Rorate Caeli

ABORTION AND POLITICS - by Archbishop Héctor Agüer

      April 17, 2024

The question of abortion continues to be an important object of debate in many countries. The worldwide wave of approval of the "abominable crime", as the Second Vatican Council called it, is driven by feminist movements, progressive sectors, and the left in the nations; and "Catholic" groups, which submit to the neo-pagan conception of life, supported by alleged anti-human "rights", and contrary to the Law of God.

Recently, in France, the Senate voted in favor of the amendment "guaranteeing freedom of access to abortion" in the Constitution. On Wednesday, February 28, 267 senators out of a total of 317 voted for the constitutional reform bill, in the same terms already expressed in the National Assembly. Only 50 senators opposed the text, which was adopted on Monday, March 4, during a Congress convened in Versailles. That text proposes to add paragraph number 17 to Article 34 of the Constitution, promulgated on October 4, 1958, which will provide: "The law determines the conditions under which the freedom guaranteed to women to have recourse to voluntary termination of pregnancy is exercised." Let us note the euphemism used to designate the elimination of the unborn child, and the perverse conception of freedom, condemned by the doctrine of the Church, as eloquently taught by John Paul II. 

 Whatever the difficulties a pregnant woman may face, abortion, which remains an attack on life in its origins, cannot be seen from the point of view of "women's human rights", as feminism preaches. The situation in France is contradictory: numerous forms of violence against women and children are coming to light; the Constitution should assume the protection of some, and others. At the other extreme, it promotes "assisted suicide" for the terminally ill. The government of the Freemason Emmanuel Macron makes present the sinister side of French culture, which does not recognize the value of human life and the true meaning of freedom.

         The situation in the United States, a seriously federal country, is quite different. Although President Joe Biden is an abortionist "Catholic", legislation respectful of the life of the unborn child is passed in several states. In some cases, old anti-abortion laws are being revived. This is the situation, for example, in Arizona: the Supreme Court of that jurisdiction recently ruled that the State can implement its 1864 law, which criminalizes all types of abortions, with the sole exception of when the mother's life is at risk. Political position plays a key role; Democrats, in general, are pro-abortion, while Republicans are in favor of protecting the life of the unborn child. In the case of Arizona, the Attorney General, Democrat Kris Mayes, protested in open disagreement with her predecessor, Republican Mark Brnovich, who as soon as the federal Supreme Court overturned, in 2022, the "Roe v. Wade" ruling, which guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion, persuaded a state magistrate in Tucson to reinstate the old law, which would take effect in fourteen days, and was described as "cruel" by President Biden. Most states governed by Republicans began to implement new bans, or restrictions (in 14 states abortion is prohibited at all stages of pregnancy, with limited exceptions), while in many of those led by their political opponents they have tried to protect abortion rights. President Biden has rebuked the Arizona decision, calling it "an extreme and dangerous ban. Supporters of the "right" to abortion often appeal to the tragic cases of rape or incest.

         A topic of discussion in the United States is the criminalization of women who have abortions. Catholic pro-life leaders say they should not be punished. More than 70 pro-life leaders, including Archbishop William Lori, who heads the U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life Committee, demand that state legislators refuse to criminalize women who have abortions: "We state unequivocally that any measure that seeks to criminalize, or punish women is not pro-life, and we strongly oppose such efforts." The initiative is contained in a May 12, 2021, letter to state legislators, and comes as states such as Louisiana were considering legislation that could subject women who obtain abortions to criminal prosecution, and imprisonment. The Charter is careful to say that in every abortion there are two victims: both the mother and the unborn child; "making criminals out of women who have abortions is not the way." This position should be discussed; the seriousness of anti-abortion legislation is at stake. If abortion is considered a crime, it is not clear why women who have abortions should not be penalized. It is true that many situations are difficult, and painful; these should be taken into account in assessing responsibility. 

A number of organizations, many of them Catholic-led, offer healing and hope to women harmed by the abortion they have committed. Just as the Catholic Church condemns abortion, it also emphasizes the importance of forgiveness, and mercy for women who have had abortions. Those of us priests who have experience of the confessional know very well the pain of many women, which is difficult to console. It is a pity that so many young women give in to abortionist arguments, in a display of superficiality in the face of what is a real drama: the irreparable damage caused to the innocent, who is condemned to death, as well as to the parents, and to society as a whole. This is the place to exalt the freedom of choice of parents who decide, even in difficult situations, to keep their child.

Returning to the situation in France, it is necessary to highlight the case of several bishops who have publicly pronounced themselves on the outcome of the vote on abortion, the Archbishop of Lyon, Mgr. Olivier de Germay, stressed the difficulty of expressing oneself on this subject without running the risk of becoming a target of the media. Archbishop Pascal Wintzer, Archbishop of Poitiers, lamented in the daily "La Croix" that "death seems more protected than life is encouraged". The bishops of France had already expressed their opposition to the text of the constitutional amendment, at their November 2023 assembly, in a declaration entitled "Every life is a gift".

And Argentina? The Kirchnerist regime gave in to the advance of ultra-feminism, and enacted Law No. 27,610 of December 30, 2020, which establishes that induced abortion is legal and free, in the cases authorized since 1921 (therapeutic abortion, and in case of rape), or in all other cases when the gestation does not exceed 14 weeks, inclusive. How many unborn children will have been eliminated since then, with political approval? Abortionists always exaggerate the figures to make believe that it is something normal and necessary, but, in any case, the legal authorization is an incitement, and a means of pressure on the culture and the common mentality of society.

The current government should be encouraged to extend its liberal and libertarian character to the case of abortion, and repeal the sinister law 27.610. The Argentine Episcopate, so concerned about the problem of poverty, should request it, and extend its concern to the poorest of the poor, the unborn children.

+ Héctor Agüer
Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata