Friday, August 11, 2006

Hurting Women

"...contraception adds a condition to the conjugal act. The condition is that the wife is not to become pregnant. Should the contraception fail, a wife cannot automatically assume she will have her husband's support. In fact, one of the first things I learned in tribunal ministry is the following: Domestic violence usually begins with an unexpected pregnancy.


As I mentioned earlier, most marriages that turn violent do so when the wife tells her husband that she is pregnant. This connection is particularly strong when the pregnancy ends in abortion. In some cases, abortion is the catalyst for domestic violence within the relationship. In others, abortion subsequently amplifies the violence already present. Additionally, domestic violence is not uncommonly the means by which a man coerces his wife or girlfriend into aborting the couple's child. After four years of tribunal ministry, this is still the most common scenario I encounter with abortion.

It is also the scenario I find the most pastorally challenging. Despite what many feminists claim, a woman seldom chooses abortion freely--that is, without external coercion. Rather, the decision is usually made under duress. Eventually, she will face the reality of her choice and find herself in need of the Church's help and compassion. For once her child is dead, the woman finds neither help nor compassion from the abortion industry."
-Pete Vere, JCL, "The Roots of Marital Failure,"

Lay Witness Jan/Feb. 2005

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