Statement on Abortion

Written by The Very Rev. Robin L. Holloway, OCC, Abbess of Saint Brendan's

Endorsed as an Official Teaching Document of the Church of the Culdees by
Bishop Ivan MacKillop, OCC

The moral stand that the Church of the Culdees takes on abortion is very simple and straightforward: Abortion is the taking of a human life, made in the image of God. Therefore, the only circumstance in which it can be considered is a direct threat to the mother's physical life and health by the continuation of the pregnancy. However, we realize that no moral stance is taken in a vacuum, we live in a real world with real people in real pain and confusion. Our stand is simple, but not simplistic, we acknowledge the very strong pressures acting in our society that persuade women to terminate their pregnancies, even when, if given an option, they would prefer not to. The strongest and most persuasive of these arguments is that abortion is an issue of women's freedom and equal rights. Abortion is seen as the crowning achievement of the feminist movement, total control over our own reproductive capacities. My contention is just the opposite, rather than the zenith of women's freedom, abortion, as it exists in this country, as an industry, is the final capitulation, the submerging of the female into the prevailing masculine, patriarchal culture.

What abortion says to women is this: If you want to be equal in this society, if you want to keep your jobs, get promotions, retain your scholarships, your places in school, maintain relationships, you must be like a man. You must not require this society to change in any way to accommodate the fact that you are different. If you want to be equal you must be the same as those who make the rules, you must not be inconvenient, you must not make trouble, you must abide by rules made without your voice being heard. Most of all, you must be willing to kill that which makes you different, you must be willing to participate in the assimilation of your own gender.

Women will never be equal in this society, or any other, until everything that a woman is is accepted and valued by the society. This society is set up on a masculine model in its government, its businesses, its schools and its families. A woman entering the workforce or the educational system is expected to live and work according to the written and unwritten rules of behavior that were made with no regard for the unique nature of being female. It is not wrong to state that the genders are different, it is obvious that they are, and the drive for gender uniformity has done great harm to women. It is only wrong when those differences are used to repress and subjugate people of either gender. As human beings men and women are equal in value, to God and to society, but we are not the same. We must learn to celebrate our differences, rather than use them to abuse each other.

It is obvious that twenty years of abortion on demand have done little or nothing for the position of women in this country. The epidemic of violence toward women is increasing. The real status of women is seen in the plague of sexual harassment even in the highest levels of government. Women on television and in movies are still often only there as sexual objects and/or victims of violent and sexual crime. Any woman who walks down the street in broad daylight in fear knows the real place of women in America. While I am not naive enough to believe that all this can be laid at the feet of the abortion industry, I do contend that the abortion mentality plays a significant role in the devaluing of women. The abortion mentality is the attitude that women, and the qualities and values of women that differ from those of men, are disposable. These range from a girl letting a boy win a game because he would get mad if she won, to a woman getting an abortion she doesn't want because her husband threatens to leave her if she won't. If women were truly equal and valued, there would be no women staying in abusive marriages because they have been convinced that they have no choice. Women have been convinced to see themselves as of lesser value, that their wishes are not as important, that they must give in.

This abortion mentality pervades our society, in a guest opinion in the "Springfield, News", Sally Carmody Keeny, State Coordinator for Feminists for Life in Oregon, wrote, "Most apologists for "choice" are well aware that abortion destroys an innocent human being...By placing all the emphasis on choosing, rather than the activity being chosen, abortion-rights activists have obscured the fact that women are sacrificing their own children in a desperate bid for justice." Even those most in favor of abortion agree that it is the taking of a human life. They just feel that they have the right to take that life. In a society that claims, as ours does, to be enlightened and humanitarian, this attitude is dangerously hypocritical, amoral and fascist. Women are not only sacrificing their children, they are sacrificing their humanity, and rejecting Divine reality, and society encourages them to do so because it is easier than dealing with the fundamental injustice of our culture. Ms. Keeny closed her column with these words, "There is a profound loneliness behind the belligerent defiance of the new abortion rights rallying cry, 'Who decides?' it is the desperate loneliness of a woman with her back to the wall, and it is not surprising that she would resort to the violence of abortion as a way out. We are painfully aware that gender injustice is a reality. There can be many problems for a woman carrying an unintentionally conceived baby. We need to help her attack those problems, not the baby."

Enabling and empowering women to attack the problems, not the children, is the position taken by the Church of the Culdees. Abortion is a great evil in our society, with consequences that are far-reaching and mostly unexplored. Life and death are in the hands of God, when we usurp Divine privileges we can only do harm, not good. As a society we must make decisions that honor God and honor God-given human dignity.

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