Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in America. For Catholics, and for many other Christians, today is a day of penance and prayer for the victims of abortion and for an end to abortion in America. The March for Life is taking place
today Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C., and we can expect many thousands to participate in that, as is the case every year. For bloggers, Jill Stanek is holding her 3rd Annual Ask Them What They Mean By “Choice” Blog Day. I hope that my fellow bloggers will participate.
When the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down, it was, of course, big news on television. I was only five years old, but I remember it. I remember the decision being announced in a news bulletin and I remember how distressed my mother was. I asked her, “What’s abortion?” She said, “It’s horrible. It’s just a horrible thing.” She never told me what an abortion is. It was quite possible, back in 1973, for a kid in rural Kentucky, where I live, to grow up not knowing what an abortion is. Those days are long gone, but that was the reality for me.
High school was the second place I heard the word “abortion” mentioned. I heard through the grapevine about a girl my age who had a legal abortion. Whether that was true or not, I don’t know, but I mention it to point out that abortion was a scandalous thing, back then, at my high school. Now that I have kids of my own in high school and in junior high school, things are much different. It is still scandalous here, but it is no longer something that teenagers might never have heard about. Abortion has, sadly, become a part of America’s culture, if not Kentucky’s culture. The pro-choice group NARAL rates Kentucky with an “F” on their legislative grade report, for good reason.
The third place that I heard about abortion was from an adult friend who happened to be my best friend who confessed to me that she had had an abortion essentially against her will when she was a teenager. Her boyfriend had pressured her into the abortion, and she had accidentally seen the ultrasound image of her unborn child during the procedure. She told me that had she known “what was in there,” she never would have had the abortion. She was consumed with agony that she had done this to her own child. Eventually, she took her own life. Abortion is not listed as the cause of her death, but it should be.
The fourth place that I heard about abortion was when I converted to Catholicism and was taking instructions in the Catholic faith in preparation for my baptism. Even though I had heard about abortion previously in my life, I had never heard about it from the perspective of the unborn child. It never really took hold of me before I heard it from that perspective that abortion truly is the taking of a life. I was so appalled that I signed up to volunteer for crisis pregnancy counseling in my diocese.
No matter what you may have heard about abortion before in your life, I ask you to consider this from the point of view of the person in the womb. No matter what you may think about abortion, it is the taking of human life. It is murder of the innocent. Since the Roe v. Wade decision, there have been over 55 million abortions in America. The largest abortion provider in America is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has murdered more than 6 million children since 1970 and receives taxpayer funding. President Obama brings the president of Planned Parenthood along to church with him. What a schizophrenic thing to do.
It may seem that the odds are stacked against us, but through the peaceful outreach of education, legislation and pastoral care, the pro-life movement has helped to close 1500 abortion clinics since 1991. Despite the best efforts of some, abortion is becoming less available and less desirable among women. It is time for our nation’s laws to reflect the pro-life views of America, manifest in a pro-life movement that is growing.
On the other side, there is growing awareness that “choice” means the murder of children. Perhaps this is why the pro-“choice” movement is calling now for a change in terminology.
On January 9, with carefully controlled fanfare (no press release, hand-picked reporters), Planned Parenthood announced it was abandoning the term “pro-choice.”
America is not so schizophrenic to continue to push the truth under the rug, and our opponents in this debate are apparently keenly aware of that reality, even if they are not keenly aware that they, like the biblical Pharaoh and the biblical Herod, are leading the cause for the murder of the innocents in order to maintain their station in the halls of power in our country.
We not only can turn back the tide in the culture of death, we ARE turning back the tide in the culture of death. There is much more to be done, though. We cannot be content with gradual changes when so many are being slaughtered, and so many women’s (and men’s) lives are being destroyed from the inside out as they face the reality that they have participated in the deaths of their own children. Despite our success in turning back the tide, we need to work harder to turn off the floodgates by banning abortion, once and for all. As long as our country is one where it is legal to directly and willfully murder the most innocent among us, we will continue to suffer the consequences. One in five pregnancies ends in the direct and willful murder of the child, sometimes with government funding, and always with government approval. If America is to have a culture of life, America must reflect that in her laws.
Here are some things you can do that reflect the three-pronged effort of the pro-life movement: Legislation, Education, and Pastoral.
- Pray for an end to abortion, especially on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Like the Passionist Nuns, you can offer all of your prayers, works, joys and sufferings with Jesus in asking for an end to abortion.
- Support PersonhoodUSA which seeks to end abortion in America once and for all, through legislation that acknowledges the protection of all “persons” under our Fourteenth Amendment. Encourage all candidates for office to support personhood. If your candidate for office does not support personhood, educate him/her on this issue. Governor Rick Perry is an example of a politician who changed his mind on this issue after being educated on it, and who now recognizes the importance of personhood.
- Donate to, or volunteer at, your local crisis pregnancy center. Make sure it is a pro-life center. Visit OptionLine to find one.
- Support pro-life educational activists and resources such as Live Action and Jill Stanek.
- Like the Passionist Nuns, you can support post-abortion healing ministries like Rachel’s Vineyard.
Much has been done. More needs to be done. May God help us all in our efforts to heal America.