Focus on rape, not abortion

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, February 04, 2005

Regarding Kris Reeves' recent letter to the editor (Empire, Jan. 28) and the insinuation that pro-choice people are pro-death, or that abortion is at all tantamount to "killing babies," I strongly disagree. As a woman, I believe as the ancients did, and as C.G. Hartley later composed: "Each woman must be free to make her own choice; no man may safely decide for her; she must give life gladly to be able to give it well."

Let's examine some truths about abortion: that it was legal in the United States until 1830, legal in Europe until the 19th century; and legal in the eyes of the church until the fifth month of pregnancy when the fetus was said to "quicken" and receive a soul. Abortion was never an issue in defense of life, but in defense of the soul, which the Greeks believed was conveyed in semen, as did St. Thomas Aquinas. Abortion was outlawed (and only after the fifth month) not because it was dangerous to mother or child, but because it was considered magically dangerous for men. If the fetus he conceived was destroyed, then the man himself would suffer spiritual injury according to the principles of magic. The Doctrine of Passive Conception later contradicted Aquinas insisting that a soul comes only from God. In 1869, the church again revised its teachings and Pope Pius X declared the soul was received at conception. Historically, the church was never opposed to abortion but to midwives. It is written: "No one does more harm to the Catholic faith than midwives." (Med-wyf, "wise woman" from the Anglo Saxon.) In order to destroy all wise or holy women in communities, church authorities banished women from practicing all obstetric care upon penalty of death. It is a fact: Women's health perished with those midwives.

In light of this country's grossly profitable pornography industry, which sexually abuses women and children; in light of sex-offending priests, skyrocketing rape statistics and staggering domestic violence in "appropriate" families, it is irrelevant that abortion offends some men.

In this country, 78 women are raped every hour. Until rape and sexual coercion are not enormous barriers to the free development of young girls and boys, abortion is a natural and necessary right. To anyone with fervent anti-choice beliefs, I suggest you first work to eradicate rape in every community before attempting any more legislative control over a woman's body.

Chris Joy


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