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‘What is truth?’: Catholic responses to pro-choice objections 

In opposing the specious arguments of the pro-choice movement, we can have confidence that the truth is on our side, although it helps to think through the arguments of the other side.

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In response to Pilate’s question, “what is truth?,” we can answer that it is the conformity of the mind to reality. In opposing the specious arguments of the pro-choice movement, we can have confidence that the truth is on our side, although it helps to think through the arguments of the other side. The following seven pro-choice objections can provide a primer for thinking about how you would witness to the reality of human life.

1. We do not know when life begins.

Roe v. Wade employed this falsehood to justify its decision, even though it is a basic fact of biology that an independent organism begins to exist at the moment of conception. It is true that before the 19th century there was debate about the exact mode and timing of how the human person developed, but the German scientist Oscar Hetwig determined the nature of sexual reproduction through fertilization in 1876. From this moment, there is no scientific debate on the origin of human life and every textbook will present the moment of fertilization as the origin of human life.

2. My body, my choice.

This mantra assumes that the conceived child is simply a part of the mother’s body. Since we know that human life does begin, biologically speaking, at the moment of conception, there is a distinct human organism within the mother’s body. It is true that this child can only survive in dependence upon the mother, but this is also true of young children and anyone who is vulnerable. In fact, there is no such thing as a completely autonomous human being.

3. Stop pushing your religious views on me.

This argument assumes that opposition from abortion stems solely from faith. It is true that our faith teaches us that murder (the intentional killing of an innocent human being) is wrong, but it is also a clear precept of the natural law. Abortion is wrong by its very nature because it violates the inherent dignity of the human person as a rational being. We can explain the evil of abortion without reference to faith, even though faith and reason are in agreement on this point. When the government not only allows but also supports the destruction of human life, the rule of law becomes undermined and even arbitrary.

4. What if the mother’s life is in danger?

It is never permissible to kill an innocent human life for any reason. The Church also recognizes the legitimacy of taking action to save the life of the mother even if it may result in the death of the unborn child. The foreseen but unintended death of the child is not what is chosen directly, for the moral choice is to save of the life of the mother, a principle called double effect. This would not be an abortion, because the child is not killed (there is no procedure directly killing the child), even though he may die as a consequence of a necessary treatment to save the life of the mother.

5. No one should be forced to have a child.

In our culture, we have changed our understanding of the purpose of human sexuality. Today, we understand sexuality almost solely from the viewpoint of personal fulfillment, although we know that sex is regularly misused to exploit others. Engaging in sexual intercourse is ordered intrinsically toward procreation and the raising of children. Because it is so foreign to the mainstream way of thinking, this is a hard truth to accept for many people; however, it is a vitally necessary one to reorder the many distortions of sexuality and point us back to reality.

6. What about cases of rape and incest?

The victim of rape or incest has experienced terrible violence. The answer to this violence is not to pass it on to another innocent person and thus become a perpetrator of violence. This will not help in the healing process but will actually cause more harm to the mother through the violence of abortion. This points to the reality that abortion causes trauma for women and itself requires a process of healing and forgiveness. Adoption may be the best option in these cases.

7. Constitutional freedom demands access to abortion.

Roe v. Wade used the reasoning of the prior decision on contraception from Griswold v. Connecticut that argued there was a right to privacy in the Constitution, although no such right can be found there. This fabricated right became the basis for the argument that the State could not interfere with issues related to human sexuality. Roe v. Wade does acknowledge that the State has a vested interest in the birth of new citizens, and we tend to overlook the relationship of children to the common good, in part because of our distorted understanding of sexuality. Although the health of a nation depends upon the willingness of its citizens to raise a family, it is also a path to genuine happiness, which is found in giving of ourselves for others.


