This is the meat and potatoes of a talk given to high school students. Personal stories were interspersed throughout the talk but this represents the message of the talk.
I have often found that when Catholics speak about the atrocity of abortion they seem to just give a lecture on abortion rather that speaking about the atrocity of abortion in relation to God’s love. I know as Catholics we are not often that familiar with the bible but we should be. At its core the Bible is a love story. It is the story of God’s love for us. The Book of Isaiah summarizes perfectly the love God has for us. “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom. Ethiopia and Seba, in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes and honored and I love you. I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name whom I created for my glory whom I formed and made.” (Iss 43:1-7) Hearing this beautiful passage from the Isaiah we cannot help but realize our true relationship with God the Father. In coming to a realization that He created us, He knows each one of us by name, that we are precious and honored in His eyes should bring into perspective the craziness that is our culture. Seeing ourselves in our proper relationship to God the Father makes clear the atrocity of abortion and our requirement to end it.
Any discussion about abortion must begin with the truth that God loves us more than we can imagine. “Now when all the people were baptized and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying the heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “Thou are my beloved Son with thee I am well pleased.” (Lk 3:221-22) Jesus says the same about each of us. To each of us He says “This is my beloved Son or Daughter with who I am well pleased.” The Lord has known us from the beginning. Jesus tells us “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (Jn 15:15-16) God calls us friends. God choose us. How blessed we are!
We all know intellectually that we are loved by God yet we don’t live our lives as if we are loved by God. We live in a world that does anything and everything to look for love. Yet we look in all the wrong places. Some people turn to drugs, others to alcohol, others to superficial friendships and the list could go on and on. So many in our world never understand and often we forget and need to be reminded that only the love of the Father will satisfy us. We need to stop and recognize the love the Father has for us.
I truly believe the first step in creating a prolife culture is leading ourselves and others to a profound realization that we are loved by God the Father. Just as you and I are loved by the Father, so is every other human person. What right do we have to take away the life of a child loved by God? Realizing we are loved by the Father is not easy. We must consciously remind ourselves of our relationship with the Father. This realization only comes through prayer. Through intimate communion with the Father in prayer and the sacraments we realize God’s great love for us.
Once we realize God loves us infinitely we realize that without Him we can do nothing. Now we don’t like to hear that. After all we are Americans; we pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and get things done. So many in our society believe they are the answer to the problems of the world. If you stop to think about it isn’t it true, don’t we often think like this? Let me give you an example. How many of you think you can make awesome meals. Well we cannot cook an awesome meal if God does not give us the food. Okay so you know how to grow vegetables? Well you could not grow them if God didn’t give you the soil and the proper weather. Sure to make a good meal some skill is needed on your part but even that skill comes from God. True we are needed to solve the problems of the world but we can only do it if we cooperate with the grace of God. In other words behind everything that is good is the action of God.
Yet God does not act just to act. He acts for a purpose. God has put us on this earth for a purpose. God has placed us in this world at this time and around these people for a specific reason. We don’t have to look beyond the horrors we read about in the news to realize how precious life is. Really all we need to do is look at our lives to see how close we have come to death, those split seconds and those small decisions that have all added up to lead us to where we are today.
It’s just sickening to think that as an infant many of our brothers and sisters were written off as nobodies and killed. Can you imagine how many of our brothers and sisters are not here with us now because they were written off as unworthy of living and aborted? I know it’s a cliché to say, but who is to say God did not have in His plan for one of the millions of children we have aborted to find the cure to cancer.
Who are we to say that God planned for a woman to get pregnant but not have child. It is God’s plan not ours. We have no right to interfere with that plan. WHAT RIGHT DO WE HAVE TO SAY TO GOD YOU HAVE GIVEN THIS WOMAN THE GREAT GIFT OF CARYING A CHILD BUT WE DON’T WANT HIM SO WE ARE GOING TO KILL HIM?
