Destroyers of peace: Connection between abortion and other kinds of violence Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child — a direct killing of the innocent child — murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

The world was shocked to learn that hundreds of people — many of them women and children — were killed in Syria on August 21 reportedly by the use of sarin gas. In the past two years, it has been reported that over 70,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war — and that might be an underestimate.

Millions of babies aborted

However, in comparison, there have been over 56 million unborn babies killed in the United States by induced abortions since 1973, when the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in this country.

So far in 2013, there have been over 828,000 abortions performed in the U.S., including almost 44,000 after 16 weeks of gestation ( According to the Guttmacher Institute’s report as of July 2013, about four in 10 pregnancies have been terminated by abortion in our country.

Violence begets violence

It is clear that violence begets more violence. It’s a vicious cycle. Not only do unborn babies die in an abortion, but their mothers suffer physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds from abortion. Besides the abortion itself, women seeking abortions experience a high rate of violence and abuse from their partners, according to a study by University of Iowa researchers (reported by

Audrey Saftlas, a University of Iowa professor of epidemiology and lead author of the study, said, “Women seeking termination of pregnancy comprise a particularly high-risk group for physical or sexual assault. In our study, almost 14 percent of women receiving an abortion reported at least one incident of physical or sexual abuse in the past year.

“These findings strongly support the need for clinic-based screening with interventions. These high-risk women need resources, referrals, and support to help them and their families reduce the violence in their lives,” Saftlas added.

Unfortunately, many abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood Clinics, do not ask women whether they are involved in an abusive relationship, said a representative of the Silent No More Campaign.

Persuading with love

Women involved in abusive relationships may not realize that they have other alternatives for themselves and their unborn children. Mother Teresa said, “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love . . . Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

There are signs of progress in “persuading with love,” such as the decreasing numbers of abortions in our state. Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL) reported that there was a 4.4 percent decrease in Wisconsin abortions in 2012. Barbara Lyons, executive director, said this “is fantastic news for babies and their mothers who choose life for them.”

Lyons attributes this decrease in part to WRTL’s strategy to educate young people, women most likely to have an abortion, and the general public about the value of life; to refer women to resources to help carry their babies to term; and to provide leadership for public policy reforms which protect women, unborn children, families, and taxpayers.

Also helping “persuade with love” are efforts such as Vigil for Life, the Women’s Care Center, and Pregnancy Helpline in Madison, along with outreach programs in many parishes and communities through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities, and the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison to assist families in need.

We will only achieve true peace when we do not sanction the killing of unborn children or violence of any kind. Let us pray and work to replace violence and hatred with peace and love through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace.