Friday, April 1, 2011

Abortion and Russia

Just finished reading He Leadeth Me, by Father Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. It is the story of his twenty-three years in Soviet prisons and labour camps in Siberia. But it doesn't read like an autobiography; rather it is a spiritual chronicle of learning to trust God in every moment, in every situation. Not difficult to read, as some spiritual books are.

I found it recommended on the blog Conversion Diary as essential Lenten reading and I highly recommend it. If you wonder how you can do God's will in your own mundane life, this book is a great asset.

Near the end, Father Ciszek makes a reference to abortion, the only place in the book that it is referred to. Of course, this piqued my interest since I have read several articles about the common occurrence of abortion in Russia. (The average Russian woman has five abortions.)

From the book:
How could you explain the larger evils of communism? These people knew of the terrors of Stalin's time; practically everyone in our group had a friend or a relative or at least knew of someone who had been to the slave labor camps of Siberia. Where was the system's much vaunted "humanity" then? Or abortion. Just take abortions. Here in our little town alone there were fifty-six abortions daily - just check the official statistics - and what about the rest of the Soviet Union? Is that any way to foster humanity?
Abortion is legal in the Soviet Union. Anyone who wants one can have it performed. The government says it had to be legalized in order to prevent private abuses. The wages of husband and wife together make it hard to support more than one or two children, so everyone wants an abortion. Yet the question haunts them. The hallways of the clinics adjoining the abortion rooms were full of posters, not praising abortion but informing patients of the possible detrimental effects on both mind and body such an operation could have. The doctors, mostly women, and the nurses and other personnel would try to dissuade patients from the operation. Women confided years later that they could not rid themselves of feelings of guilt about it. And these were not "believers", but women and girls who had received a complete atheistic education in Soviet schools.
Even for communism, it is a basic question of life and death, of wrong and right. If life at its very root can be treated so lightly, people would say, who is going to stop such a mentality from spreading? Society? Hardly. Society cannot even handle properly its present problems of crime and other social disorders. And when a society actually endorses evil, where will it end? Can man alone be trusted to solve mankind's problems? Look at history, and the depths to which civilized countries have sunk, time after time.

Father Ciszek spent from 1940 to 1963 in Russia and he would have been in this particular locale of Abakan in the late 50's.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I have always found Russians to be extremely honest about abortion. I've read articles describing abortionists dissuading the women from having abortions.