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The strange morals of the abortion industry

A U-Haul sits in fr of Knoxville's "Volunteer Women's Medical Center," an abortuary which closed last week.
A U-Haul sits in fr of Knoxville's "Volunteer Women's Medical Center," an abortuary which closed last week.
Diocese of Knoxville

Tennessee Right to Life and other pro-life activist groups revealed that because of a new Tennessee law which requires that doctors who perform abortions at so-called “clinics” should have hospital emergency room admitting privileges, a Knoxville abortuary has been forced to close its doors. While pro-life activists and all people who care about human dignity can be justifiably proud when such a victory is achieved, this writer’s research for a political article about this development revealed a far more disturbing trend-the language used to describe abortion by those who advocate and perform this terrible holocaust has become even more non-descript than it used to be.

Abortionists have never referred to the unborn child as “a baby” since doing so would underscore the fact that the little one growing inside of a woman’s uterus is actually a human being. However, in examining the website of the facility which closed, we find some most interesting descriptions of surgical abortions-descriptions like this:

The abortion procedure used at this clinic is called vacuum aspiration. This procedure is the most commonly used and is very safe. Complications are rare. The doctor will do a routine pelvic exam and numb the cervix with a local anesthetic. The cervix is the entrance to the uterus and will be gently dilated to about the diameter of a ball point pen for an early abortion. A small tube called a canula will be inserted into your uterus. Gentle suction will remove the pregnancy. This usually takes 60-90 seconds.

Some years ago, abortionists used to make statements such as “remove the fetus” rather than “remove the pregnancy.” Fetus is a latin word which roughly translates as “little one.” Abortionists quickly figured out that referring to the growing child as a fetus gives away the reality that it is a growing human life. Even more ethically and morally disturbing is this description of a second trimester aborticide:

For second trimester pregnancies the cervix will be dilated to about the size of your middle finger and a combination of suction and sterile instruments will be used to empty the uterus.

Empty the uterus? It sounds as though the abortionists are removing some sort of uterine cancer by this description, rather than a human being made in the image and likeness of God. Of course there are some abortionists who, for whatever reason, have no attacks of conscience whatsoever about the lives they are taking or helping to take, and it is this lack of a conscience that we see most clearly in a description of her work by the owner of the facility which closed (note that the website where was is posted is now down, after it was widely circulated yesterday).

The clinic has been open for 38 years and I have worked there for over 30 years. I still remember the name of the first patient I took care of on the day I started, and I remember the answer an eleven year old girl gave when, after days of counseling, I asked her what she wanted to do. She said "I just want to go ride my new bicycle". No kidding baby girl. So many images remain of the strength of women.......the day we looked out the front window and saw an Appalachian woman we'd just discharged pushing an electric blue Corvette Sting Ray fast enough that her husband could pop the clutch and start the engine.......the coal miner's daughter that was full term and about to go into labor but swore it couldn't be true because no one had ever been "up on" her.......the sorority girl that said she got pregnant by trying on her friend's diaphragm that "must have had sperm on it"......the woman I brought back to life when she stopped breathing who later told us she had withheld critical medical history from us because she was afraid we wouldn't let her have an abortion if she told us the truth......all the Catholic women who had abortions over and over again because taking a birth control pill every day added up to more sins than a few abortions a year.

Firstly, note that this is the owner of this facility-she has no problem with some of the most poor, the most vulnerable, the most isolated, the most alone, and the most marginal people in society coming to her clinic and having the staff their kill their unborn children (while apparently attempting to sanitize what was happening so that they didn’t fully grasp what was going on). She made her livelihood by profiting from the pain and suffering of women and the death of children, and here seems proud of that reality. As a personal note, this writer has added the personal conversion of Ms. Deb Walsh-that’s this lady’s name-to my prayer list, and I’ll be praying for her every day from now on. She and all people involved in the holocaust of abortion need our prayers.

Ms. Walsh’s statement about the number of Catholic women who come seeking abortions because they mistakenly believe that they are committing a greater sin, or more numerous sins, by utilizing artificial contraception is very disturbing. If there is truth to it, then the onus is on the Catholic community to teach more clearly just what the Church’s teaching is on aborticide and contraception, and that means that Catholic clergy need to be preaching about it on Sunday. On the issue of abortion, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear that those who not only procure abortion, but those who participate in it are guilty of a most grave offense:

From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.

Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. 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 offense," 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.

Artificial contraception is also a sinful act, but that is because it distorts the very meaning and purpose of the sexual act, which exists as the means God gave to humanity to procreate. When we contracept, the Catholic Church teaches that neither man nor woman are opening themselves up fully to either God’s plan for humanity or to each other, and the full nature of married love.

Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.

The great question for Catholics and for other people of conscience is this: Has the Church done enough to explain and reinforce her teachings about the dignity and value of every human life to parishioners in the pew on a regular basis, and if she has not, what should be done?


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