Pamplona, Spain -- Confronting abortion: commitment to the weakest
The new abortion law approved in Spain provoked the University of Navarra to issue a public statement on December 15. It pointed out that “scientific advances now offer us data that was unknown during a good part of the 20th century,” and it asked, “How courageously has our society responded, in the university and in the political and economic realms, to this new knowledge?” The statement was signed by the deans of the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Science, and Pharmacy, and by the director of the Hospital of the University of Navarra. After expressing its support for women with unexpected pregnancies, it said among other things that “knowledge is a right possessed by everyone,” that “the life that is beginning concerns three people” and that “a society that protects the weak is strong.”
Following is a translation of the full declaration, entitled “The University and Life,” which many educational institutions later endorsed.
As a result of the new abortion law in Spain, the deans of the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Science, and Pharmacy, and the director of the Hospital of the University of Navarre wish to share a calm reflection on this complex reality that transcends the limits of our country and the times we are living in.
We rejoice that humanity has made so much progress throughout history, among other reasons, because we have made so many mistakes. All of us bear responsibility before history, and 2009 could mark the beginning of a milestone, such as in its time was the abolition of slavery and that hopefully soon could be the defeat of hunger and poverty.
We recognize the suffering of many women confronting an unexpected pregnancy. They need the support that can only be given by people with real understanding, and there are many such people. The defense of these women makes demands on our conscience, and our compassion reminds us that another human being shares in this tragedy, in an even weaker position. Scientific advances now offer us data that was unknown during a good part of the 20th century. How courageously has our society responded, in the university and in the political and economic realms, to this new knowledge?
We refuse to solve the tragedy of an undesired pregnancy with the greater tragedy of an abortion. We refuse to incorporate abortive techniques into the content of education. We are committed to forming professional people who seek to cure, to advance knowledge, to help.
We are eager to make available to all women the knowledge and education they require. Knowledge is a right possessed by everyone.
We want a pregnant woman to never find herself alone. But the father and the child are also important. The life that is beginning concerns three people.
We want the political struggle and legislation to strive to defend the weakest, the child and the mother. A society that protects the weak is strong.
We want to help parents who are unable to care for a child to find others who can and want to do so. This is solution for two problems.
We want to see the historic triumph of a courageous humanity that overcomes abortion as it overcame slavery.
We want men and women to make decisions today that our children can applaud tomorrow. We can transmit more than we inherited.
We want to see medicine, nursing, biology, pharmacy, and the university as a whole in an alliance for life.
History will judge our complicit passivity or our commitment to solidarity with the weak. Today is the day for change in Spain, in Europe, and in the world.
Pamplona, December 15, 2009.
Romana, No. 49, July-December 2009, p. 351-352.