Does Opposing Abortion Infringe on Free Will?


The simple answer here is no. Just because one legislates something does not mean that everyone will stop doing it. How many people stop speeding, without thought, once they reach the speed limit?

The same rationale is the foundation of my argument. Very recently, I have entertained lively debates with close, “Catholic” relatives concerning the issue of healthcare reform and why the any bill that includes abortion language should not be allowed to pass without a fight.

These relatives argue that the need to serve those already born with proper care outweighs the right of an unborn child to live because the Church has not right to interfere with secular legislation. They use the “Render unto Cesar” argument in order to support their contention that:

  • Life and death decisions, like abortion, are personal and between the individual and God;
  • Secular governments, this country in particular, must make legislation for the benefit of all persons;
  • The Church cannot impose its will, via the faithful, because God (the architect of free will) allows men to choose their path freely.

While these arguments are all true in their own right, they do not address the issue of abortion directly and do not justify disobedience towards the Church. The beauty of being a Christian is that God gives us the freedom to choose Him or not. But if we choose Him, we demonstrate our love through obedience to His will. (John 14:15)

That said, let us consider the arguments detailed above through the eyes of a dissenting Catholic and then contrast the to the Church’s position.

Life and death decisions, like abortion, are personal and between the individual and God: While this is ultimately true, man was never given the right to take any life without serious justification such as the defense of one’s family (CCC 2263-2267). On the issue of abortion the CCC states in paragraph 2271, “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”

Secular governments, this country in particular, must make legislation for the benefit of all persons: The Church uses stronger language in paragraph 2273 when speaking of laws in relations to the human person:

“The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

‘The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.’

‘The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.’

The Church cannot impose its will, via the faithful, because God (the architect of free will) allows men to choose their path freely: The Church is very clear on her stance concerning abortion. And because God is the Lord of Life then it is safe to say that the issue of life and the decision to take it is not something that we render to Cesar. This is something we render to God. But because we live in a democracy we must do all we can to protect innocent life even at the cost of our own wishes and needs in obedience to the Church and to Christ. To do otherwise is sinful not only because of disobedience but because we are acting in selfishness.

To defend their point, these individuals often cite Mark 10:17-22 as biblical proof:

[17] And when he had gone forth into the way, a certain man, running up and kneeling before him, asked him: Good Master, what shall I do that I may receive life everlasting? [18] And Jesus said to him: Why do you call me good? None is good but one, that is God. [19] You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, bear not false witness, do no fraud, honour your father and mother. [20] But he answering, said to him: Master, all these things I have observed from my youth. [21] And Jesus, looking on him, loved him and said to him: One thing is wanting unto you. Go, sell whatsoever you have and give to the poor: and you shall have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me. [22] Who being struck sad at that saying, went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

What we see here is the willful, and apparently unrepentant, denial of Christ for the young man is not recorded as returning to Our Lord. Yes, Jesus allows the man to walk away at his own peril but the passage in bold speaks volume concerning obedience to God in opposition to your own needs.

This young man felt he needed his wealth far more than salvation. The same goes for those who state, “I need healthcare reform.” The “I” or as Bishop Sheen would say, the Ego, is taking primacy over Christ. And Jesus makes it very clear in Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other: or he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Church in the US does recognize the need for healthcare reform but what she makes clear is that it should not come at the cost of more innocent lives. Abortion kills children. I know of no one who tolerates the harming of a child outside the womb, so why should we tolerate it when the child is inside the womb?




This is murder.

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