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When Mother Teresa dared to tell a U.S. President that abortion is murder

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Robert Giroux | AFP

Mother Teresa, speaking before US president Bill Clinton, issued a stern rebuke to abortion rights advocates.

Zelda Caldwell - published on 09/04/21

Five years after her canonization, St. Teresa of Calcutta's bold words are needed now, more than ever.

With the passage of a new Texas law outlawing abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, the issue of whether a right to abortion exists under the Constitution has become the subject of intense debate.

It is fitting that on the fifth anniversary of her canonization, we turn to the words of Mother Teresa, who once, in the presence of a U.S. president, made the case in the most compelling way possible, that abortion — the law of the land in the United States — is evil. 

At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on February 5, 1994, Mother Teresa stood before President and Mrs. Bill Clinton, and Vice President and Mrs. Al Gore, along with 4,000 others in attendance, and called abortion “murder.”

Here is what she 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? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

“By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

She concluded her speech with words of hope, and a reminder that we are called to use our freedom for higher purposes than murder:

“If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak — the unborn child — must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!”

Watch a video of her entire speech:

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