Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
God does not simply give us “rules and regulations.” He gives us himself. All his teachings and commandments reflect who he is, and for the same reason, they all hold together in an organic unity – like the body itself – and every commandment in some way includes every other commandment. In this column, we conclude our reflections on how abortion violates every commandment, and how the commandments strengthen us to be pro-life.
The Seventh Commandment declares, “You shall not steal.” Whenever we violate the right to life, we steal. We rob the person of what is his – the recognition of his rights, the protection of his life.
Actions like abortion also rob God himself of what is his. Once when I was praying at an abortion facility with a group of people, and one man had his toes over the property line, a clinic worker shouted, “Get your feet off our property.” I responded, “And when are you going to get your hands off God’s property?”
God alone has dominion over human life. When an abortionist reaches into the sacred space of the womb to rip the child apart, he is stealing from the Almighty, and is also robbing society of the respect it owes to life.
The Eighth Commandment declares, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Everyone has a right to his good name and reputation, and this commandment forbids us to lie about what someone has or hasn’t done, or about who someone is.
The culture of death violates this commandment in a profound way. By allowing court decisions like Roe vs. Wade that says, “the word person…does not include the unborn,” society bears false witness against the unborn. It is a lie.
Abortionists go even further and call our unborn brothers and sisters names like “parasites,” or “products of conception” or “medical waste.” They bear false witness.
And anyone who says an abortion is justified is bearing false witness by denying that the child has the right to be protected from the abortionists’ knife.
The Ninth and Tenth Commandments forbid us to covet what belongs to our neighbor, whether it be his spouse or his possessions. This commandment, in other words, requires us to limit our desires by respecting the boundaries between what is ours and what isn’t.
That is a sacred boundary that is completely shattered by abortion. The boundary between what is the mother’s and what is the child’s completely disappears. Some, for instance, will justify abortion because the mother has to get on with her life. But so does the child.
Some will justify it because the mother has freedom not to be burdened. But so does the child. And in denying that the child has the same freedom she claims to have, she destroys the meaning and foundation of her own.
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.