Matt C. Abbott
'The UnChoice'
By Matt C. Abbott
June 24, 2009

I received the following e-mail from the Elliot Institute in response to my June 16 column:

    'Maybe clergy and others who are reluctant to speak about abortion and related topics would be helped by some of the materials and research at

    'Thanks to slogans, snap judgments and sound bites, few Catholics realize that most abortions are unwanted or coerced — including deceptively, falsely or negligently informed — and that forced abortion is a reality in America.

    'Misleading stereotypes about 'choice' close the hearts of many toward this issue. When people are presented with 'The UnChoice' message — when they come to understand that abortion is an injustice, abuse and risk to many women and girls (not all, but it's surprisingly prevalent), and that the aftermath of these often unwanted abortions for them is heartbreaking loss, grief and a significant risk of injury and death — this is often a less controversial bridge to this issue.

    'Many women and girls who wanted their children have been or are denied authentic and fair choice in the conventional understanding of the term. Others were denied accurate information and authentic support before abortion. Examples abound, including pregnant women threatened with the loss of their jobs or homes, and women and girls who were subjected to forced abortions or victims of physical violence, murder or the threat of murder (homicide is the leading killer of pregnant women).

    'No compassionate society, regardless of political views, can overlook this injustice, which is often more akin to abuse, non-disclosure, fraud or wrongful death than it is to 'choice.' This important new perspective — backed by a growing body of academic research and other evidence — is often lost in the political rhetoric over abortion and continues to endanger both babies and mothers.

    'Coerced and unwanted abortions are a moral issue in their own right and can be addressed in a way that expresses sympathy for teens, women and family affected or at risk of unwanted, coerced, deceptively informed or forced abortions; and those affected by the aftermath of abortion, which may involve the death of the mother as well. Research has found that suicide rates are 6 times higher among women who have had abortions compared to those who carry to term. Death rates from all causes are 3.5 times higher.

    'Many families among us are hurting or at risk. This includes individuals and families whose pain has been dismissed, misjudged, or even condemned, which might be the 'last straw' for some. There are families among us who have lost a daughter or loved one to pregnancy- or abortion-related abuse, botched abortions or post-abortion death or suicide. The risk of despair or suicide is a clear and present danger for many among us. Preliminary education about unwanted, coerced or forced abortions and post-abortion risks, while keeping in mind those among us who may be at risk or are grieving the loss of a loved one, is important.

    'Priests and all compassionate civic and religious leaders can shed light on all aspects of this issue and its harm and danger to both the unborn and women.

    'Thanks for your excellent columns on important, but seldom-discussed, issues.'

Responding to the same column, Tonchi Weaver of Rapid City, S.D., wrote:

    'One of our dear Polish priests had the courage to deliver [a strongly pro-life] homily on Respect Life Sunday in January. At a dinner later that week, I saw Father Janusz and told him how much I appreciated his temerity and clarity on the subject. He told me the most wonderful thing happened that day when the children came up to the altar steps for their special collection. He knelt down to receive the children's offerings in a large wicker basket when a little girl put her head on his shoulder and gave him a hug. He said he almost cried. Me too, when I realized it was my four-year-old granddaughter. She told me 'Father needed a hug.' Sometimes children hear His voice more clearly than adults do. God bless you and all those who defend the innocents.'

Florence Sebern of Denver, Colo., sent me a copy of a letter to the editor she recently submitted to The Denver Post (slightly edited):

    'Interesting that the non-negotiable, foundational issues of the Church were so quickly put into a box and the lid tightly closed. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput hosted an immigration forum on Saturday, in a church venue. Standing loud and proud with Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), avidly and publicly pro-abortion, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who has a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record according to, the archbishop spanned the abyss of non-negotiable, foundational Church teaching to have a public 'kumbaya' moment in the name of immigration reform. The 54 percent of Catholics who voted for the most pro-abortion president to ever sit in the White House were affirmed.'

Joellyn Soler of Andover, Minn., sent me the following (slightly edited) e-mail:

    'I want to thank you for your strong stand for life. I was arrested in Minnesota outside of Planned Parenthood last fall and spent nine hours in jail for the first time in my life for being falsely accused of 'assaulting' someone with holy water. It was a fabricated story by an 'escort' of Planned Parenthood; he confessed to another pro-life counselor that I didn't do anything to him — after they hauled me to jail. So I've been there and I wear the 'holy water terrorist' title with pride. I should have contacted the media right after I was released, but they have a way of making us look bad.

    'It is ridiculous what some people will do to intimidate us. Thank you to every pro-lifer who has ever been jailed for the cause of saving even one life. I applaud you all, and please know that as a convert to the Catholic Church my receiving the Eucharist (Jesus) everyday is the greatest gift I could ever want and has seen me through many dark days. Without the Eucharist I could not fight this fight; I know it. God bless you all, and keep the faith, the real Catholic Faith. His truth is marching on!'

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


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