I recall an incident, about 15 years ago, when I went to pray at one of the local abortion clinics. I arrived a little before 8 am on Saturday morning – before most of the normal prayer group. This gave me an opportunity to talk with the two side walk counselors who were standing at the edge of a parking lot, near a side entrance. The fact that they had not joined the prayer group at the front entrance was a signal that an abortionist was inside ready to kill babies. They mentioned that he had shown up at about 7:30 and a couple of women were already inside.
By 8 am our group of prayer warriors had grown to about twelve. Just as we were about to begin reciting a Rosary, I caught sight of an old friend, a retired priest who had travelled about 50 miles to join us. What a blessing this was and it lifted the spirits of the entire group. Not only would we be blessed by having an anointed priest leading us in prayer, but many women, who previously contemplated having an abortion, had commented that seeing a priest outside the clinic was enough to make them change their mind and continue driving past.
By the time we were completing the first mystery, our attention was drawn to the front of the building, which faced a four lane undivided major street. Two of the clinic’s staff carried a woman by her armpits, in obvious pain, out from the clinic and were trying to navigate across the busy four lanes of traffic. Once there, they laid the woman on the ground underneath a tree and nervously waited for the EMT’s to arrive, to rush the woman to the hospital. We later found out, from a friend at the attending hospital, that the woman had started hemorrhaging during the abortion and the abortionist was unable to stop it. He directed the workers to take her across the street in order to avoid any attention being focused on the clinic. I stood across that street, in shock, asking myself, ‘if the people of this country were able to see the real face of abortion, would they stop it?’
Today, some Americans are experiencing the same gut wrenching response I had 15 years ago as they are confronted with the truths exposed during the trial of Kermit Gosnell. The country has been shown his house of horrors: the unsafe practices and the lack of regulation, all previously disregarded by the mainstream media. The question at hand is, ‘Will the nation do anything with this disturbing news?’
Of course the predicted response from the abortion advocates is denial and to depict Gosnell as an isolated case. Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, was quick to respond “Gosnell is an extreme outlier when it comes to medical practice or abiding by the law”. However, I believe the American people are smarter than those in the pro-abortion industry think.
Just days after Gosnell’s conviction, reports emerged from the Texas Department of State Health Services investigating the Houston-based abortionist Douglas Karpen. Former employees of Karpen claim that he too conducted late term abortions. They have provided pictures to Operation Rescue (a pro-life Christian activist organization) that “show babies that are huge, with gashes in their necks, indicating that these babies were likely born alive, then killed”. These are just two of the horrific stories one can find by doing a simple Google search on botched abortions.
Dr. Bernard Nathenson, a former abortionist, who made the films, “Silent Scream” and “Eclipse of Reason” (these videos show what an abortion is, how it is performed , and what happens to the baby) often stated, “America won’t reject abortion until it sees abortion”. Perhaps, Dr. Nathenson (now deceased) was right. In the Gosnell trial we saw nine pro-abortion jurors convict an abortionist of murder of an expectant mother and killing 3 babies born alive, which he was actually hired to kill.
I pray that the nation is responding as well. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 1797 -“The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”, which bans most abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization. When first introduced, H.R. 1797 applied only to abortions performed in the District of Columbia. In light of Kermit Gosnell’s multiple murder conviction, the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), decided to amend the bill so that its protections would apply nationwide.
Since America is a culture highly motivated by visual stimuli the members of the mainstream media attempted a blackout of the Gosnell trial. And based on Dr. Nathenson’s assumption they had good reason. In the Gosnell case they could not portray him as a “victim” of hate or intolerance. He is a murderer in every sense of the word and this trial was about a dead woman and many children. Additionally, the Gosnell case involved unregulated abortion clinics. No longer could media reporters portray these “clinics” as compassionate safe havens for woman in trouble. This case was about a true slaughterhouse and there was no way of spinning it as anything else. Ultimately, the reason the Gosnell case received so little attention is that it’s impossible to discuss illegal abortions without reflecting on legal ones.
Unfortunately, media bias is nothing new regarding the reporting on abortion. But thanks to conservative media, such as Fox News and newer forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, it is getting more difficult for traditional media to ignore these stories. America must continue to see abortion if it is to end in this country. We must see it on trial, in pictures, in words with friends and neighbors and in legislation. We must also show them the loving care offered to woman and their unborn babies by the pro-life community.
The good news, amidst the struggle, is the steady growth of public opposition to abortion. Here are a few suggestions on how the Junto can help shine the light of truth and compassion:
- Ultrasound technology has been a marvelous innovation that brings the reality of life within the womb to our eyes. In 2009, the Knights of Columbus an Ultrasound Initiative, which provides funds for pregnancy centers to purchase this technology. If you are not a Knight I recommend joining this group of pro-life men and support this important initiative.
- Crisis Pregnancy centers render help to thousands of woman each year. Unfortuenalty, many of these centers are not financially equipped to help mothers who need more than basic service. I suggest the Junto engage a local CPC and offer financial assistance when a special circumstance arises.
- Invite your parish to join Life Chain Sunday. The first Sunday in October is designated “Pro-Life Sunday”, by the USCCB. Catholics, along with many other denominations join together in thousands of cities in North America, to stand on designated local sidewalks and pray for an hour while holding pro-life signage. Life Chain is not chiefly about a public demonstration, its first goal is to minister to its own participants for personal repentance and spiritual awakening. The younger generation is more pro-life than the one that preceded it. Life Chain Sunday offers an excellent opportunity for youth involvement.
Respectfully submitted to the Junto,