As I think about the horrors of abortion I often question how can anyone be pro-abortion? It simply makes no sense. Let’s be honest, no person who has any amount of sanity realizes that killing an innocent person is wrong. Planned Parenthood and other Pro-abortion organizations are not stupid. They know the only way to convince you that abortion is ok is to convince you that the fetus the womb is not a child. Think about it. You never hear anyone who advocates abortion speaking of killing or even using the word child.
Many people in our society believe the fetus in the womb is not a child because they have been repeatedly told so. As sad as this is it is possible to believe this lie because it seems to be all around us. Really it is easy to fall into the trap of believing abortion is not the killing of a child. We are told so by many people. Even our own country allows abortion but doesn’t allow us to kill an innocent child. Looking at this policy it is easy to come to the conclusion abortion must not be the killing of an innocent child. If only we stop for a moment to think about the claim that abortion is not the killing of an innocent child we quickly realize how stupid that claim is. We don’t need to believe something simply because Planned Parenthood tells us it is true.
If we stop to think for a moment we realize a child must be a child from the moment of conception. From the moment a child is conceived it is on the path to independence. In other words from the moment of conception a fetus, left alone in its normal state and environment, will progress to a crying baby, to a toddler, to a teenager, to an adult and yes even God willing to old age.
To hold the position that a fetus is not a child you must show me at what point after conception a fetus becomes a child. A normal pregnancy is 38 weeks. Is a fetus a child once it has been in the womb for 38 weeks? If so my brother who was born 7 weeks early is not a person because he only spent 31 weeks in the womb or at a minimum he did not become a child until after he spent 49 days crying in the NICU? This is just stupid. You and I both know that is not true. Maybe a child becomes a child when it goes through the birth canal? That is also crazy. I was born by C-Section. I never went through the birth canal am I not a human person? Fine maybe someone becomes a person when they can breathe on their own? Well that is BS as well. What about a person with a breathing tube, is he no longer a person? I mean sometimes people need to have a breathing tube put in while they have surgery but after surgery the tube comes out and they can breath on their own. He can’t breathe on his own. Okay last try … maybe a person becomes a person when he has the power to reason. Well if this is the case we weren’t persons until we were old enough to reason. Believe it or not a philosophy professor at Princeton believes this and logically draws the conclusion that we can kill newborn babies because they can’t reason. Following this logic if your grandmother has dementia we can kill her because she’s not a person, she can’t reason, or if your brother is mentally handicap he is not human so we could kill him. This is of course crazy, but people think like this. As sad as it is this is what the thinking of our culture has shrunk to.
O WAIT I GOT IT. A fetus in the womb is a child if we want it to be. This seems to be the logic of our country. If I kill a pregnant woman I am charged with not only the murder of the woman but also the murder of her unborn child, yet if she wants to abort her child she can without any punishment. Something is not something simply because I say it is. As much as I may want to say the water in my water bottle is juice not water it is not juice. I’m sorry but no matter what I say about that water is it is still water. Has our world really gone this crazy? I’m sorry but I’m confused. Our pop culture even seems to say the same thing. The same people who support abortion are talking about the baby of pregnant Princess Kate. Really do they not realize their hypocrisy? I’m sorry but I’m confused. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. THIS WAY OF THINKING IS JUST CRAZY.
The problem with this way of thinking is it says a person is a person because of something the person has or does. MY HOW WRONG THIS IS! We are not persons because of what we have or what we do. We are people because God, in his infinite love decided and created us as persons. God, from before time, willed that you and I exist as persons and created us with a specific plan for a specific purpose. The Book of Jeremiah tells us “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:5) We are humans because it was God who as the Psalmist says “didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.”(Ps 139:13)
We, this country, have allowed fertility and life to become commodities and not God given blessings. We conceive outside the womb and then toss away the leftovers. When we don’t want to have conceived we undergo dangerous, medically compromising procedures to our fertility and life and then get up and walk away as if nothing has ever happened.
Let’s talk numbers. In 2012 Planned Parenthood alone performed 327,166 abortions in the United States. To compare the City of Cincinnati Ohio had 297, 517 people in 2013. In other words Planned Parenthood aborted more than the city of Cincinnati. If we break that number down, Planned Parenthood performed an average of 896 abortions every day or about 37 an hour or about 1 abortion ever 2 minutes.
