Pope Benedict said today that abortion is not a fundamental human right.
The 80-year-old German Pontiff told diplomats and representatives of international organizations that Europe could not deny its Christian roots because Christianity had played a decisive role in forging its history and culture.
“It was in Europe that the notion of human rights was first formulated. The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself,” he said in an address at the former imperial Hofburg Palace.
“This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right — it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society.”
As an American I’m not an expert on European religious views but I understand that there’s a much larger pool of atheists and agnostics there than in the United States. That’s ironic since, as Benedict says, Christianity built Europe. (And the U.S., too, of course.)
Abortion is available in the first three months of pregnancy in Austria under legislation similar to that of other Western European countries, many of Catholic tradition.
Personally I’m glad to see the Pope leading from the front and calling abortion out for what it is, a form of cultural suicide. There’s nothing more sickening than a late-term, partial-birth abortion and I was glad to see the U.S. court rule properly on the subject earlier this year.
From a legalistic point of view, however, the Austrian rule makes sense to me.
Abortion is nothing less than the ending of a life. As such, it’s a travesty when used for non-emergency reasons, i.e., those of convenience. Nevertheless it is a procedure that should be available to couples:
- for a limited period of time after conception, as defined by local norms
- when consented to by both parents in cases not involving rape and/or incest, or by the mother in cases of abandonment
Despite my own feelings, I think we should implement the Austrian time period limitation here in the States. We should also ensure that men’s rights are protected.
The Pope and the progressives would both be extremely unhappy with this outcome, a sure sign that it’s in the ballpark of being right.
Cross-posted at The Van Der Galiën Gazette.