Alternatives to Abortion
1) Abstinence – Delay beginning to have
sexual relations until you are old enough to accept the responsibilities
that go along with such actions. Sexual intimacy with another person
at too early an age carries with it strong pressures, confusion…and the
loss of a youth that has its own special gifts, irretrievable once lost.
Abstinence does not mean not having friends. But it does mean placing limits on oneself, ones impulses, and on those around you. Learning limits, control of ones impulses and delayed gratification are all critical parts of growing up. The alternatives are 40 - year old adolescents. “The greatest freedom is the freedom to limit oneself.” Sex is pleasant, easy and natural – actually a gift from God. But at the wrong time it can disrupt a life…and destroy another human life if abortion is resorted to.
2) Responsible sex should be engaged in when there is a commitment between two people…not commitment for a one-night-stand, but for a one-life-stand. And even here, much research has shown that co-habitation before marriage substantially increases the likelihood of divorce later. Sex can always produce another human being, your son or daughter. Are you ready to take responsibility for that human being? This pertains also to a married couple. The following is from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, USCCB Publishing, Washington D.C, 2005, Sec. 234: “The judgment concerning the interval of time between births, and that regarding the number of children, belongs to the spouses alone.”
3) If an unexpected pregnancy occurs, it is the responsibility of the couple to prepare for the birth and for the upbringing of that human being – from conception to adulthood. In that process, they may need help beyond the ability of their families. There is plenty of such help available, especially from Catholic organizations devoted to that end. But abortion is always terribly wrong, an act of desperate killing that is never right – except to save the life of the mother…a very rare circumstance.
4) Adoption. Ultimately, parenting is more about loving relationships than about genetics. With that understanding, adoption is comparable to natural birth parenting. For in both cases, “the best interests of the child” is the controlling principle. And the carefully considered act of giving up a baby that you are not prepared to care for properly is a great act of love, as is the acceptance of such a human life.
Peter Moore, PhD George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.