Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - This year 2008, is the fortieth anniversary, only a few days ago to be exact, of the approval of the famous Law 194 which de-penalised abortion in Italy. An anniversary on which there is little to celebrate. Direct abortion, whatever the case, is always suppression of life. A fragile, defenceless life in need of care and protection is suppressed by those who are expected most effectively to defend it.
To de-penalise an action means to lift the legal punishment it deserves. On no account does it mean recognition of that act as something legitimate or good. From this point of view a high level philosophical and juridical debate as to whether or not the law has the power to declare an intrinsically evil action, 'de-penalised' would be interesting.
Abortion will always be evil. An existential drama for millions of women who are never, not even after decades, completely healed of the trauma of ending a human life. Because to end a life, especially a life which is growing inside one's own womb, is contrary to nature. A destructive act against the life of 'another' and against one's own life, psychological balance, and moral and spiritual existence.
With Law 194, too often society has saddled women with the grave burden of abortion. As often happens in certain ideological and feminist circles, in actual fact conservative themselves, on the grounds that the woman is being left totally free to decide about herself and about her body, (remember the slogan: “this is my body, and I manage it ”), in actual fact she is being left totally alone.
If it is obvious that on no account can the life growing in the mother's womb be considered “part of the mother's body”, this is amply demonstrated by modern genetic science which, never more than in the case of abortion, has reached a point in recent years where it can potentially confirm the classical thesis on life and the genetic irreducibility of the embryo. The latter has its own genetic code and is therefore another person, different from both mother and father. A person, whom no one may take the liberty of killing.
If we refuse with conviction any sort of drift in government ethics, with equal realism it is necessary to recognise the limits of government power, which cannot go against reality and justice, not even when it is democratically supported, and, at the same time, it is necessary to assess with great prudence the “pedagogical effects” of this law, which can determine first and foremost a mentality and successive behaviour. The point of departure is not the revision of Law 194, but a re-thinking of it would be a point of arrival, unless there exists some “legislative dogma” of which we know nothing.
What is truly urgent then, is the education of a people, a united and convinced response from all of society's best forces which must go back once again to educating and in this perspective, to educating to life. In a devastating prophecy, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta warned that the world will never be rid of wars long as abortion is practised. If this is really the only way to stop wars, what better opportunity for all the pacifists to demonstrate their love of peace? (Agenzia Fides 29/5/2008)