Abortion as Domestic Violence?

Herein I will use The Scholastic Method, which St. Thomas Aquinas employs in his Summa Theologica. It is judicious in that it respects opposing views and insists on the use of right reason in order to refute them.

Objection 1.  Abortion is not an instance of domestic violence because it is approved by such a large percentage of the population.  Public Opinion could not be wrong on such an important matter since people have had an abundant amount of time to think and reflect on it.  Public Opinion is critical for the election of people in high office.  As Napoleon ha s stated, “Public Opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.”

Objection 2. Abortion, in nearly all cases, is freely chosen.  It exemplifies a freedom of choice that is a natural right, one bestowed on human beings by God Himself. Therefore, what is ordained by God cannot be misinterpreted as an instance of domestic violence.  It is a woman’s right to control her body in an atmosphere of freedom.

Objection 3: Society could not be more strongly opposed to domestic violence.  Educated people including the highest placed leaders in the country deny that abortion is an instance of domestic violence.  It is incredible to think that so many responsible and well-meaning leaders could err on this point.  Domestic violence is an abomination.  Abortion is a free choice that has the support of law and the approval of the country’s leaders.

On the contrary:  Abortion is clearly an instance of domestic violence.  It is indisputably a violent act that ends the life of an unborn child.  It is domestic in that it transpires between mother and her unborn child, usually with the approval of the father.  The very essence of domesticity is violated when abortion takes place.  Abortion is a destroyer of domestic tranquility.

Reply to Objection 1. Public Opinion cannot be used as a moral standard.  It is arbitrary, unreliable, and, as history has plainly shown, it shifts from one contradictory position to another.  It cannot serve as a replacement for truth.  Public Opinion is continually falling out of fashion.  It is not something that a person can build his life around.  As author Grantland Rice has stated, “A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.”

Reply to Objection 2. The purpose of a person’s God-given freedom is to do the right thing, not to do anything whatsoever.  No one had the right to destroy the life of an innocent person.  God issued the Ten Commandments to command us to choose what is good and refrain from choosing what is evil.  The ultimate purpose of freedom is to choose what is good. Freedom is not self-justifying.

Reply to Objection 3.  Something is true not because someone said it is true, but because it conforms to objective reality.  It is well known that people can be blind to certain truths.  History supplies us with an abundance of examples of this kind of shortsightedness.  “Scotosis” is the word the  Greeks had for describing intellectual blindness.  “Cognitive dissonance” is a modern expression that refers to rejecting the truth of something because it is either too painful or too embarrassing to accept.  Moreover, people can reject truth itself, thereby replacing it with whatever happens to be fashionable at the moment or personally convenient.

Avatar photo


Dr. Donald DeMarco is Professor Emeritus, St. Jerome’s University and Adjunct Professor at Holy Apostles College. He is is the author of 42 books and a former corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Life.  Some of his latest books, The 12 Supporting Pillars of the Culture of Life and Why They Are Crumbling, and Glimmers of Hope in a Darkening World, Restoring Philosophy and Returning to Common Sense and Let Us not Despair are posted on amazon.com. He and his wife, Mary, have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.  

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage