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Shocked out of complacency: Abortions only at Planned Parenthood Print
Guest column
Thursday, May. 19, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

Guest Column

I must make an embarrassing confession: I am a complacent pro-lifer.

I never thought of myself this way, but it is true. And I have proof.

Abortions only

Beginning May 2, 2016, the Planned Parenthood abortion facility on Madison's east side began providing only abortion services; it will no longer provide screenings or dispense contraceptives.

Although Planned Parenthood purports that performing abortions accounts for only three percent of the services it provides to women, the organization will manage to only perform abortions full-time at the Orin Rd. location, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

That means that every car in the parking lot at Planned Parenthood represents someone seeking OR providing an abortion.

My heart hurts. The grief that this news brings me convicts me: are things worse now?

Why weren't we more upset?

The Catholic Church faithfully teaches that life begins at conception. One way that hormonal contraception works is to thin the uterine lining, which can make it impossible for new life to implant there. This can amount to an early abortion.

Why wasn't I more upset before, when Planned Parenthood was sending young women home with brown paper bags filled with contraceptives to aid and abet risky decision-making?

Why wasn't I more upset when only some women -- just not every woman -- came out limping after her abortion? Her loose-fitting pants were a dead giveaway of why she came to Planned Parenthood.

Leaving complacency behind

There you have it: I am a complacent pro-lifer. But I am resolved to leave complacency behind because I am not a helpless pro-lifer.

When 40 Days for Life -- the international campaign of 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil, and community outreach -- came to Madison in 2007, it brought a beautiful approach to becoming God's instrument in order to end abortion.

By praying silently on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, I can bring about the conversion of hearts -- my own heart, the hearts of abortion-minded men and women, and the hearts of those in the abortion industry.

Furthermore, when I am there present, up to 75 percent of women will not keep their abortion appointments! From the sidewalk or from home, I can amplify my prayers with fasting.

Powerful alternative

When the Madison Women's Care Center (WCC) opened across the street from Planned Parenthood several years ago to offer material support, counseling, and free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to abortion-vulnerable women, it provided a powerful alternative to abortion. By directing women bound for Planned Parenthood across the street to the WCC, I can spare men, women, and children from the ravages of abortion.

No, I am definitely not helpless. I know what to do and when. Vigil for Life, the pro-life volunteer group that puts on the 40 Days for Life campaign each fall, coordinates a year-round peaceful vigil in front of Planned Parenthood each business day, now each abortion day.

I've been shocked out of complacency. What about you?

Laura Karlen is the Vigil for Life Madison Board President. Visit or contact Laura Karlen at 608-445-2064 for more information or to schedule your vigil hour.