“Ask a Priest: Isn’t It Better to Abort and Spare Later Suffering?”

Q: A family member wrote this and I am truly conflicted. “It kills me that there are so many children in terrible living situations and so many children waiting to be adopted every single day but the most important thing on the agenda is making sure that women who know they’d be an unfit parent can’t terminate their pregnancies. Clog the adoption agencies. Fill up foster care. Put children in homes where they’re neglected or abused. Let more and more kids go day after day not knowing where their next meal will come from. Allow more and more children to be born into families that can’t care for them.” What is your answer to this? I am pro-life and I never think abortion is OK, but what about the truly innocent born into the world in such abusive and neglectful circumstances? – G.M.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The short answer is that we need to increase our efforts to help the children and to support marriage and family in general.

To say that we’ll solve the problem of innocent, neglected kids by killing them in the womb is hideous logic.

Would your family member advocate taking all the children who are currently living in neglect and poverty and simply kill them all in order to relieve them of their suffering? I hope not. And yet, killing a baby in the mother’s womb is the exact same thing — it is killing an innocent human being.

Many human beings who grow up in difficult situations become strong and productive members of society. It is arrogant and narrow-minded to consider underprivileged children as unworthy of life simply because the injustices of society increase their share of suffering.

Moreover, abortion does serious violence to women, even as it “lets men off the hook.” More than a few women spend years and decades battling depression and other problems because of the guilt of their abortions.

Your family member does touch on a valid point, however. Some people are content to voice their opposition to abortion but do little else to help women in crisis or to help children in need.

Perhaps you can find common ground on this point with your family member and challenge him/her to join you in support a charity that helps moms and their babies. There is likely a pro-life crisis pregnancy center or similar group in your area that could use your help.

Remember the words of Matthew 25:40 — “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

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