The Catholic Church teaches that all abortion is wrong (ref. paragraphs 2270-2275 of the Catechism), yet many sincere believers still have a conflicting personal belief that it should be an option in the case of rape. Why is that? Perhaps empathy for the victim (without regard for the child) overrides their thought process. Let’s try to remedy that.

Even though conception occurs in less than one percent of rape cases, no woman wants to bear a child under such traumatic circumstances. Consider, however, that no one desires to live a life paralyzed as a result of a traffic accident either, but it happens. There are many life-changing situations in which we are required to overcome enduring physical and emotional hurdles. Trust in the Lord must be a primary focus.

A woman who is a victim of rape has to live with that particular memory independent of anything else, including whether or not a child is conceived. Adding to this burden the willful killing of a resultant child is a futile attempt to wipe out an experience that cannot be erased. Making the child a victim does not de-victimize the woman.

A child conceived by intent is not somehow more human than one conceived by rape. If it’s wrong to kill the one, it’s also wrong to kill the other. When human life is only valued based on intent or circumstance, then it has no value for those who choose to rationalize it. Human life is created in God’s image and has intrinsic value due to its humanness, not just because it is wanted or was brought about in a pleasant way. Genesis 9:5-6 tells us that those who participate in destroying life are directly accountable to God.

If you harbor a personal belief that there are certain conditions when abortion can be justified, then you need to rethink the basis for your belief and pray for guidance to understand God’s Word as faithfully presented through the Catholic Church.

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