You cannot choose what you want to do, all the time, unless it is a good choice, not just for you, but for those who love you, and for everyone else who might be directly impacted
by your selection. It is why God laid down the commandments, and gave us all His teachings. The greatest commandment is to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind'.[i]
We cannot do this by breaking any of the other nine commandments, but especially the fifth commandment. To kill is unacceptable. To kill an unborn baby is to destroy "...a being made in the image and likeness of God."
The other day I met a good friend for coffee. She told me that she had been at a session on the 8th amendment at the Fine Gael Conference in the Slieve Russel Hotel, and that she had put the following question to the people present:
death penalty was abolished in 1964 for all but the murder of Gardaí, diplomats and prison officers. It was abolished by statute for these remaining offences in 1990 and was finally expunged from the Constitution of Ireland by a referendum
It is my contention that those who campaign to repeal the eighth amendment to the constitution are in effect campaigning to have the death penalty returned, but only for vulnerable babies in the womb.
accused of the most vile murder is entitled to a fair trial with the best defence that is available. The level of protection available to those accused of murder will not apply
to an unborn baby.
As I see it, it is a very stark situation. Those who campaign for a woman’s right to choose are selective in how they portray their case. In reality what they
are asking for is that a woman should have the right to choose to kill her own baby.
As I said earlier it is stark and I will put that stark reality into four points:
The accused: A
vulnerable unborn baby
The crime: Being sick or disabled
The verdict: Guilty
The sentence: Death
by lethal injection.
If that shocks or appalls you, then think carefully before you cast your vote in any referendum to repeal the eighth.
My question is: are we doing enough to promote the pro-life side of the argument?
I was impressed with Anne's question. In parts of the world, at the time of writing, unborn children are sentenced to death because they are not wanted; the question of whether they are sick or disabled does not enter into it.[ii] It is a scenario which the strongest advocates for the abolishment of the 8th Amendment in this country will ultimately
achieve, if they are successful.
Anne's question gives a voice to the unborn person. From the moment of conception, a new life has begun, a tiny human is being formed in its mother's womb, made in the image and likeness of God. "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."[iii]
Society and "The
Seeking the right to terminate an unborn baby in the mother's womb, where God intended that it should be safe before it enters the world, is a clinical, cold-blooded, dismissive, and ultimate solution towards this most vulnerable
of souls. And 'man' has no qualms in distinguishing between what he defines as an embryo and a foetus when determining an extinction. To us, the tiny, vulnerable, developing person is simply, human life; and, with the
passage of time in our rapidly developing world, accepted 'standards' or guidelines are eventually challenged. At the same time, while certain sections of society seek the right to make a choice to terminate an unborn child, other members are desperate,
begging for more support to help them become parents:
The youngest baby ever born
Abortion is legal in England up to 24 weeks under the Abortion Act 1967. However, if there is
a substantial risk to the woman's life or fetal abnormalities, there is no time limit.[iv]
James Elgin Gill (born on 20 May 1987 in Ottawa, Canada) was the earliest premature baby in the world, until that record was broken in 2014. He was 128 days premature (21 weeks and 5 days gestation) and weighed 1 pound 6 ounces (624
g). He survived.[v] Ground-breaking advances by good, gifted men and women ensure the existence and survival of vastly premature
babies outside the mother's womb.
This week, a U.K. Doctor, Peter Thompson, stated his belief to an Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment, that he believed cases of Down’s Syndrome fulfilled a criteria
for abortion under British Law, depending on whether the heart is normal or abnormal.[vi]
The parents of baby Grace
McBreen were told by doctors that their daughter had a life-limiting condition and no chance of surviving to birth. They came under intense pressure from medical staff to abort her, but refused. Grace was born with Down’s Syndrome but is otherwise
Grace's parents were not the first to feel that they had been pressurised by medical staff into a choice of abortion because their babies were 'incompatible with life'. If abortion beliefs (let alone laws) become so embedded
in doctors' minds, with their gifted, eloquent, fact-based and perhaps forceful arguments, some desperate parents might well wilt in their determination to preserve their cherished dreams, being unaware or not being sufficiently informed of the supports available
to sustain the life of that being.
