Jesus christ condemns male abortion
RACHEL Here in Nazareth we resume our interview with Jesus Christ on the delicate subject of abortion. Jesus, let’s go straight to some concrete questions. Let’s begin by defining your position are you actually in favor of abortion?
JESUS I am in favor of life.
RACHEL I mean, if you would accept that in some cases….
JESUS Rachel, God has given us two treasures life and liberty. We are free to decide our lives.
RACHEL But always respecting God’s laws, which tell us not to kill.
JESUS Would any woman want to eliminate the fruit of her womb? Would any woman be happy about aborting? I think that if a woman decides to do so, there must be a very serious reason.
RACHEL So serious as to justify eliminating a life?
JESUS Listen, Rachel. God wants us to have not only life, but life in all its fullness.
RACHEL Could you explain yourself a little better?
JESUS The thing is, being alive is not just a matter of coming into this world and breathing air. Being alive means growing up in a family that loves you. Being alive means having good nourishment, staying healthy, getting an education.
RACHEL That life in all its fullness that you speak about is what today we call quality of life.
JESUS Just that, Rachel. But tell me, what life awaits a child born of frustration and disappointment? What happens to the children who are left orphans if their mother dies in childbirth? And is it just to make a girl who has been raped bring the fruit of that violence into the world? When King David took advantage of Bethsheba, God did not allow the child of that crime to be born.
RACHEL Well, some priests teach that a woman must bring into the world all the children that God sends her.
JESUS But the question is do those children come from God or from the urges of some wretched man?
RACHEL Wherever they come from, those priests insist that the woman has the obligation to give birth to them.
JESUS Sure, since they’re not the ones who get pregnant, they can speak without compassion. They speak of what they know nothing about.
RACHEL So a woman who for serious reasons decides to abort is not condemned and excommunicated?
JESUS Believe me, Rachel, God will not judge her. And you know why? Because God is a mother. Do you know any mother who does not sympathize with another mother caught in such a difficult situation?
RACHEL But I insist when you say that, are you not discarding the fifth commandment, which commands us not to kill?
JESUS Cutting down a tree is not the same thing as not watering a seed. God does not command us to convert every seed into a tree.
RACHEL Well, in some countries women who abort are still penalized they go to jail and are accused of murder.
JESUS They’re hypocrites, because they’re the same ones who kill people when they make wars and when they oppress the poor. If they are such great defenders of life, why don’t they punish men when they abort?
RACHEL Are you referring to the doctors who perform abortions?
JESUS I’m referring to the men who do not take care of life. In my time, in all times, there have been countless women, as many as the grains of sand on the seashores, who have found themselves obliged to bring up their children alone, without the help of any man. Where were the fathers of those kids? They begot children and then gave them neither name nor sustenance.
RACHEL Paternal irresponsibility…
JESUS I tell you the truth, Rachel, the man who gets a woman pregnant and abandons her is committing abortion. The men who force themselves on women, those who forget about their own children – those are the ones who offend God; those are the ones who abort. I did not speak about that in my time. I speak about that now, since you give me the opportunity.
RACHEL Male abortion. That’s the other side of the coin of this controversial topic. How many women decide to interrupt their pregnancies because of men? Male abortion a new concept, an ethical challenge. For Emisoras Latinas, Rachel Perez, Nazareth.
ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
A dilemma between life and life
In dealing with the dilemma of abortion, attempts are made to divide people into two camps: those who are pro-life and those who are pro-abortion. The pro-life people claim that all abortion is criminal and that aborting is killing. They try to make others believe that there are groups of women, feminists, who propagate a “culture of death” and so promote the massive, and even festive, practice of abortion. By framing the dilemma as one between life and death, they make women feel guilty and terrified. However, there is always a dilemma for any woman confronted with a pregnancy that is unwanted, risky, or of uncertain outcome, but that dilemma is between life and life.
What life awaits a child who is born with a congenital infirmity? What about the parents who already have many children and don’t have the wherewithal to give a new baby even the most basic care? What are the risks to the life of a pregnant woman who has a chronic illness or other health problems? What emotional crisis does an unforeseen and unwanted pregnancy cause for a woman, and what does that mean for the rest of her life? What lifetime opportunities – studies, work, relationships – become truncated for an adolescent who becomes pregnant? What is the violent or abusive origin of the life that is budding in the womb of that girl or young woman? What effect will that violent origin have on the future of that new life?
Should a woman who suffers from a grave illness and gets pregnant die in order “not to kill”, when an operation in which the fetus is lost would cure her? Should she leave her other children orphans? Is it “killing” not to give life to a fetus with an incurable disease that it would cause it to suffer painfully all its days? Is it “killing” not to give life to a fetus with a serious brain deformity, in a poor family unable to care for it, where that child would be an unbearable burden for its parents and siblings? Is it “killing” not to give life to a fetus with an untreatable infirmity if its father and mother are fearful of the grievous, lasting effects that the ailment would have on their own lives?
