Featured Image
A young Héctor AguerArchbishop Héctor Aguer

(LifeSiteNews) — The issue of abortion continues to be a frequent topic of discussion in many countries. The worldwide wave of approval for the “abominable crime,” as the Second Vatican Council called it, is driven by feminist movements, progressive groups, and the left in the United States, as well as “Catholic” groups which submit to a neo-pagan conception of life supported by alleged anti-human “rights” and contrary to the law of God.

Recently in France, the Senate voted in favor of a constitutional amendment “guaranteeing freedom of access to abortion.” On Wednesday, February 28, 267 senators out of a total of 317 voted for the constitutional reform bill in the same terms expressed in the National Assembly. Only 50 senators opposed the text, which was adopted on Monday, March 4, during a congress convened in Versailles. That text added paragraph number 17 to Article 34 of the Constitution, promulgated on October 4, 1958: “The law determines the conditions by which is exercised the freedom of women to voluntarily terminate a pregnancy, which is guaranteed.”

Let us note the euphemism used to designate the elimination of the unborn child and the perverse conception of freedom condemned by the doctrine of the Church, as eloquently taught by St. John Paul II. Whatever difficulties a pregnant woman may face, abortion remains an attack on life in its origins and cannot be seen from the viewpoint of the “human rights of women,” as feminism preaches. The situation in France is contradictory: numerous forms of violence against women and children are coming to light; the Constitution should assume the protection of some (and others). At the other extreme, France is promoting “assisted suicide” for the terminally ill. The government of Emmanuel Macron, who once praised the Freemasons, has taken on the sinister side of French culture, which neither recognizes the value of human life nor the true meaning of freedom.

The situation in the United States, a seriously federal country, is quite different. Although President Joe Biden is a pro-abortion “Catholic,” laws respecting the life of the unborn child have been passed in several states. In some cases, old pro-life laws are being revived. This is the situation, for example, in Arizona, where the state Supreme Court recently ruled that officials can implement its 1864 law that bans all types of abortions, with the sole exception of when the mother’s life is at risk.

Political position plays a key role: in general, Democrats are pro-abortion, while Republicans favor protecting the life of the unborn child. In the case of Arizona, Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, protested in open disagreement with her Republican predecessor, Mark Brnovich, who, as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, persuaded a state magistrate in Tucson to reinstate the old law, which would take effect in 14 days and was described as “cruel” by President Biden. Most states governed by Republicans began to implement new bans or restrictions (in 14 states abortion is prohibited at all stages of pregnancy with limited exceptions), while many of those led by their Democrat rivals have tried to protect access to abortion. Biden has rebuked Arizona’s decision, calling it “an extreme and dangerous ban.” Supporters of abortion “rights” often appeal to the tragic cases of rape or incest.

A topic of discussion in the United States is whether to criminally punish women who get an abortion. Catholic pro-life leaders say they should not be punished. Before Roe was overturned, more than 70 pro-life leaders, including Archbishop William Lori, who heads the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, demanded that state legislators refuse to punish women who have abortions:

We state unequivocally that we do not support any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women and we stand firmly opposed to include such penalties in legislation.

The initiative is contained in a May 12, 2022, letter to state legislators, which came as states such as Louisiana were considering laws that could have prosecuted and imprisoned women who obtained an abortion. The letter is careful to say that in every abortion there are two victims, both the mother and the unborn child: “turning women who have abortions into criminals is not the way.”

This position ought to be discussed, for the seriousness of pro-life legislation is at stake. If abortion is considered a crime, it is not clear why women who get an abortion should not be penalized. It is true that many situations are difficult and painful; these must be taken into account in assessing responsibility. A number of organizations, many of them led by Catholics, offer healing and hope to women harmed by the abortion they committed.

Just as the Catholic Church condemns abortion, it also emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and mercy for women who have had an abortion. Those of us priests who have experience hearing confessions know very well the pain of many women that is difficult to console.

It is a pity that so many young women give in to pro-abortion arguments – a display of superficiality in the face of the real drama, which is the irreparable damage caused to the innocent baby who is condemned to death, as well as to the parents and society as a whole. This is the place to exalt the free choice of parents who decide, even in difficult situations, to keep their child.

Returning to the situation in France, it is necessary to highlight the case of several bishops who have publicly pronounced themselves on the outcome of the abortion vote. Archbishop Olivier de Germay of Lyon stressed the difficulty of expressing himself on the subject without running the risk of being targeted by the media. Archbishop Pascal Wintzer of Poitiers lamented in the newspaper La Croix that “it seems death is protected than life is encouraged.” The bishops of France had already expressed their opposition to the text of the constitutional amendment in a declaration entitled “All life is a gift” from their November 2023 assembly.

What about Argentina? The Kirchnerist regime gave in to the advance of ultra-feminism and promulgated Law No. 27.610, on December 30, 2020, which established that induced abortion is legal and free, in the cases authorized since 1921 (therapeutic abortion, or in cases of rape) or in all other cases when gestation does not exceed 14 weeks. How many unborn children will have been eliminated, with political approval, since then? Abortion advocates always exaggerate the figures to make us believe it is something normal and necessary, but in any case legal authorization is an incitement and means of pressure on the culture and the common mentality of society.

Argentina’s current government should be encouraged to extend its liberal – and libertarian – character to the case of abortion and repeal the sinister Law 27.610. The Argentine episcopate, so concerned about the problem of poverty, should request that and also extend its concern to the poorest of the poor, the unborn children.

+ Héctor Aguer
Archbishop Emeritus of La Plata

Buenos Aires
Wednesday, April 17, 2024