A guest article by the Chairman of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Ermi Stetter-Karp, who is also a member of the Presidium of the Synod Process, was recently published in Zeit. She called for “ensuring that medical intervention for abortion is feasible in all areas.”
superficial presentation mentality
We want and must strongly oppose this requirement, which relates to the recent decision to delete Section 219a of the Criminal Code (the prohibition of advertising of abortion). By deleting paragraph 219a, physicians can now explain the offer and publicity of performing abortions. The additional political requirement mentioned above to secure effective access to abortion in Germany in the future presupposes that abortion is a medical service that must be available everywhere and at all times and to which an individual is entitled.
Ultimately, demand is based on the idea of a superficial supply mentality, where an equitable (area-wide) distribution is the critical criterion—without focusing on the commodity. Everyone should have equal access to the service, even though abortion is an injustice because it causes the death of a defenseless person. However, not only according to the Christian, but also from the legal point of view, abortion is not a legitimate benefit at all, but in most cases it is an illegal procedure that remains unpunished. It is only legal in exceptional cases.
From an ethical-theological point of view, the targeted killing of a child in the womb is one of those actions that should not only be criticized, but always remain wrong, even if the wrong is based on understandable motives in individual cases.
In the twentieth century, talk of “a bad deed in itself” fell into disrepute to the moral theology of the German-speaking world and was only accepted again as a legal category when cases of sexual abuse became known in the Church: unconditional protection for minors and vulnerable adults (beyond that of protection) must be guaranteed. of sexual violence) always and unconditionally. The same should apply to the fetus.
Self-determination of the right to life
Ermi Stetter-Carp talks about the equality of a woman’s right to self-determination and her right to life. However, the right to life is actually subject to self-determination. However, for a woman who may feel compelled to abort under tremendous internal or external pressure, this self-determination is just a fantasy. We see a very similar problem in other areas of the right to life and human protection, where autonomy is used as an argument. The danger is that people are left almost alone and left to their own devices rather than doing everything humanly possible to help alleviate suffering and remove obstacles to a dignified life.
Precisely for this reason, the Church strongly opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide. The argument for evaluating abortion as a lesser evil than the potential psychological limitations and challenges of a woman during pregnancy and the birth of an unwanted child is also not sufficient, because it presupposes that killing a child can be a lesser evil than living with it. The child, even in unstable conditions.
Instead, parents sometimes report pain and guilt even years after the procedure because they intuitively feel that the procedure wasn’t just a trivial one. Here again the argument against the short-sighted point of distributive justice emerges: only the good which corresponds to justice and thus the good can be distributed comprehensively in the moral sense. Maternal protection is cited as an argument against the child’s right to life, particularly in relation to the aforementioned right to self-determination. However, freedom always ends with the freedom of others. Freedom must always aim for the good if it is not arbitrary. The fact that the child does not yet realize his freedom and cannot demand it himself is not a sufficient argument, for we understand the freedom of man not only as freedom of action, but as an intrinsic freedom and thus as an intrinsic quality, that is, as one. With a closely related person’s property.
Not everything is freedom
If a person is unable to use this on their own, as in a case of serious cognitive impairment, if they are no longer able to perceive it as in advanced dementia, or if they are not yet able to defend themselves like an unborn child, then this requires Advocating the intervention as legal intervention in the sense and in the interest of the person. The desire for freedom, self-determination and the longing for a successful life are inherent in man. However, like justice, successful freedom is also connected with what is good for people, and this is not arbitrary.
Not all human needs can be justified by the legitimate desire for freedom. In particular, the protection of life and the bodily integrity of the individual must be opposed to all efforts that want to sacrifice the right to life of the weak for the sake of a liberal understanding of freedom inconsistent with what is good and just.
It is consistent with this reasoning, and in defending the dignity of the individual, every effort must be made to provide women who are pregnant, unintended, or in need of pregnancy, the full support they need.
One should never leave mothers (and fathers) alone when they are feeling overwhelmed, overwhelmed by fears or not seeing any prospects for a successful life. Since not only their unborn children, but also themselves are particularly vulnerable, they deserve not moral promise, but compassion and active solidarity, in the hope that they will eventually be able to make a decision about their child in spite of all adversity.
Mothers should not be left alone
The Congregational Path set itself the task of protecting the most vulnerable in our society, especially children, better than in the past (also in the Church). Unconditional protection of minors from sexual abuse is a necessary and urgent social and ecclesiastical concern.
The protection of unborn children, who are absolutely dependent on the loyalty and solidarity of their mothers, should be a matter close to our hearts.
It is necessary to provide comprehensive support to pregnant women, counseling and, in particular, assistance in order to improve the condition of women who experience conflict during pregnancy. The great importance of practical support and encouragement from relatives, friends and employers cannot be overstated. Therefore, a renewed “welcoming culture” towards children should be pursued as a social goal.
The guest article in Zeit also supported the political demand that abortion be part of normal medical training in order to ensure the best possible offer for this “service” nationwide. How does this fit into a medical art that is inherently intended to help and heal?
The promise not to give a person lethal drugs if they wished, such as not to give abortifacients, has been part of the Hippocratic Oath for thousands of years. It would be a perversion of the medical profession to make abortion a mandatory part of the school curriculum and thus infringe even the freedom of conscience of future doctors. It is clear that advocating for the protection of vulnerable people without discrimination appears to be a Christian duty at present, and must be conveyed unambiguously as one of the priority concerns of the “Congregated Path”. Obviously, this applies in particular to members of the Executive Committee. The four authors are members of the Synodal Assembly of the “Synodal Path” of the German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK).
The four authors are members of the “Synodal Path” of the German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK).
This article was published with permission from Die Welt.
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