Abortion for Those with Mental Health Issues?

As pro-lifers fully immersed in John Paul II’s culture of life, we diligently seek to promote life for every single conceived person. We do so, because we are compelled to see the person of Jesus in each and every human being, no matter how small or large they are, or for how long they have been in existence. Why? Because the human person is created in the image and likeness of God.

What happens though, when we are faced with a young woman tormented by a distracted way of thinking that is destructive, unhealthy and is clearly a mental health issue? Do we suddenly find ourselves thinking that it is okay for a pregnant mother in such dire circumstances to abort her baby? Is the law correct in this instance?

The New Zealand Crimes Act, 1961 reads:

“For the purposes of sections 183 and 186, any act specified in either of those sections is done unlawfully unless, in the case of a pregnancy of not more than 20 weeks’ gestation, the person doing the act believes—

a. that the continuance of the pregnancy would result in serious danger (not being danger normally attendant upon childbirth) to the life, or to the physical or mental health, of the woman or girl;”

Some would argue that yes, our law is correct. That no one who suffers so much mental anguish should be made to carry the child to term. Some believe that by ending the pregnancy, the woman’s mental state will somehow be saved, or the torments somehow diminished.

But we know that abortion is not going to end the mental anguish. We know because countless women have shared their pain after having an abortion. We know because countless more suffer alone, silently blaming themselves and grieving for the little one they have lost.

So what do we do when we are faced with a woman suffering terrible mental torment? Our hearts go out to her, and the wee baby she carries beneath her heart. We wonder about their future. When family issues come into play and there are so many angles of the situation to look at, with so many agencies and people involved how do we manage? When the pressure is on because we are the only ones who will stand strong behind the mother and encourage her to stick with it, what do we do to ensure that she will deliver safely? How can we assist her to implement a plan that will work for her and for her new baby and her extended family? How do we alleviate the stigma that goes with an unstable person giving birth to a probably sick baby?

We PRAY like we have never prayed before. We LOVE like we have never loved before. We WORK like we have never worked before. We become the hands and feet of Christ to the mother in her great hour of need. We show love and acceptance of her little baby who is born for God’s own special purpose and we go the extra mile day by day, sometimes hour by hour, to do the right thing—to love and protect both mother and baby.

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