Last week the liturgical year began with the first Sunday of Advent. A time to sanctify our own temples waiting for the birth of Jesus. At this time in Korea, the church and the world are concerned about the abolition of the abortion law and those in opposition are geared up for a fight. A religious sister writes in View from the Ark on the issue.
The Bioethics Committee of the Bishops has made clear the position of the Church. Despite the clarity of Christian opposition to abortion Christians are not agreed on the evil of abortion. More than half of the people in Korea think the law against abortion should be abolished. In a poll that was made by a survey of 516 men and women aged 19 and older nationwide 51.9% said the law against abortion should be abolished. 36.2% wanted the law continued and 11.9% didn't know. 59.9% of the women wanted the law abrogated and 30.1% wanted it continued.
"None of the women who had an abortion were ignorant of the sanctity of life. Of course I think that abortion should be reduced. Women suffer considerable stress and psychological distress because of abortions. The problem is that abortion is a crime. Because abortion is illegal women are punished and women's health is jeopardized." These are the words of an activist wanting the repeal of the law.
There is a sharp confrontation between the right to life of the fetus and the right of self-determination of the woman. Sister does not think it is a matter of choosing or giving up either one of them. It is the state that is responsible for life and safety of the people. Care, protection, and respect for the weak and the marginalized lives that are innocent and unable to protect themselves are the common interest of the nation.
What is necessary now is not to have a change in the law but rather to find ways to strengthen the responsibility of the state and men. The church also should consider ways to provide more practical and concrete assistance to problems faced by women so they are allowed to cherish the lives of the unborn.
The church is now carrying out a prayer campaign to gain a million signature to oppose the abolition of the abortion laws. We need to participate in this prayer movement so we can find the will of God, the master of life in the culture of death that is so prevalent in our lives and consciousness.
During this season of Advent, we are waiting for the birth of Jesus and thinking of the Blessed Mother and her response to the angel. She was prepared to be God's servant. She overcame all her fears to participate in God's work of salvation. Her constant and strong trust should find a place in our hearts during this season.