Sarah Grace McDonald
November 27, 2020
Father Ted Colleton Scholarship program 2020/2021
The Consequence of the Lack of Moral Absolutes
When Saint Gianna Molla was pregnant with her fourth child, a tumour was discovered in her uterus. Although it was the riskier option, St. Gianna rejected abortion, choosing instead to simply remove the tumour in order to save her baby. She said, "if you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child.” This decision ultimately cost the saint her life. (Catholic Online) This notion of heroic self-sacrifice is alien in our society. According to Campaign Life Coalition, over 4 million children in Canada have been victims of abortion since it became legal in 1969. The womb has become the most dangerous and unprotected place for a child because of society’s rejection of moral absolutes. The near total lack of moral absolutes in society endangers unborn children because it has created a culture where sex has become trivial and sacrifice and personal accountability are no longer valued.
Modern society’s tendency to reject the idea of moral absolutes has left children in the womb defenseless against abortion. Society teaches that what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. We are expected to choose what feels good over what is morally sound, and we are condemned if we judge someone else by our own moral principles. The rejection of absolute morality lowers standards in society. After all, what would those standards be based on if goodness and morality are subjective? Who are we to tell someone else they are wrong because they do not fit our idea of what is right? The moral relativism that society preaches, however, is not consistent with reality. In the absence of moral absolutes, who could argue with the evils committed during the Holocaust? No one would say that the systemic extermination of six million Jews was morally acceptable. But the only way that action could be considered wrong is if there was indeed such a thing as absolute morality- that an action by its very nature could be intrinsically right or wrong. The rejection of this truth allows people in society to choose comfort over character, selfishness over sacrifice, vice over virtue, and what is easy over what is right. The refusal to judge an action based on universal ethics means society has lost its sense of sin and integrity has become a matter of personal discernment with nothing to guide it except our own desires.
The rejection of moral absolutes has contributed to a culture where sex is treated as a trivial form of amusement, and the virtues of chastity and self-control are discarded in favour of satisfying lustful passions. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, society has increasingly marketed sex solely in terms of entertainment and pleasure. (Belshaw) Instead of being understood as an expression of love and self-gift in a committed relationship, this view of sex has normalized society’s enslavement to its sexual desires. Ironically, however, that which those who acknowledge sin recognize as enslavement, society proclaims as an expression of liberty. This is obvious in the prevalence of pre-marital sex as well as in the common notions of “one-night stands” and “friends with benefits” in modern culture. Sexual promiscuity is a cultural issue. Casual sex on its own, however, would simply result in an increased number of pregnancies and births outside of marriage, and is not responsible for the culture of death surrounding children in the womb.
Casual sex coupled with the fact that sacrifice and personal accountability are no longer valued has resulted in unborn children being seen as a problem to be disposed of by means of abortion. Pregnancy and children are seen as undesirable by-products of intercourse. If the woman is unable or unwilling to care for her child, if her child is abnormal or disabled, or if the circumstances of conception were perverse, the child’s right to life is considered inferior to the woman’s choice in the name of “bodily autonomy”. Women are taught that terminating the life of their unborn child is not only permissible, but even praiseworthy. Actress Michelle Williams was applauded during her acceptance speech at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards when she stated, “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose.” She sacrificed the life in her womb in exchange for her career, and her decision was celebrated. (Precious Life) In a world that exclusively champions the career and views motherhood as incompatible with success, children are scorned and their lives are endangered.
Not only is this perversion of values a result of the lack of absolute morality present in our culture, but it also echoes a false claim made in society: women must choose between motherhood and having a successful career. It is absolutely possible to be a mother while maintaining a successful career, however it requires a level of sacrifice that many in society are unwilling to make. They would rather sacrifice the life of their child than their own desires and comfort and are reluctant to hold themselves accountable for their actions. According to a 2004 study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, 74 percent of women surveyed stated one of their reasons for obtaining an abortion was that having a child would interfere with their education, work, or ability to care for dependents. Yet early feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s seven children did not prevent her from advocating for women’s rights and suffrage with Susan B. Anthony. (Schnittman) Justice Amy Coney Barret, recently elected to the Supreme Court of the United States (Baker), and January Donovan, author and founder of The Woman School (The Woman School), are modern mothers of seven who also prove that motherhood is not incompatible with a successful career. Because unborn children have no voice of their own, they are easily taken advantage of by society’s lies. Few are willing to admit that there is such a thing as absolute morality. That there is such a thing as sin. That sex should be saved for marriage, and that under no circumstance is it okay to kill an unborn child just because its parents don’t want to be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. As long as these truths are suppressed by society, children in the womb will continue to be abused and killed in the name of “freedom”.
It should come as no surprise that the womb has become the most dangerous and unprotected place for babies in a society that recognizes virtually no moral absolutes. The plight of the unborn is unlikely to change until society’s values and perspective change. As long as personal enjoyment and freedom are seen as the ultimate gods, an unborn baby’s right to life will be undermined by the parent’s rights to avoid responsibility and inconvenience.
Baker, Vicky. Amy Coney Barrett: Who Is Trump's Supreme Court Pick? 27 Oct. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-54303848.
Belshaw, John Douglas. “9.17 The Sexual Revolution.” Canadian History PostConfederation, Pressbooks, ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/histpostconfederation/chapter/9-16-the-sexual-revolution/.
Catholic Online. “St. Gianna Beretta Molla .” Catholic Online- Saints and Angels, Catholic Online, www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=6985.
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Finer, Lawrence B., et al. Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives, Guttmacher Institute, 3 Feb. 2020, www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2005/reasons-us-women-have-abortions-quantitative-and-qualitative-perspectives.
“Pregnant Michelle Williams Boasts about Her Abortion during Golden Globes Speech - News.” Precious Life, Preciouslife.com, www.preciouslife.com/news/816/pregnant-michelle-williams-boasts-about-her-abortion-during-golden-globes-speech/.
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