Now consider Gianna Molla, an Italian doctor who was told that if she didn’t have an abortion, she would die. These days, we call that the “health of the mother.”
In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying. . . . The life was saved. . . . She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain.
A few days before the child was due. . . . she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain . . . . the mother died. She was 39 years old.
We’ve seen all this stuff before. The language and ideas in today’s debates about the dignity of human life from natural birth to natural death are all familiar terms and ideas. In the 20th century, individuals and nations have made choices about these matters. Some choices were beautiful and anchored in the deepest unselfish love. Only the hardest hearts can ignore these examples.
Other choices come from the blackest evil with all the trappings of practicality and common sense. Pay close attention to how evil was justified in the past. You’ll know what it looks like in the future.