By Alex P. Vidal
“Come, let us kill him.”—Bible
I GREW up in a country that views abortion as a mortal sin. Nothing more, nothing less.
Belonging to the only Christian country in Asia for hundreds of years now, majority of the Filipinos would’ve clapped in unison the recent demise of Roe v. Wade if the Philippines were part of the United States.
Even while the Americans erupted in fury June 24 after the United States Supreme Court overturned the 50-year-old landmark decision which generally protected a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion, many Filipinos remained skeptical whether the SC’s 6-3 ruling overturning Roe v. Wade was a “tragic error” as described by President Joe Biden.
For the predominantly Catholic Philippines, Roe v. Wade was all about abortion.
When it comes to issue of abortion, the Catholic Church is firm; it is uncompromising.
No amount of semantics can change the true meaning of abortion according to the views of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church’s official teachings oppose all forms of abortion procedures whose direct purpose is to destroy a zygote, blastocyst, embryo or fetus, since it holds that “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.”
“From the first moment of his existence,” the Church argues, “a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
In other words, abortion is a mortal sin, according to the prelates and other high ecclesiastical dignitaries.
But Roe v. Wade, for many Americans, was deeper and more elaborate than the perspectives of the minority Catholics in America.
It’s more than faith and religion.
It’s also about health and science.
The main principle pro-Roe v. Wade advocates wanted to put forward was that women and men should have equal control over their own bodies, as many of them believed in 1973 and a majority believe until now.
They believed that without a right to abortion, women would be forced to make terrible choices, and the burdens might disproportionately fall upon poor and working-class women without the means to travel across state lines to receive the care they need.
Abortion will soon be illegal in around half the states now that Roe v. Wade is history.
There are fears that some women will be forced to give birth against their will; some will travel to states where abortion remains legal; some will have illegal abortions and some women will end up in prison.
“Some, facing pregnancy complications, will see necessary treatment postponed. Some will probably die,” wrote Michelle Goldberg in a New York Times opinion dated May 4, 2022.
“Post-Roe America will not look like pre-Roe America,” she added. “Before Roe, women were rarely prosecuted for abortion, though they were sometimes threatened with prosecution to get them to testify against abortion providers.”
American had actually anticipated the shocking verdict after it was reported that a draft opinion two months before the end of the SC session had been leaked.
In another New York Times opinion on the same date, Jesse Wegman called the leaked opinion as “a work n progress; t is dated Feb. 10, and it’s possible that one or more of the justices have since changed their minds, as sometimes happens as draft rulings and dissents are circulated.”
Before the leak came that caused a stampede of critical opinions among pro-Roe v. Wade advocates, the court has been reported to be chipping away at a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body, for decades, but the core holding of Roe v. Wade managed to survive.
On Friday (June 24), it didn’t.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)