The child needed one more day to survive!
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Everything was done so that Agata could decide to kill her unborn child. It was only one day left to make the abortion; the next day it would be illegal. 12 weeks mean about 3 months. This is a normal stage of child’s growth – it has been formed, prepared for its next phase of foetal development and then coming into the world. We know that a conceived child is a human being since no other formula can describe a child. A human being is conceived inside another human being; man begets man. Lord God gives the conceived human being immortal soul, which is revealed e. g. in the genetic code – every man is has a separate code and because of that he or she is himself/herself; is unique, cannot be repeated; has his/her own identity. That was true of Agata’s child but the child was not simply lucky. If something had happened and there had been one day delay, the child would have gained ‘a reprieve’ – the right to live. Till that moment the law did not want to protect the child although it had been conceived and had been a human being. Before God it is a human being with an immortal soul and personality. It is paralyzing to see how human consciences, which allow killing innocent creatures, are manipulated. I remember one letter that was sent to the editorial board of ‘Niedziela’ concerning the moratorium on abortion, which has been signed by almost 14,000 people. The letter was written by a doctor who made an abortion but who realised the meaning of his deed and warned his colleague, ‘It is a murder!’ It must have been a dramatic experience because he wrote to us and described the case several years later. I think there are many people who have had similar experiences; there are mothers suffering from the post-abortion syndrome; there are those who have advised to ‘abort the foetus’. From the moral point of view the Church regards the act of killing an unborn child as a serious crime in the light of God’s law and the natural law. No civil law that authorises killing the unborn is important to the Church – this is a case of abusing the law. What opposes the law of God and the natural law can be treated from the moral point of view only as what it deserves. Therefore, canonically speaking the killing of the unborn child – which is commonly defined as abortion – has certain sanction. According to the canon law, a person who actually procures an abortion incurs an excommunication, i.e. received special ecclesiastical penalty – exclusion from the Church. Excommunication concerns the mother who aborts her child as well as the doctor and all those who collaborate with him, and those who advise the killing. In a word, all those who have participated in any way in the killing of the child incur an excommunication. An ordinary priest cannot give absolution to such a person. Only a priest who has been appointed by the bishop can do that. The ecclesiastical penalty is very clear. The only question left is what about the journalists, people of the media who – as it was clearly seen in this case – contributed to the killing through their articles and created an atmosphere opposing the natural law and man’s morality. The Church has not worked out a straight answer concerning the question but we are aware of the huge responsibility. The journalists’ aggressive suggestions that incline people to criminal actions are certainly serious sins and grave transgressions. Perhaps some of them claim to be Catholics – it would be a serious blow to the Church. So the qualification of the canon law is very decisive and unambiguous and nobody should seem to think that advice concerning abortion given to a woman is meaningless. It is of great importance. The Church must tell how a Christian, a Catholic, should behave in a situation when people want to decide about the fate of some unborn child who has already existed, who has the right to live and for whom God has a concrete plan of salvation. We should be reminded of property rights. An unborn human being has property rights – after being born the child could inherit (after its father or mother) properties and in the future the child could decide about its last will. Therefore, our law is very inconsistent since on the one hand, it grants property rights but on the other hand it allows abortion, which simply means killing. The abortion was conducted in the clinic – as the media reported – indicated by the Ministry of Health. This is not only a tragedy of Agata and her family. This is a tragedy of all of us who can see how people can make laws to achieve certain objectives. No situation obliges man to kill an innocent child. This child could have been born and there would have been people who wanted to bring it up. But the only condition was that the child had to be born. Unfortunately, the child was not lucky – it needed one more day to survive!