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Quote from Mulieris Dignitatem on the Right to Life

Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II

Monday, August 15, 1988

Following is a section from Paragraph 14 of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), issued on August 15, 1988, to mark the occasion of the Marian Year. In this passage, he refers to John 8:3-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery, and makes a connection with the current problem of abortion.

The episode recorded in the Gospel of John is repeated in countless similar situations in every period of history. A woman is left alone, exposed to public opinion with "her sin", while behind "her" sin there lurks a man-a sinner, guilty "of the other's sin", indeed equally responsible for it. And yet his sin escapes notice, it is passed over in silence: he does not appear to be responsible for "the other's sin"! Sometimes, forgetting his own sin, he even makes himself the accuser, as in the case described. How often, in a similar way, the woman pays for her own sin (maybe it is she, in some cases, who is guilty of the "other's sin"-the sin of the man), but she alone pays and she pays all alone! How often is she abandoned with her pregnancy, when the man, the child's father, is unwilling to accept responsibility for it? And besides the many "unwed mothers" in our society, we also must consider all those who, as a result of various pressures, even on the part of the guilty man, very often "get rid of" the child before it is born. "They get rid of it": but at what price? Public opinion today tries in various ways to "abolish" the evil of this sin. Normally a woman's conscience does not let her forget that she has taken the life of her own child, for she cannot destroy that readiness to accept life which marks her "ethos" from the "beginning".

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