Planned Parenthood killed one child every 2 minutes in our country in 2013, WOW. When we hear numbers like that how can we not realize how blessed we are that our parents allowed us to live. We could have easily been a part of the millions of children that have been aborted in our country since the legalization of abortion. When we stop to think and reason out what makes us a person and realize how blessed we are to be able to live and not be aborted it becomes clear how wrong abortion is. But if we realize this how could it not be evident to everyone?
Unfortunately most people don’t think about abortion. It has become so engrained as acceptable in our culture we just don’t think about abortion that often. Women don’t go to have abortions because they want to kill their child. They have abortions for a host of reasons but very few if any see it as killing their son or daughter. Some women feel they can’t take care of a child. Often the shame of having a child leads a woman to abortion and for some a child is inconvenient. In many cases the woman is pressured to have an abortion by the father. What these women don’t realize is all of these reasons mentioned include the word child. Yet these women are not stupid and most are not searching to do something wrong, rather their lives have become such a mess they are not seeing clearly and are desperately searching for answers in all of the wrong places. In this place of vulnerability the allure of an abortion sets in and these women often choose the horror or abortion because they feel that they have nowhere else to turn.
This naturally leads to the question of how do we stay focused in the messiness of life and how do we help those who are caught up in the messiness from choosing such a horrific sin of abortion. For both us as individuals and for us as a nation we must keep our eyes focused on Christ. We must keep ever before our eyes that image of the child on his father’s lap. In short we must live a life of prayer. We must spend time in prayer realizing that we are beloved Sons and Daughters of the Father. When we truly come to know ourselves as beloved sons and daughters we will never fall into the temptation of abortion. The first step in creating a pro-life culture is leading ourselves and others to a profound realization that we are loved by the Father.
As a nation we must outlaw abortion. We are one nation under God, even the currency these women use to pay for their abortions says this. How can abortion exist in our nation? ABORTION IS UNAMERICAN. We are promised by our constitution the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Allowing abortion in our country goes against this basic right to life. Simply put ABORTION IS UNAMERICAN.
So where do we go from here? Being Pro-Life is much more than showing up for a march once a year it is a life-long process. The first step to being truly Pro-Life is to be in unceasing union with God the Father. Second we must use our God given mind. Do not let this world deceive you. You and I both know theologically and using reason that abortion is always wrong. Never let anyone tell you different.
Those two steps are just the beginning. When we live in unceasing union with the Father and use our minds to reason about abortion we should be scandalized by the horrors of abortion. This horror will propel us to vote pro-life. Mother Theresa said it best when she said “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders. If a mother can abort her child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” Only if we vote to protect life will we be able to live in a peaceful society. We should also be propelled to support those at risk of having abortions through our prayers and by assisting them with their physical needs. I think we can take a cue here from Mary. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the protectess of the unborn. Immediately after learning of her pregnancy and the pregnancy of her cousin Elizabeth she went in haste to help Elizabeth. Like Mary we must go in haste to love those with unplanned or difficult pregnancies. There are many great charities out there that do great work supporting women who are at risk of having an abortion. Get involved with them. The realization of the horror of abortion will also lead us to stand outside of Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics in prayerful protest. A couple of years ago I had the honor of standing outside in the pouring rain and freezing cold outside of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis with the 78 year old retired Auxiliary Bishop in St. Louis to kick off the 40 days for life. As we stood there and prayed I could not help but ask myself where are all the young people? The older generation has been fighting abortion since it was legalized they have done their share of the work and are tired. It is our turn, as the youth, to carry the torch and pick up the fight. Lastly many companies sadly support charities that support abortion, like Planned Parenthood. I’m sorry but I refuse to support any organization that supports abortion. Believe it or not while there are many organizations that support abortion there are plenty that don’t and my life is not inconvenienced one bit by not supporting companies that support abortion. In short when we live in unceasing union with God the Father and we use our God given intellect to think through abortion we will be the change the world needs and we will rapidly spread a culture of life throughout our country and the world.