Richard Deaton’s September 15 Guardian Letter ‘Abortion pill: Facts not theology,’ suggests that theological considerations have no place in deciding whether a pregnant woman should ingest chemicals to end the life of an unborn child. That may be true for atheists, but for anyone who believes in God, moral and spiritual considerations must guide them to make the most loving and just decisions possible in all areas of life, including whether or not to have or support abortions.
For a man so keen on denying the rightful place of religious and theological discourse in the public domain, it’s certainly surprising to see Deaton mention Catholics who have had abortions as support for the idea that having an abortion is a reasonable and acceptable option for modern Catholics. As he puts it, ‘…it should be noted that Catholic Quebec has the greatest number of abortions of any province in Canada. Are all these people misguided?’ Well, yes, Mr. Deaton, if all these people claim to be faithful Catholics (which I very much doubt) and see nothing wrong with having an abortion, then they are most definitely ‘misguided.’
Deaton then admonishes members of the P.E.I. Right to Life by saying, ‘If P.E.I. Right to Life is so concerned about the well being of women they should be the strongest and most vocal advocates of sex education, contraception and family planning.’ Does he not realize that PEIRTL members are indeed very vocal about all of these issues? But they wouldn’t endorse the versions of sex education, contraception and family planning which Mr. Deaton most likely has in mind. It may also come as a shock for Mr. Deaton to learn that not everyone believes that abortion, or advocating for abortion, actually advances the well-being of women. Many people, including members of the PEIRTL, share Mother Teresa’s belief that: “Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
Mr. Deaton then cites a comment made by Pope Francis about how Catholics aren’t ‘rabbits’ and are not obligated to have as many children as possible, but should act responsibly in deciding the appropriate number of children for their family. However, Deaton conveniently fails to explain what the Pope teaches regarding what ‘responsible family planning’ entails, leaving the reader with the idea that the Pope probably doesn’t have a big problem with Catholics using artificial birth control, or taking a pill to end a pregnancy. Absolutely not true! Pope Francis has made it abundantly clear on many occasions that the Catholic Church encourages only ‘natural family planning’ and strictly forbids “abortion,” which he has called a ‘very grave sin, a ‘horrendous crime,’ and, more recently, the ‘murder of an innocent person.’ At no time is abortion ever permissible for a faithful Catholic.
Mr. Deaton: Can you please stop publicly expressing your opinion supporting abortion using misleading references to Catholic teachings or Pope Francis quotes which suggest that all intelligent and ‘progressive’ Catholics have climbed aboard the abortion bandwagon? As Pope Francis stated emphatically in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel: “It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”