If Mother Teresa was alive today, she would be turning 110. I’ve long admired the faith, compassion, godliness, and determination of this woman. But recently, I learned something new that was a little surprising but made perfect sense when considering her character: Mother Teresa, along with all of her other firm beliefs, was adamantly anti-abortion.
When you consider her compassion and kindness toward the very least of these, Mother Teresa fixing her eyes on unborn children as another group in need of serving and protecting is to be expected. In honor of her birthday today, I simply want to share a portion of her speech from the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast, one of the most iconic instances of her taking a firm stance on the side of the unborn:
But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because Jesus said, “If you receive a little child, you receive me.” So, every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus — is the neglect of receiving Jesus.
It is really 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, her free time, to respect the life of her child. For the child is the greatest gift of God to the family because they have been created to love and be loved.
The father of that child, however, 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, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That — So that 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 one another, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
The beautiful gift God has given our congregation is to fight abortion by adoption. We have given already — We have given already from one house in Calcutta, over 3,000 children in adoption. And I can’t tell you what joy, what love, what peace those children have brought into those families. It has been a real gift of God for them and for us. I remember one of the little ones got very sick, so I sent for the father and the mother and I asked them: “Please give me back the sick child. I will give you a healthy one.” And the father looked at me and said, “Mother Teresa, take my life first — then take the child.” So beautiful to see it. So much love, so much joy that little one has brought into that family. So pray for us that we continue this beautiful gift. And also I offer you, since our Sisters are here, anybody who doesn’t want the child, please give it to me. I — I want the child.
I will tell you something beautiful. As I already told you, the abortion by adoption — by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: “Please don’t destroy the child. We will take the child.” So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: “Come, we will take — take care of you. We will get a home for your child.” And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child. But I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said, “Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me.” By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus.
Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.
Happy birthday, Mother Teresa. Thank you for all you did to show the love of God to the unloved, including the unborn. May we all live with the same conviction and kindness.