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RE: State-sanctioned murder (CI Dec 2013).

The implication made by Janet Smith in her article "State-sanctioned murder" is that pro-lifers who support laws setting a gestational limit beyond which abortions would be illegal are being like Herod, "advocating the deaths of the younger and the saving of the older."

Just last week, I had occasion to speak to a Catholic priest precisely about the gestational controversy among some Catholic pro-lifers. Interestingly, this priest also analogized the issue of gestational limits on abortion to the story of Herod's slaughter of innocent children in Bethlehem.

As the priest reminded me, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Jesus and Mary and flee into Egypt so that Jesus would not be killed by Herod. Janet Smith omits this very important part of the story.

Joseph would stand no chance of success were he to stay behind and fight Herod's army. It was a battle he could not win--but he could save one baby--indeed, was called to save one baby.

It is crucial to note that today in Canada abortion is legally permissible, and in fact virtually fully funded, for the entire duration of pregnancy. The "Herod" we Canadian pro-lifers face is a culture that, as a whole, does not recognize the inherent dignity of preborn children and will go to great lengths to prevent the issue from even being debated in Parliament. In every aspect of society--legal, political, judicial, medical, media, academia, etc.--pro-lifers encounter obstacles. We cannot win against this "Herod" at the moment (i.e. we cannot save every baby from abortion). But public opinion is onside when it comes to restricting abortion. That means (because we live in a democracy) we are in a position to save some babies.

Joseph's flight into Egypt did not cause the deaths of all those innocent children in Bethlehem--Herod's wicked ness caused that. Rather, Joseph's actions saved the life of one baby boy--a baby boy who surely would have been killed by Herod, in addition to all the other innocent children, if Joseph had failed to act.

Pro-lifers who attempt to save as many preborn babies as possible by advocating for legal restrictions on abortion are not like Herod; they are like Joseph.

Barbara Maloney

Nepean, Ontario

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Author:Maloney, Barbara
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:May 1, 2014
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