chance of choosing. Who would choose something that is already “defective“? Who would choose disability or illness? Who would choose a life that could result in struggles and hardships as opposed to one filled with giggles and joy?
When it comes to a foetus, we fail to see life in it and consider it as just a bunch of cells. However, what we do not realise is that from the moment of conception, the breath of life is within it and it is a child of God just like you and me, only vulnerable and defenceless.
The Church teaches,
“Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” (Donum vitae).
This requires us to guard the sanctity of life and does not give us the right to call the shots and to decide that some lives are not worth living, especially lives that will be full of pain and anguish. We claim to want to end those lives out of pure compassion, because in our wisdom, we believe we can judge for another human being exactly the point at which suffering outweighs all the joys of life. We however, forget to ask ourselves why it is acceptable to end the life of an unborn baby with a disability, when no one would condone ending the life of a 5 year old who suddenly acquired an infirmity.
Thinking of a child as a “choice” is a terrifying thought and ultimately leads to a culture that treats damaged, vulnerable or weak persons as disposable. That way of thinking, once inculcated will soon extend to the elderly and terminally ill. This thinking makes it acceptable to reject a daughter because we wanted a son or to “try again” when we would prefer a child without a scar on their lip.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it very clear that formal co-operation in an abortion constitutes a grave offence. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. ‘A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae’ ‘by the very commission of the offence’, and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law .The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. (CCC2272)
The question we need to ask ourselves today is: Will we be the ones to make a difference? To stand against the tide and say yes to being pro-life and to encourage others as well? Will we be the ones who choose life over everything that the world has to say to us?