Fertility and Adoption issues
One in six couples struggle with fertility issues in Ireland. It is expected that the Government will commit to funding IVF treatments for couples unable to conceive
from 2019, under new proposals.[vii] Politicians heard at an Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, in June, that there are 14 times
more Irish people looking to adopt than there are children available.[viii]
Will to Preserve Life
This is a huge issue for the survival of man's body and soul. Some among you may have grown tired of all the arguments, for and against abortion. You may, in what you determine to be an act of "All Fairness"
decide that each individual should have the right to choose what to do with his or her body; and that it comes down to the question of giving each individual the right to that choice; and to allow that individual
to live with the consequences. But it is not that simple, as there are consequences for the 'parents', medical staff, support services, society and, the unborn child. You will also be overlooking perhaps the most important issue when deciding the
We are Christians, and we believe in God. All who do must abide by His laws, and not simply give them lip-service. You must do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves.[ix]
Given the freedom to choose is the essence of our dignity, a sacred and inalienable right. It is God's will. But He gives us that great power to perform good in His name, for there is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just.[x] Aligned inexorably with the freedom to chose the path of life are the Ten Commandments, written in God's hand, after the great liberating
event of the Exodus. They point out the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin: The Decalogue is a path of life.[xi]
The fifth of the commandments is stark in its equivocation: You shall not kill.[xii] God used four simple words to
direct man to save human life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church expands on the decree.[xiii] You are entitled to defend your
right to life but not if you do so by intentionally killing the innocent.[xiv] The fifth commandment forbids intentional homicide, abortion,
No one can change the Law. Jesus tells us that he has not come to abolish the law but to complete it. Matthew 5:17-19
"Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come
not to abolish but to complete them. In truth I tell you, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, is to disappear from the Law until all its purpose is achieved. Therefore, anyone who infringes even one of the least of these
commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of Heaven; but the person who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of Heaven."
We all have a tendency to worry but God clearly
tells us not to worry. Matthew 6:34
" So, do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself, each day has enough trouble of its own."
God gives us a golden rule as to how we should live. Matthew 7:12
"So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the Law and the Prophets."
God gives us a warning about people who are not living by the truth. Matthew 7:15
"Beware of false prophets who come to you
disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves".
Jesus lived for people, he spent a lot of his time healing and curing them. In Matthew’s Gospel, chapters 8 and 9, there are several accounts of hopeless cases, people who were seriously
sick and even possessed; but Jesus did not see these people as useless to society. He saw their true worth and helped them to live better lives. This should be the example we need to follow, to help unborn children no matter what defects they may
present with. All unborn babies should be given a chance to live and be helped to have a fulfilling life to the best of their ability.
All life is precious and must be preserved. Our choice on this issue is simple
and the full extract from James 1:22-25 guides us:
You must do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves.Anyone who listens to the word and takes no action is like someone who looks in a
mirror and once he has seen what he looks like, goes off and immediately forgets it. But anyone who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and keeps it, - not listening and forgetting, but putting it into practice, - will be blessed in every undertaking.
That we may use our free will to perform good in God's name, for there is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just
mothers will choose life and will be supported by family, friends and community in their decision to keep their child.
For all who have had abortions that they may experience the healing hand of God in their lives.
For all those who reaffirm
life and follow the true path; that they may continue to lead and inspire us
For all in positions of power that they may do what is God's holy will and not promote evil.
[i] Matthew 22:37
[vii] Irish Independent, October 3rd, 2017
The Journal, June 26th 2014
1733, pg 389, Sect 1, Article 3, Catechism of the Catholic Church
[xi] 2056, pg 448, Sect 2, The Ten Commandments,
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Pg 486-499; cf. Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11
[xiv] 2263, pg 487, Article 5, Sect 2, The Ten Commandments, Catechism of
the Catholic Church