Abortion: None of Your Business?
By Fr. Frank A. Pavone
Priests for Life
Most people admit that abortion is wrong; surveys show, in fact, that half of
all Americans are willing to call it "murder." (See, for example, the January
1998 New York Times/CBS News Poll.)
Yet a disturbing number of these same people will not do anything to stop it.
They say, "I believe abortion is wrong, but I do not want to impose my morality
on others." In other words, it's wrong, but it's a private wrong. If I
think it's wrong, I won't do it. If someone else does it, that's none of my
This attitude has been expressed in a bumper sticker that says, "Against
Abortion? Don't have one!" and in the assertion that the opposing sides in this
controversy should simply "Agree to disagree."
Yet we simply don't look at most moral problems this way. We do not hear
people say, “I would never abuse my child, but if the other person wants to do
so, that’s her choice.” Nor do they say, "I would never commit a violent crime,
but if someone else chooses to do so, that's none of my business."
Many do not want to "interfere" with someone's choice to have an abortion.
Yet it would make perfect sense to "interfere" with that same person's choice to
steal your car, burn your house, or kidnap your child!
The fact is that some choices have victims, and when somebody’s choice
destroys somebody else’s life, that’s everybody's business. It is, after
all, the business of love to intervene to save our brothers and sisters in need.
People need to know that abortion is their business. They need to
de-isolate the issue. People understand that we have to intervene to help
the poor, the AIDS victim, the drug addict, the victim of crime and war. Even
if we do not know their names, or have never seen the faces of these victims, we
know it is our business to help them. There is no reason to isolate abortion in
a category of its own, where all the rules of human decency suddenly change. Who
is the child scheduled to be aborted today? That child is your sister, your
Some claim they are free to believe that the unborn are not human
lives. That's fine. But to claim the right to destroy them in practice is a
different matter, no longer involving only beliefs, but bloodshed, not
only viewpoints, but victims.
Abortion is our problem, and the problem of every human
being. We are one human family. Nobody can be neutral on abortion. It involves
the destruction of an entire group of human beings! Just as we cannot be
indifferent to the killing of a new born baby, so we cannot be indifferent to
the killing of a preborn baby. We all share the responsibility for people who
are in danger. Injustice to any person in this world is injustice to every
Even when we understand this, we are often afraid to
act. We can gain courage, however, from the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke
10:25-37) On the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a man fell in with robbers. A
priest and a levite came by, but did not stop to help. Despite their knowledge
of the Law and Prophets, they walked right by. Why?
One of the reasons may be that they were afraid. The
road from Jerusalem to Jericho is a dangerous road. Because of its numerous
steep curves, it lends itself to attacks by robbers who can easily hide not too
far from their victims. Perhaps the priests and levites who passed by that man
asked themselves, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? Maybe the
robbers who attacked him are still here. Maybe they're hiding just around the
bend. This is a dangerous road. I better keep going."
Sometimes we ask the same question. If I speak up too loudly about the
victims of abortion, what will happen to me? Will I face persecution, will I
encounter opposition, will I lose popularity if I get involved in a cause like
And then the Good Samaritan came along, and he reversed the question. He
didn't ask, "If I help this man, what will happen to me?" The Good Samaritan
asked, "If I do not help this man, what will happen to him?" And that's
the question for us. If I do not address this evil, what will happen to the
unborn? If I do not get involved, what will happen to those who are vulnerable,
to those who are marginalized our society, those who are oppressed, those who
have no one to speak for them?
The abortion problem involves us all. Its solution must also involve us all.
Get involved today!
"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure
suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the
oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the
tormented." -- Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor
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