From the Minister’s Desk — November 2021

The most influential person today in the struggle to prevent abortion is probably Pope Francis. Below is the draft of a letter I am preparing to send to the Pope, on that subject.  Your comments and suggestions are invited. When I feel that the letter is ready, I’ll ask Rev. Kerry to translate it into Latin.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you today about abortion, specifically about the right of women in the United States to choose to have an abortion. Nearly a half century ago that right was established by the Supreme Court under the Constitution in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). It has long been under attack, and new legislation now before the Court, from Texas and Mississippi, invites the Justices (six of whom are Catholics) to overturn the precedent that has given two generations of American women the right to control their own bodies. (By way of background, I am a Unitarian Universalist minister, ordained 18 years ago.  Prior to that, for 33 years, I was a civil rights attorney, and as an undergraduate I studied philosophy.)

Jesus, as reported in the Gospels, never said anything about abortion. The word “abortion” never appears in the Bible. The most directly relevant passage in the Bible would appear to be Exodus 21:22:  “When two men fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact from him.” (Jewish Study Bible)  That passage clearly does not treat the unborn child as having status equal to a living human being.

The Catholic Church, Wikipedia explains, opposes all forms of abortion procedures whose direct purpose is to destroy a zygote, blastocyst, embryo or fetus, since it holds that “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”

Ideally, the woman who does not want to have a child either will abstain from activity leading to pregnancy or will use birth control. But there can be mistakes or coercion, or there can be unanticipated health concerns. The child may not come into an environment in which it can thrive. Furthermore, our planet is overpopulated already, and the resulting climate crisis threatens the future of human civilization.

So my request is that you issue a statement explaining that terminating a pregnancy prior to the viability of the fetus (the standard of Roe v. Wade) is not forbidden. Thank you.

Sincerely (etc.)

Feedback, please!

Love, Dave

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