Ignorance isn’t bliss

There is an old saying, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” And yet, when it comes to the choices we make and how we live our lives every day, eventually we realize just the exact opposite is true. Even Scripture tells us that knowledge is a positive rather than a negative. The Old Testament prophet Hosea reminds us, for example, that God’s people “perish” for lack of knowledge.

The word “perish” in Hosea 4:6 can be taken literally in many ways. Firstly, since the Church exists to evangelize, what happens when Catholics haven’t been taught or don’t take the time to learn and embrace their faith? They often fall away and embrace practices that may harm and cost them their very souls.

Secondly, they can also engage in dangerous activities that can lead to serious illness, or worse. How many more reports, for example, do we need from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization to remind us of the epidemic proportions of sexually transmitted infections? How many of the warnings, however, are not shared with the average person who might believe that doing whatever they want sexually is “freeing” rather than truly dangerous in more ways than one?

Ignorance is definitely not bliss, despite what we hear in yet another old saying. This is painfully obvious in a new survey of post-abortive women. This particular survey, conducted by the website FemCatholic, posed questions pertaining to their personal experiences with abortion. It is one to share, review and reflect upon as we head into the annual March for Life in January and the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

These Supreme Court decisions gave us abortion on demand through nine months of pregnancy. Planned Parenthood, along with much of the mass media and the rest of the culture, wants us to believe that women truly “know” what they are doing when they have an abortion. We are practically hit over the head with the word or message of “choice.” Yet, more and more research shows us that women who “choose” to abort their unborn children didn’t realize they actually had a different alternative because they didn’t have or weren’t aware of information that could have changed their decision.

FemCatholic found, among other things, that women noted “a lack of practical information about the support available to young mothers.” According to a Catholic News Agency article, one respondent said that she desperately wanted but couldn’t find practical resources, information and inspiration when she was faced with an unexpected pregnancy.

“How can I finish my degree and be a parent? Where can I live? Can I continue in dorm housing? Are there other mothers out there with thriving careers who started out with an unplanned pregnancy as a single woman?” she asked.

As FemCatholic explains, this same woman said she came to the devastating realization after the fact that there was actually plenty of help available right on her college campus. It would have been enough to keep her baby and continue her studies.

“It makes me sick to think about it. If that information had been readily available, I would have a 10-year-old today.”

When it comes to abortion, what we don’t know can be a matter of life or death. With the largest annual pro-life event scheduled in Washington, D.C., right around the corner, there’s no better time to ask ourselves not only how much we really “know” and care about this issue, but also how much we’re willing to share.

Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio, and the author of “Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic” (OSV, $14.95).