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About Dr. R. Jared Staudt 49 Articles
R. Jared Staudt PhD, serves as Director of Content for Exodus 90 and as an instructor for the lay division of St. John Vianney Seminary. He is author of How the Eucharist Can Save Civilization (TAN), Restoring Humanity: Essays on the Evangelization of Culture (Divine Providence Press) and The Beer Option (Angelico Press), as well as editor of Renewing Catholic Schools: How to Regain a Catholic Vision in a Secular Age (Catholic Education Press). He and his wife Anne have six children and he is a Benedictine oblate.

23 Comments

  1. When Pilate asked “what is truth?” it is incorrect to regard Christ as possibly unresponsive in not answering… Instead, he stood there, face to face, alone and real and far beyond any words, silently, “the Word [truth] made flesh.”

    The sufficient response to abortionists’ arguments is, finally, the ignored silence of the aborted, each one without exception. Like the existence of God, as more than any of our mere ideas or arguments, and again crucified. We know not what we do.

    • What a profound insight “ the Word ( truth ) made flesh. Your depiction has forever changed my understanding of their exchange.

      Thank you.

  2. The Democrat Party demands that we, Catholics and other adherents of Western Civilization, accept its view of reality, that reality, truth, facts, are “socially constructed.” In this system, facts do not result from observation and experiment but from the WILL of social institutions such as the press, government, schools etc. So, when a judge declares that Bruce Jenner is a woman, he is indeed a woman. The observed criteria of a male do not matter. This system does not work in a community which allows dissent. It does not work without intimidation, harassment, constant repetition and a Goolag. I have to wonder why our bishops have not caught on to this scam and condemned it from the pulpits (I know. Catholics do not have pulpits anymore.) and exposed it in the schools.

  3. Well done!

    Truth is the domaine of God, his word is an ever reliable guide.

    John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

    John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

    John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

    Blessings

  4. I believe most women that conceived through rape would simply not want to carry their rapist’s child to term and probably could not be convinced to do so. Adoption for children so conceived becomes a moot point. I agree that should be the solution, but I also believe it is unachievable.
    The argument against “no one should be forced to have a child” is also mostly religious. I agree with it, but it cannot convince people that do not accept the underlying principles.

    • I know I wouldn’t enjoy carrying that baby to term, and would need therapy, but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I killed it. Women need to be convinced that the alternative to carrying it will cause irreparable, life long harm. Nine months of stress is way better. You can heal from it. There’s no healing after abortion.

      • Not true, Jennifer. I feel free and relieved that I was able to get an abortion at 14 when I was raped. If I had been forced to give birth, I would have taken my life.

    • I can’t imagine I would want to carry the child, but I would. It appears a fair number do. It is important to punish the rapist, not the child in question.
      .
      https://thelifeinstitute.net/learning-centre/abortion-effects/children/conceived-in-rape

      Custody laws probably need to be updated in some states, however: https://www.foxnews.com/us/in-7-us-states-rape-victims-can-be-legally-forced-to-share-custody-of-their-children-with-their-rapist-fathers
      .
      Then too, if we allow rape as an exeption, how many women who do not want to be pregnant will lie about it?

    • https://saintanastasia.net/documents/2021/9/St%20Anastasia%20FOL%20Cenacle%20Prayer%20%20%20Book%20version%208-22-21.pdf

      The Flame of Love, given for our times , to blind Satan , to see The Light , to reclaim our spiritual DNA , in the Two Hearts –
      ‘O Blessed Lady , place us in the Divine fire where we belong and share with us the Immaculate Conception ‘ … the graces in the Immaculate Conception that was mystical and non carnal as per tradition ( as would have been for Pre Fall Adam ) to thus help put out the flames of carnal evils …The Passion meant to put to continuous death all negativities , in The Precious Blood , bringing forth new Life , of belonging to The Lord , his goodness at ever deeper levels ..

