There is hope for the pro-life movement Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

Recently I greeted a young pregnant mother by saying, "Hi to both of you." Her smile told me that she acknowledged she was carrying an unborn baby, not just a glob of tissue.

Weeks later I met her proud husband, their beautiful baby boy, and the baby's admiring little big sister.

In a pastoral letter marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Denver's Archbishop Samuel Aquila said that as a young hospital orderly, he experienced the results of two abortions.

The archbishop cried, "I witnessed the death of two aborted babies who never had the chance to take a breath. I can never forget that," he said. "I have never been the same."

Roe v. Wade decision

The January 22, 1973 U. S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision in practice virtually legalized abortion on demand. It condemned to painful deaths without trial more than 60 million babies, often for the crime of inconvenience. This equals the population of some countries.

The Roe v. Wade decision gave the mother power to choose life or death for her unborn child. It took away the right of the unborn child to be born; consequently the term pro-choice is inaccurate.

Fundamental rights

In no. 2273 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, "The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals, nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by the creative act of God from which the person took his origin.

"Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard, every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."

Signs of hope

Since Roe v. Wade, the battle for the unborn's rights has been long, hard, and sometimes discouraging; but there are signs of hope.

In the March 2016 Columbia magazine, Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles Chaput said that 43 years after the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion, pro-choice leaders are annoyed and baffled that pro-lifers haven't gone away.

Archbishop Chaput stated that during unfavorable weather every January in the March for Life, pro-lifers keep coming, increasing, and getting younger. Vatican Radio estimated that 500,000 participated in the 2015 March for Life; others put the number higher. Each year, too, more non-Catholics participate.

The archbishop added that today's young people may differ from previous generations in many ways, but taking innocent life isn't one of them. He prays that this fact may be the beginning of a new, better culture that respects life's sacredness at every stage.

Another reason for hope is that many pro-life clinics offer the sonogram, which shows pictures of the unborn baby whose humanness cannot be denied. Often when a pregnant couple considering abortion see a picture of their unborn baby, they change their minds and decide to give birth. Most grandmas and grandpas too don't want to see their grandchild aborted.

Support, encouragement

We Catholics have a responsibility to support those who choose to have their baby. We can encourage pregnant couples considering abortion to visit a pro-life pregnancy center. In our diocese, pro-life clinics include Platteville's Clarity Clinic, Madison's Women's Care Center, and Beloit's Stateline Pregnancy Center.

These clinics offer free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and confidentiality, which often attract struggling low-income expectant mothers considering abortion. Pro-life clinics seek to help low-income couples by providing counseling, diapers, food, and more. They also point them towards other resources where they can get help.

For men and women who suffer from the psychological and spiritual effects of abortion, we can point them towards Project Rachel.

Each day offers us opportunities to support the pro-life cause. Let's respond in whatever way we can.

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