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“Ask a Priest: Should I Speak Up If I Think Someone Is Considering an Abortion?”
Q: I am the supervisor of a young woman who just found out the baby she is carrying has Down syndrome. She is not Catholic (I don’t know if she was raised in any faith). I suspect, although she has not told me her plans and has not asked my advice, that she will be seeking to terminate the pregnancy. If she were a young non-work friend of mine, I would be willing to ask her plans and to try to convey to her that abortion is taking the life of her innocent unborn child. However, I am her supervisor in a very secular work setting, and my boss has already warned me that “you can’t say anything to her.” If I find out after the fact that she has, indeed, had an abortion, is my silence a participation in this sin? – M.D.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: Since you only suspect that the young woman is thinking of abortion, you might not want to jump to conclusions yet.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that your hunch is right. What might you do?
As we are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper, you might try to find a way to contact this young woman outside of work hours and offer to support her personally (not professionally) with the pregnancy and the challenges of having a baby.
I doubt that your boss has a right to control what you tell people outside of work hours.
Even on the job, you could make sure that she is familiar with the company’s maternity policy, which might spur further discussion on her part. As you get to know her situation better, you could offer (outside of work hours) testimony to the Gospel of life in a way she would understand.
In any case, your reaching out to her might be the only chance for this baby.
Maybe you could look at inspiring stories about people with Down syndrome, such as:
You might want to intensify your prayer for this young woman.
And imagine if you don’t say anything … and the worst happens. You might regret your silence for a long time.
It might be providential that you are in this woman’s life, even in a small way. She has a right to hear the message about the Gospel of Life. And you could be God’s chosen instrument to bring it to her.
Count on my prayers.
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