      The Synod would likely address these areas , of ‘walking with The Lord ‘ in ever greater Oneness with His Heart and thoughts, that have been redone in His Sacred Humanity , removing the evils ..its memory alone to prevail ever more deeply .. every tear and pain He and the Mother has shed to be offfered up as our own too ..for its transforming healing graces .. trusting that our Loving Father does not allow any pain without desire to bring good out of same ..may be in levels far beyond what we can even dream .. even when the Way is narrow and difficult ..

      Thank God that The Church, her children are blessed to rise up in the Divine Will as did our Lord after The Passion ..
      May the miracle of the ruling today too be another sign of same ! 🙂

    • Has the Scripture verse, “With God all things are possible” ever crossed your desk? How about, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed,” you could move mountains?

      The child conceived by rape carries the father’s DNA. It carries equally the mother’s. The mother’s placenta, the mother’s blood and body nourish the child. In that sense, the child is more the mother’s than the father’s.

      Aborting a child conceived through rape kills the rapist’s child but also the mother’s child, and the mother is the sole decider of that choice. In the eyes of God, aborting one’s innocent child may perhaps be judged merit more severely than the rapist’s crime of rape.

      Have you ever read the story of St. Maria Goretti? The moral is that great good may come through suffering great evil.

  5. https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/06/22/catholic-marriage-is-a-gift-not-a-formality-pope-francis-says-at-world-meeting-of-families-2022-opening/

    Sweet and beautiful words from the Holy Father , blessing marriages and families -echoing the truth given us by The Spirit, through St.John Paul 11 , how marriage itself is a gift , which has in it the power of divine love – strong, enduring,faithful, able to recover .. Christ gives Himself to you , so that you have the strength ..
    With the grace of Sacrament, God makes it a wonderful journey , to be taken with Him, never alone’.
    Couples with responsibility to discern how those graces may have been rejected ,
    to decide to go in own rebellious ways ..not requitting the Love in holiness in relationships, being grateful for life, that of oneself and of the other – for every heart beat , breath , every Wound of The Lord and The Mother- esp. to ward off the flood waters of lies , to drive out the brood of vipers that can manifest as hardness of hearts, carnal greeds in or around us and deafen the hearing ..in fear and confusion such as on the often enough wrongly replayed words – ‘who am I to judge..’ – words meant as a blessing for those who are searching for The Father , even if in errant ways , that they can recover , are not beyond finding His tender Love in holy and innocent brotherly relationships .
    Much Light of Truth around us all ….Glory be to all who help to bring same –
    in The Voice of The Mother too that blessed The Baptist ..

  6. A living human has a body and a soul.
    The human body comes into existence at conception.
    How can we specify when God creates the soul?

  7. After over 60 Millian Candles of Life have been snuffed out.The selfishness of self will and the “easier softer way”.That Abortion is peddled as the answer too.Entrap’s the minds of the naive & gullible Male & Female parent to “Never” know The Great What If,In this Life or the Next.No wonder Satan Smiles & Laughs.

  8. The situation sadly and badly is that a lot hold and take their “beliefs” more than “facts” and thus blinding them from the “truth.” Take for example the good portion of Republicans who believe Trump won the 2020 election even in the face of mountain of evidence that contradict his claim. Or those who believe that the earth is flat. Or those who believe that Russia in its special military operation did not invade Ukraine. Or those Catholics who take Archbishop Vigano as a modern day St. Francis calling on the powers that be in the Church to reform.

    • I followed the 2020 elections on the live-streams on YouTube done by Canadian attorney Viva Frei and American lawyer Robert Barnes. Barnes represented some of the Covington Catholic students. They have brought up many creditable claims of voting irregularities. By all accounts the courts took a dive. Cases filed before the election were dismissed for lack of damages, lack of standing. Cases filed after the election were dismissed because of laches, filing too late. Time magazine did an article about election “fortification” that in a way admitted to the election fun and games, but slanted it to make it sound high toned and ethical.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. ‘What is truth?’: Catholic responses to pro-choice objections  – Via Nova Media
  2. How to answer pro-choice arguments - JP2 Catholic Radio

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