A MORAL DILEMMA FOR KNIGHTS
The Knights` Ontario State Council passed a resolution at their 1997 state
convention stating that no monies would be given to hospitals that execute
abortions. This resolution, although receiving the convention delegates`
overall consent, did not meet
with unanimous approval. In fact, it created great controversy in some
circles in addition to some heated negative reactions directed at the State
Council`s Pro-life chairman.
Although it is easy to understand some people`s initial angry response to
such a drastic proposal that would see much-needed private funds withheld
from the exceptional life-saving work performed by those hospitals offering
abortion as a medical service, an
objective analysis of what really is at stake here seems to justify such an
uncompromising stand on the part of our Order.
One has to start with the fundamental premise that abortion is the killing
of a human being. It is, as our Holy Father has often described it, an
abomination - a crime that should rank among the most hideous in history,
because it destroys an innocent
defenseless child made in the image of its Creator. If we accept this dual
biological and spiritual argument, it becomes difficult to square it with
acceptance of abortion in a hospital context. Certainly this is the
underlying reason abortions are and should
never be allowed in Catholic hospitals.
What would be the reaction of citizens at the news that a reputable hospital
was performing infanticides by destroying newly-born babies with serious
physical and mental handicaps? Although there are revelations about an
increasing occurrence of such cases done for both eugenic and economic
reasons, I believe there still exists a sufficient level of revulsion for
such acts that hospitals known to practice them would be blacklisted by any
family-oriented organization such as the Knights of Columbus.
What if assisted suicide of the terminally ill, the sick elderly, the
accident victims in a permanent comatose state were to be accepted as acts
of compassion that are part of the patient care and treatment offered by a
hospital? Would it matter that such
deliberate acts of murder have been declared legal (a likely prospect,
considering the present public leaning towards the legalization of
doctor-assisted suicide, albeit with "strict guidelines")?
In a strictly rational context, it makes no sense to refuse on the one hand
to contribute financially to hospitals that perform procedures of
infanticide and non-voluntary euthanasia on the sick elderly - accepting
that the hospital is offering essential medical services that could suffer
from the withdrawal of one`s financial support - while, on the other hand,
implicitly saying that pre-natal infanticide is insufficient justification
to refuse giving charitable donations to these same hospitals
because it would hurt the same medical services.
This is the difficult dilemma facing those public-minded Knights in our
midst who resent the abortion activities of hospitals they are donating to
that, otherwise, are performing invaluable services for their patients.
In defense of those who would like to see charitable financial efforts of
the Knights directed entirely away from institutions performing or promoting
abortion, it can be said that the dollars contributed by charitable church
organizations like ours - which
might number in the tens of thousands - are minuscule compared to the truly
astronomical piles of money contributed by governments and also private and
corporate foundations. Realistically, their loss would contribute very
little to a significant impairment of
hospital services in general. But, what a powerful statement it could make.
The moral and ethical considerations of contributing moneys to hospitals who
commit abortions and to world humanitarian organizations like UNICEF which
actively promote family planning in the Third World through abortion and
sterilization, is one
clouded in many minds by the great benefits they can bestow on sick and
destitute people. It is one nevertheless which all of us must answer for
ourselves with full cognizance of what good or evil actions our monies (as
little as they may be) could be