Were there to be no support in the whole history of ethical and moral thought, were there no acknowledged confirmation from medical science, were the history of legal opinion to the contrary, we would still have to conclude on the basis of God's Holy Word that the unborn child is a person in the sight of God. He is protected by the sanctity of life graciously given to each individual by the Creator, Who alone places His image upon man and grants them any right to life which they have.
Abortion does not only break the Fifth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." It breaks all the commandments. In this and following columns, let's reflect on how each Commandment illumines and strengthens our pro-life commitment.
The First Commandment is "I am the Lord your God; you shall not have other gods besides me." There are many ways of having false gods. Pope John Paul II once wrote that to think we are the ones who decide whether a child should be created is to say that God is not God. At the root of the contraceptive mentality, and at the root of the so-called "pro-choice" mentality, is idolatry. We place our choices before God's choices. We break the first of all the commandments. In the Old Testament, we read that God's people committed idolatry when they sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire to demons. Until we end the child sacrifice of legal abortion, we are guilty of the same kind of idolatry. We are called instead to worship the Lord of Life!
The Second Commandment is "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." This does not only mean that we shouldn't use the Lord's name in cursing when we are angry. It also means that we should not use God's name or His Word to justify actions that he abhors.
There are religious groups and individuals in our society who do exactly that when it comes to abortion. They say they are "prayerfully pro-choice." Groups like the "Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice" claim that God's word allows abortion. They hold "pro-choice" Bible studies, and they even carry out pro-choice liturgies to bless the "choice" of those who abort.
This is a distortion of God's word and an abuse of his name. It is a direct violation of the second commandment. We are called instead to honor the name of God by honoring the lives he creates.
The Third Commandment requires us to Keep Holy the Lord's Day. Scripture tells us the Lord rested on the seventh day. This was not because he was tired, but rather because he was foretelling the Sabbath day that Jesus would rest in the tomb after his work of offering the sacrifice of his passion and death. On that day the Lord preached to the dead and bid them to leave the place of death and to come with him into life eternal.
Keeping holy the Lord's Day, then, reminds us that God is on the side of human life. It also reminds us that he is Lord of life. All our activities and choices are under him, which is why we pause on the Lord's Day to worship him in Church.
We will continue our reflections on the Commandments in the next column. Meanwhile, those who want to nourish their pro-life spirituality with reflections like this for every day of the year can obtain my book Pro-life Reflections for Every Day at priestsforlife.org/store.