2005: Free Choice or Freedom of Choice?

Monday, 02 May 2005
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Free Choice or Freedom of Choice?

A new phenomenon is beginning to shake up long-held opinions at the heart of Canadian society. More and more women who have been hurt by abortion are rising up to speak out about their suffering. 1 They do so generously, hoping to help others avoid the difficulties that they went through. Their message is clear: they made the wrong choice. Children are not the only victims of the abortion mentality prevalent in our society. Their mothers are also victims of the abortion culture.

On the occasion of the National March for Life 2005, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) invites Canadians to dare to listen to what these women have to say. After more than 35 years of a progressive trivialization of abortion and the death of hundreds of thousands of future Canadians, it is time for our country to take a long hard look at these past choices.

A free choice is a choice for life

When one speaks of choice, one must also speak of freedom - it is a value of utmost importance! Experience has shown that, too often, the mother who chooses abortion does not find the freedom she sought. Instead, she becomes a prisoner, locked in her own fear and ignorance.

She fears for the future and receives no psychological, moral or financial support from her partner, family or friends. No one helps her marvel at the intra-uterine development of her child, and no one warns her about the possible consequences that the abortion might have on her own health. She believes she is making a free choice by aborting, but too often finds herself overwhelmed by suffering and guilt.

Abortion: society’s failure

A necessary realization must take place: abortion is a failure of society; an obvious sign of our inability to respect and welcome all of those little lives on whom our future depends. The time has come to dare to listen to these courageous women who are speaking to us - sometimes 10, 20 or 30 years later - about the negative impact that abortion has had on their lives.

By sharing their experience with us, they describe the “post-abortion syndrome” that led to emotional, psychological and moral suffering. Some of their responses to this suffering were drug and alcohol abuse, destructive relationships, depression, suicidal thoughts - anything to numb their pain. They also tell of the negative consequences that abortion had on their physical health: sterility, cervical cancer, problems with other pregnancies (miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, etc.)

It is a very worrisome reality when we consider recent figures from Statistics Canada: 52% of the 105,154 therapeutic abortions in 2002 were done on women in their twenties, and an average of 26 out of 1000 women in their twenties has had an abortion.

A question of justice

The personal and social costs of abortion should convince us of the rights of women to 1) know the possible consequences of abortion on their health; 2) be informed of fetal development before their abortion; and 3) be provided with other options.

It is a question of justice for these women, without even mentioning the unborn child and his or her right to be born. It is also a question of social policy, because Canada is confronted with a growing demographic decline - a birth rate of 1.5 children per woman of childbearing age - and the rapid aging of our population.

Pregnant women in difficulty need alternatives to abortion, positive and constructive solutions that favour the welcoming and blossoming of life. We must encourage the creation of services that are adapted to their needs and support those services that already exist: counseling, homes for pregnant women, adoption at birth, help from a friend or relative for an undetermined amount of time to raise one’s child without losing custody, or “adoption” of a pregnant woman and her child during the pregnancy and after the birth in order to provide moral and financial support.

It is important to go beyond the incoherence of the current Canadian law that recognizes, on the one hand, the necessity of protecting the embryo (Law on Assisted Human Reproduction) and, on the other hand, authorizes abortion at any stage of the pregnancy.

Certain voices in Canada are now seriously questioning the consequences of abortion on our society. COLF is one of them. Time has come for Canadians to overcome their taboos and dare to begin a new societal debate on abortion. Our future is at stake.

1 Many groups now help women living with the post-abortion syndrome. Here are a few examples: