Q : 
In the case of pregnancy resulted from rape, didn’t God grant each of us a free will? Rape is not the free will of the girl yet she is restrained by the church to keep the child. Shouldn’t a child be born of love?
【 Question from 】 Canada 加拿大

Fr. Francis : 

This is a very hard one, since it involves so much emotion. My answer below may seem inconsiderate, but I believe the inquirer here is asking for the rational reasons, and so that is what I will give first.

Abortion is always wrong, since the unborn baby is innocent. It is true that in the case of rape, the mother is a victim too. As well, it is true that the pregnancy and the baby could both be painful to the mother to endure because they remind her of the horror of the assault.

The Church therefore understands why her children sometimes choose to directly commit a moral wrong when under duress, or felt unable to choose otherwise. This does not make the teachings wrong. Rather, it points to the complexity of our moral struggles, and our desperate need for grace to live the full truth.

The crime of rape is evil. And no one should ever be subjected to it, nor be subjected to its prolonged effects unnecessarily. But at the same time, the crime of killing an innocent life is equally evil, especially for one who is voiceless, powerless and defenseless. Solving one pain by causing another pain does not help anyone.

Studies show that abortion has a profound psychological impact on the mother. St. Teresa of Calcutta called it a double murder.

In the case of rape, abortion also does not help with closure for the mother. She would always wonder what may become of her child. On the contrary, some would identify the aborted child with all the evil of the event, short of identifying the child with the rapist. But the wound will always be there until the mother is able to forgive . But now with the abortion, another guilt is there to block forgiveness, because the mother will find it even harder to forgive herself for ending an innocent child of hers.

Many people commit abortion because they think they have no other choices. The reality is, there are also many who are more than willing to adopt unwanted babies, and no one would give them any. As far as I know, many Christian and even non-Christian organizations today are working hard to provide pregnancy support to women who sincerely believe they have no other choices. Those who choose to seek help find that they have new courage to carry their baby to term, sometimes to give them away to others who can care for the child, and sometimes find new grace to embrace the previously unwanted role of motherhood.

The question for you and I is rather: with such a shortage of labourers in this ministry today, with so much hostility against the pro-life movement today, what will you and I do to help so many unwanted babies and their parents to find a true solution, a solution that will lead to true freedom and is truly life-giving?

Lastly, to answer your questions on free will and love directly.

While it is true that we are given free will, it does not mean we have the freedom to choose or reject reality. We simply have no control over many things that are permitted to happen to us. True freedom lies not in choosing what we want in the expense of others; true freedom lies in given what is before us,, we choose to do what is right, what is loving, what is life-giving. To do less will turn freedom into selfish absorption. One’s aspiration, however grand, must never take priority over the legitimate needs of those come knocking at our doors. That is not the Christian way, and it does not lead to true freedom . Just think about it, if every person is only open to do what he or she aspires to do, and is set to get rid of whatever that is in the way, including aborting unwanted inconveniences, what will this world turn into?

And being able to love is a choice. We suffer many evil in our life, but often good comes out of it. When suffering and pain is unavoidable, when there is nothing we can do about it, we must choose to do something *with* it. A blind person, like myself, may find it is his rights to curse his life and blame his doctors and others; or he may choose to accept the evil situation and make the best out of everything else he can still do. A rape victim, I understand, may find for a time unable to bear the sight of her pregnancy or the sight of the baby. But years later, or nay, even just after delivery, knowing that she has chosen not to terminate this innocent life, she would know that she can choose to love even what seems to be the fruit of an evil act.

If whenever something evil happens, we tell ourselves we cannot choose to love anymore, then evil truly has conquered us. But if evil happens, and holding on to the mercy of Jesus, we choose to love with Christ, even our enemies, let alone his child, then evil is conquered.