Where does true freedom lie?

| April 16, 2016

Meet Maria. She is a twenty-year-old woman from Uruguay who is post-abortive.

On the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) website, they share her story.

Its title: “Abortion in Uruguay, a common experience surrounded by stigma.”

In brief, Maria and her boyfriend got pregnant at the age of nineteen. Soon after she realized that she was pregnant, she decided to get an abortion, which is entirely legal in Uruguay. IPPF spins Maria’s story as a tragedy in regard to the stigma that surrounds abortion in Uruguay. I will agree with IPPF that Maria’s story possesses tragic elements – but not because of the stigma IPFF speaks of, but because Maria said this:

“I had an abortion because I thought it was the right thing to do. It was traumatic because of the pain I felt, the physical and emotional pain. I felt alone even though I wasn’t. But I just had to do it…”

And then she said this:

“It’s about defending women’s freedom to decide when to have a baby. I do want. I’m dying to have a child but I don’t want, I can’t have a child right now.”

Is that what freedom is? Feeling like you had to get an abortion? Maria equates freedom to the liberties a citizen has in regard to the state. In that sense, she is right in saying that legal abortion is a freedom, as the state is not restricting that particular activity. However, I am not willing to accede to Maria and IPPF that definition of freedom, as equitable to liberties from the state. That definition of freedom seems to deny the spiritual aspect of humanity. It reduces us to a function of manmade law, while conjunctively denying any sort of natural law or Creator.

St. John Paul the Great once said: “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do as we ought.”

In exercising her “right to choose,” did Maria experience true freedom?

“But I just had to do it…I’m dying to have a child but I don’t want, I can’t have a child right now.”

It does not sound like it to me.

True freedom lies in Christ’s death and resurrection; it lies in the ability to pursue our Savior regardless of our outward or inward circumstances. True freedom lies not in having some state-conferred right to choose an abortion because positive law allows for it, but in choosing life because it is something we ought to do.