Christina Martin

‘I wish he’d never been born’: The misguided view of abortion as ‘mercy-killing’

Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
Image
Image

April 24, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - Emily Rapp is a writer, a devoted mother, and a left-leg amputee who was once a poster child for the March of Dimes. Her son Ronan is living with Tay-Sachs, a devastating rare genetic disease. I first heard of Emily in a disheartening Time magazine article titled “Why a Mother would have aborted her son.”

It sprang from a Slate article Emily wrote where she said, “I’m so grateful that Ronan is my child. I also wish he’d never been born; no person should suffer in this way—daily seizures, blindness, lack of movement, inability to swallow, a devastated brain—with no hope for a cure. Both of these statements are categorically true; neither one is mutually exclusive.” She continues later, “I love Ronan, and I believe it would have been an act of love to abort him, knowing that his life would be primarily one of intense suffering.”

I don’t question Emily’s love for her son. Her writings reveal a brave, caring mother who is deeply committed to her child. I sympathize with her family in their pain. At the same time, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that abortion can ever be an act of love. “Sparing” a child from suffering by taking his life is a popular but dangerous idea. Abortion is never a merciful or compassionate act. Although a parent may feel motivated to end her child’s pain, it doesn’t justify the violence and cruelty of abortion.

Click ‘like’ if you are PRO-LIFE!

This push toward abortion as a form of “mercy-killing” reminds me of African mothers who killed their children so they wouldn’t have to endure the torment of enslavement. Slavery was atrocious, but can you imagine the loss if Fredrick Douglas’s or Harriet Tubman’s mother had chosen to “spare” her child from the agony of life? Their endurance through suffering is what inspires us all.

Sara Carpenter was devastated when her doctor told her that the baby in her womb had spina bifida. She told Mail Online, “I tried to shake away the image I conjured in my head of a little boy, lonely and friendless, robbed of the most basic human functions.” After wrestling over her decision, Sara chose abortion stating, “I realized I couldn’t bring this child into the world, knowing the extent to which he would suffer. Andrew [my partner] and I talked long into the night, and finally agreed that ending the pregnancy was the kindest thing we could do for our son.”

Sara’s story caused me to think back to my college years. I was an assistant and friend to a young lady with spina bifida. We had interesting adventures together. I was just one of the people in her life who loved her. Though she faced physical difficulties, she was remarkably strong, determined, and personable. In some ways she had more experiences than I did. While I was single through most of college, she had more than one significant romantic relationship. She was not the picture of a “lonely and friendless” person. The kindest things her mother did were give birth to her and care for her with love.

Ninety percent of Down syndrome babies are murdered in the womb. Children are aborted for things as treatable as a cleft palate. Some doctors even argue that post-natal abortion and infanticide are merciful and morally acceptable. How far do we want to take this?

There are questions we must ask ourselves. What measure of suffering could ever warrant a babies death? What messages are we believing and communicating when we agree with aborting the weak? What is our definition of love, and how does that include suffering? How do disabled children bring beauty into our lives? What do we think of the children who were given a wrong prognosis or the ones who overcame negative ones?

Aimee Mullins‘ legs were amputated at birth. The doctor who delivered her told her parents that she would never walk. With the help of prosthetic legs, Aimee became an NCAA track star and a runway model. She travels the world speaking and is a spokesperson for L’Oréal makeup. She was named one of People Magazine‘s 50 most beautiful people.

Later in life, Amy ran into the doctor who gave her parents the tragic news. Over the years, he’d saved newspaper clips of all her accomplishments. He proudly told her, “You’ve made a liar outta me.”

Some babies will never accomplish what Aimee has, but they are still valuable simply because they are human. Tripp Roth was one of those little boys. His mother Courtney was a Reader’s Digest Hero of 2011. Tripp recently passed away from epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, a rare skin disease that caused him to be covered in blisters and sores. His disease wasn’t detected until after birth, but his case was so horrific that some encouraged her to “put him out of his misery.”

In an excerpt from her blog, Courtney wrote:

Tripp taught me love.  He taught me love like I’ve never known it before.  What I’ve learned most from him is unconditional love. A love so strong that nothing can break it, not even death.  A love that shines through pain, anger, and exhaustion, but also through times of complete joy and trust.  Tripp taught me that every day counts and every minute matters.  He loved me with his whole tired little heart every minute he was alive.  Never once while he was alive did I think that my job as a mom was hard.  I was doing what I was supposed to be doing- all I knew how to do, and all I wanted to do.  He led me through every day and every hour by showering me with love like I’ve never known before.

In a message to her son, she wrote, “I love you, my sweet little man and no one knows your heart like Mommy.  And NO ONE knows when you are ready to leave this Earth, except God.” Tripp’s life has ended, but Courtney is determined to keep fighting for a cure for EB.

The human experience is intermingled with pain. It’s necessary to show compassion towards those facing challenging and traumatic situations. We also must uphold our value for life, even in the face of grave suffering. The dignity of life should be protected at all costs. Accusing and judging parents as selfish is not the route we should take. Rather, we seek to call others to a truer understanding of mercy and a greater reality of loving kindness.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

Support hard-hitting pro-life and pro-family journalism.

Donate to LifeSite's fall campaign today


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Obama remakes the nation’s courts in his image

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins
Image

It has often been said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is President Obama's greatest achievement as president. However, that claim may soon take second place to his judicial nominees, and especially their effect on marriage in the United States.

In a new graphic, The Daily Signal notes that while President George W. Bush was able to get 50 nominees approved by this time in his second term, Obama has gotten more than 100 approved. According to The Houston Chronicle, "Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. When Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat."

Three of the five judges who struck down state marriage laws between February 2014 and the Supreme Court's Windsor decision in 2013 were Obama appointees, according to a CBS affiliate in the Washington, D.C. area. Likewise, the Windsor majority that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act included two Obama appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Obama has nominated 11 homosexual judges, the most of any president by far, says the National Law Journal.

Only one federal judge has opposed same-sex "marriage" since the Supreme Court's Windsor decision. He was appointed under the Reagan administration.

This accomplishment, aided by the elimination of Senate filibusters on judicial nominees, could affect how laws and regulations are interpreted by various courts, especially as marriage heads to a probable Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of state laws.

Democrats eliminated the filibuster for all judicial nominees except for Supreme Court candidates last year, saying Republicans were blocking qualified candidates for the bench. However, the filibuster was part of the reason Democrats were able to keep the number of approved Bush appointees so low.

The Supreme Court may hear multiple marriage questions in its 2015 cycle. 

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

, ,

Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook