Summary: The controversy over abortion is deep and divisive. The only way to respond to it is with compassion and understanding.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
Historians use the term “Holocaust” to describe the systematic, state-sponsored murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were "life unworthy of life." During the era of the Holocaust, the Nazis also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority," for example Gypsies and Slavs. Other groups were persecuted on political and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. It is estimated that as many as 13 million people died in Hitler’s concentration camps.
Which leads us to ask: How could a civilized country allow that to happen? Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany, on promises of restoring German prosperity. He then proceeded to overthrown the Weimar Republic, seized all power, and became absolute dictator—all of which proves that having the right to vote and a republican form of government does not guarantee the freedom of the people.
But we want to think now about another Holocaust. This Holocaust is taking place right here, right now, in our own country.
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, approximately 1,370,000 abortions occur annually in the US.A This figure is at best an estimate because considerable numbers of doctors, clinics, and hospitals do not report abortions, so a conservative estimate is that at least 1.4 million abortions are performed every year in the USA. Nearly 4,000,000 babies are born in America every year. That means then well over one fourth of all babies conceived in America are killed by abortion.
Roe vs Wade
Let us look back for a moment. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its decision on Roe vs. Wade. “We need not resolve,” the court said, “the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at a consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to an answer.” In laymen’s terms, the court refused to decide when an embryo became a baby. But the Court’s non-decision was a decision in favor of upholding the state’s right to make abortion legal on demand.
Since that decision in 1973, well over 40 million abortions have been performed in the United States. To put that in perspective, 33 million more babies have died in American abortion clinics than Jews died in the holocaust in Germany.
Abortion is a difficult and controversial subject. Most people feel that in the extreme cases involving rape, incest, or health concerns for either the baby or the mother, abortion is acceptable, but all those extreme cases lumped together make up less than 10% of the abortions done in America. More than 90% of abortions are what we call abortions of convenience. For one reason or another, the woman just does not want a baby right now. In the case of a minor, the parents think she is too young to have a baby. Or, the woman feels that having a baby would disrupt her education or career. Or, the husband or boyfriend does not want a baby. Or, they think they cannot afford a baby. Of course, most people think they cannot afford a baby, but most people do not consider that a reason for killing the baby.
Abortion is an ugly, mean process not only because it kills a human being, or at least a potential human being, abortion is an ugly, mean process because it devalues and debases human life. The Second Vatican Council said, "Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction...all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator" (Gaudium et spes, 27).
Once, a long time ago, slavery was legal in this country. It was a vast system easily worth billions of dollars in today’s money. But we finally abolished slavery after a long and bloody Civil War, because we recognized that it was evil to treat human beings as property. It was, it is, evil to buy and sell people.