Supporting the rights of the unborn Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Oct. 02, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

When I taught religion at Beloit Catholic High, I invited pro-life speakers to give talks. I especially remember a pro-life doctor who described the tragedy of aborted babies. During his talk, he wept. Each tear convinced us that he truly believed that unborn babies were persons. Aborting them was destroying human lives.

Tears flowed from the eyes and hearts of committed pro-lifers when on January 22, 1973 in the Roe v. Wade decision the Supreme Court legalized abortion. Their ruling made it legal for mothers to abort their unborn baby.

The Church position on life

In no. 2270 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, "From the first moment of existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person . . . among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." The Church's position, which recognizes the individual as human from conception until death, is supported by natural law.

At the 28th World Youth Day closing Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis requested that parents of a child born anacephalic participate in the closing Mass. As they presented the offertory gifts, they carried with them their priceless daughter. Although doctors had pressured the parents to abort their little darling, they welcomed her as God's gift. This took courage and love.

Deacon Greg Kondra of the Brooklyn Diocese described how a young mother filled out forms to have her baby baptized. After she'd finished, he asked her why she'd left several spaces blank.

After a long pause, she said quietly, "I don't know who the father is. I was raped."

The deacon apologized and said that what she did was courageous.

"Well," she replied, "It's life. You do what you have to do."

At the Baptism, this mother held her baby with tenderness that revealed her deep love for her baby. She welcomed and loved her child because she cherished the priceless gift of human life.

In late August, a proud father, encouraged by their unborn baby's mother, captivated millions when he posted an ultrasound picture of their unborn baby giving "a thumbs up." The couple will name the baby Fetus Fonz. Giving a thumbs up was Fonzie's trademark on TV.

Efforts to protect life

I once heard a lady named Mrs. Brown speak in Collegeville, Minn. She worked at a pregnancy crisis center and counseled pregnant girls considering abortion. She showed each expectant mom a picture of a miscarried fetus, played a recording of an unborn baby's heartbeat, and showed each an ultrasound picture of her unborn baby. Often the expectant mother decided to give birth.

Today, pro-life organizations are working and praying to get improved ultrasound machines into crisis pregnancy centers. Their experience testifies that when mothers considering abortion see their unborn baby's ultrasound picture, listen to their unborn's heartbeats, and receive counseling many change their mind and give birth. Then the pro-life counselor encouraged them to keep their baby or give him or her up for adoption.

Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests For Life, said, "We destroy more human lives by abortion in one year than in all the wars of our nation's history. Since Roe v. Wade, there have been more than 56 million abortions. This was roughly the population of our country in the 1870s. There's an abortion in our country every 26 seconds and 3,300 a day."

Supporting the unborn

Today in America, there's a battle between objective and subjective morality. We represent life in this battle by urging our elected representatives to support legislation that protects the unborn and by supporting a human life amendment. We support life by telling women who grieve because of an abortion about Project Rachel, which helps them heal through counseling, prayer, and forgiveness.

We support the unborn by telling others about ministries that work with expectant mothers considering abortion and encourages them to choose life. (Recently, I talked with a worker from Platteville's Clarity Counseling Pregnancy Clinic that has saved lives by doing this.)

We can pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of the unborn, participate in the 40-day pro-life vigil, or spiritually adopt unborn babies. Our parish, diocese, Catholic newspaper, and the Holy Spirit share other ways to support the unborn. Since the unborn cannot speak for themselves, we must defend their God-given right to be born.

We can educate Catholics and others on abortion's evils and pray the family Rosary. Parents can encourage their children to choose life in little ways so that they're able to choose life in bigger ways if they're ever tempted to abort.

St. John Paul II stressed that children are the hope of the future. However if their lives are snuffed out in the womb, unborn babies have no earthly future. The battle for their rights will be long and hard. But the unborn are so precious that Christ would have died for even one of them or one of us. Let's pray daily for the grace of perseverance to continue to choose and respect life.

Fr. Don Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.