Reflection on ABORTION


There are virtually no new sin on earth, we only have new forms of perpetuating the sin, and points in history when the evil is either at its high or low point. The evil of abortion is one of them. It can be traced back all through the history of mankind. But in our time, it has assumed ever more frightening proportions. It is the intent of this study to describe abortion, state its types, its morality, views on abortion with the Catholic Church’s view dominating.What is Abortion?
Abortion is the induced termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of surviving outside the womb (The New Dictionary of Theology, Joseph A. Komonchak et al. ed., p.2). Karl Peschke defines it as the removal of the non-viable embryo or fetus from the mother’s womb by human interventions whether by killing the human being before removal from the womb, or by the exposing the same to a certain death outside the womb (Christian Ethics, p. 334).
While no society has ever regarded abortion as something good or neutral in terms of ethical evaluation, its acceptance as an alternative to unwanted or risky pregnancy has an uneven history among civilized peoples. However, Mother Teresa of Calcutta holds that the poorest of the poor are the countries that accept abortion. Abortion has its origin right from the Greco-Roman world. Even though the New Testament does not explicitly mention abortion, the Old Testament does so, as in Exodus 21:22-25.
Types of Abortion
Abortion is direct when the ejection of the non-viable fetus in the womb is intended as the aim of the action or as a means to achieve this aim. On the other hand, it is indirect if the death of the fetus is merely permitted as a concomitant effect of a directly willed end. A good example is the death of a fetus caused by the removal of the cancerous uterus of a pregnant mother.
In addition to direct and indirect abortion, we have therapeutic abortion which is aimed at saving the mother at the expense of the fetus. This is a very controversial issue in the Church today.
Views or Problems of Abortion
A special problem is raised by the question as to when the animation of the fertilized ovum by a spiritual soul does not take place. That is the question of when life begins and this is the fundamental question of abortion. While some philosophers, especially Aristotle and following him Aquinas that the rational soul is infused into the body only after the fetus has reached a certain stage of development. Until then, the embryo is solely animated by a life of vegetative and animal nature. The contrary view and the one most plausible to the Church is the advocation of the theory of immediate animation at the moment of conception (Karl Peschke, Christian Ethics, p. 335).
The Morality of Abortion
The civil law, contrary to the stand of the Church argue that there are four indications upon which abortion is justifiable. First, where according to the judgement of the physician the expected offspring will be affected with serious defects. This is called the eugenic indication. Secondly, the criminological (ethical) indication is found when a pregnancy is due to rape. Thirdly, is the social indication which is when the child is considered too great a social or economic burden for the mother or the family. The fourth is the medical or the therapeutic indication that justifies abortion if the health of the mother is seriously threatened or even her life endangered because of pregnancy.

The Stand of the ChurchBased on the explicit and implicit condemnation of abortion by the scripture, the Church remains resolute in her condemnation of abortion and evil. Beginning with two first- century documents, Didache, the Epistle of Pseudo-Barnabas, the Church condemned abortion. The Didache states flatly that “you shall not kill the fetus by abortion, or destroy the infant already born” (New Dictionary of Theology, p.3). For The Pseudo-Barnabas (19:5), “one shall not slay the child by abortion.” Pope Pius IX in 1869 (Apostolicae Sedis) condemned abortion from the moment of conception as homicide and attached to the crime and ex-communication.
The stand of the Church culminated  in the decision of the Fathers of the Vatican II Council, who stated that “from the moment of conception life must guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 51). Pope Francis in an address to a group of 180 Vatican diplomats on 13th of January, 2014, at Rome described abortion as “horrific” and a symptom of a “throwing culture.”

ConclusionAbortion is evil and unjustifiable whatsoever. By abortion, what is meant here is direct and intended abortion. It is murder. However, much as some women believe that an abortion will resolve their plight, it more often than not lead them into encountering other difficulties and even worse ones. It is not plausible that when we need a child, the embryo is called “baby” but when we want to get rid of it, it is a “fetus.”