Is it “killing” not to give life to the fruit of violence and rape, to something rejected even as it lies in its mother’s womb? Is it “killing” not to give life to the fruit of the rape of a girl? All these questions show that the dilemma is truly between life and life. Each case is different and requires a different kind of reflection. And in each case there should be the freedom to decide responsibly about life.
Two gifts: life and the freedom to decide about life
In the dilemma concerning abortion, what is truly at stake is life and freedom, and the ideas we have about them. Even though we readily agree that life is “a gift of God”, certain “providentialist” ideas about God prevent us from realizing that God has also given us another gift: the gift of freedom, so that we can decide responsibly about our lives and about life.
Since the dilemma is always between life and life and since life and freedom are always at stake, each case of an unwanted pregnancy and each decision about whether to interrupt it is inevitably surrounded by vital questions and difficult answers. The most Christian way to proceed is to respect the answers that each woman conscientiously and responsibly gives in her own case. No woman, even when she defends the interruption of her pregnancy, should be judged or condemned or labeled pro-abortion.
Without judging, with compassion
Just as the Bible in its entirety was written by men, so also the doctrines of the Christian churches have always been proposed and formulated by men. Given this reality, we are justified in being “suspicious” about the theological criteria which judge abortion to be a crime and which blame and condemn women who for the sake of their lives or their health interrupt their unwanted or risky pregnancies. Since in Christian churches it is the men – priests and ministers – who have always been in charge and decided everything, the ideas they have disseminated about sexuality, maternity and childbirth have always been male chauvinist.
For this reason women’s views have been ignored, even though it is women who should be most taken into account and valued when there is a question of deciding to interrupt a pregnancy. The important thing is to help the woman to reflect and decide. Ideally such reflection and decision would be shared by the man who begot the new life, but frequently that does not happen. Helping her to reflect and decide – that’s what Jesus would do. He would not judge her, and he would never condemn her, whatever decision she took.
If these walls could speak…
A number of films treat the topic of abortion and facilitate debate about this controversial yet vital topic We will highlight three of them. “If These Walls Could Talk” (U.S.A., 1996), from directors Cher and Nancy Sacova, narrates the story of three women from different social backgrounds who find themselves in the need to abort in the years 1952, 1974 and 1996 in the United States.
“The Secret of Vera Drake” (France-U.K., 2006) is set in London in 1950, when England still prohibited abortion. The film tells the story of Vera, who for twenty years practiced abortions in a very natural way (“I help the women”, is how she puts it). The solidarity and generosity expressed in the life of this poor, ordinary, happy woman give this film a singularly Christian dimension.
“The Crime of Father Amaro” (Mexico, 2002), from director Carlos Carrera, is based on the novel by Portuguese writer Eça Queiroz. The film shows one of the most veiled forms of male abortion: that of priests who get girls and women pregnant and then force them to abort in order to avoid assuming responsibility and losing their status and reputation.
Arguments that cannot be supported
Some people argue that more flexible abortion legislation would bring about a “slaughter”. Behind this allegation lies the idea that women are irresponsible creatures: if they interrupt their pregnancy, it is because they are bad mothers. Everyday reality gives the lie to this idea: the vast majority of women struggle heroically for their children, putting forth enormous generosity and effort and exercising great responsibility, while the fathers of the children end up “aborting” them in practice by not recognizing them, abandoning them, and being completely unconcerned about their fate.
Some people argue that if abortion is decriminalized, there would be uncontrolled sexual promiscuity. And that if post-rape abortion is legalized, there would be more rapes. Behind such ideas lies a vision of human sexuality forged by millennia of patriarchal, male chauvinist culture. We do not know, nor can we even imagine, how we human beings would live our sexualities in societies where there was true equality between men and women. It is the culture of machismo, which experiences sexuality as an exercise of power and domination, and not as a relation of sharing and loving, which is the true cause of many forced pregnancies and, consequently, of many abortions. It is this macho culture that we should analyze and overcome if we want to get rid of abortion.
The abortion committed by men
“My husband doesn’t want any more children, and he threatened to leave me if I don’t get rid of it.” “This child is not my husband’s, and the father doesn’t want to take responsibility for it – he begged me to abort.” “The father is the boss, and he says if I don’t abort, he’ll get rid of me.” “I aborted because he paid for everything and told me he would keep helping me, but that he didn’t want kids or responsibilities.” “My son was the child of a priest, and he was the one who took me to get the abortion.” “My boyfriend asked me for a proof of my love, and when he found out that I was pregnant, he left me.” All these stories are frequent, familiar, painful.
There is always much talk about women who abort, about the laws which condemn them, about the sins they commit. It is high time we talked now about male abortion. In Latin America one out of every three homes is headed by a single woman, most of them mothers who have been abandoned by irresponsible men. In Latin American many fathers are simply missing, as can be seen in the growing number of single mothers. In most countries one out of every three mothers is “single”.
In Latin America five million abortions are practiced every year. The immense majority are male abortions, abortions provoked by the irresponsibility of men, by their violence, by their sexuality based on the abuse of power. The churches and the governments which so fiercely penalize, prosecute and condemn the abortions carried out by woman would do well to seek earnestly to prevent and eradicate male abortion, the principal cause of almost all abortions.