The Editors
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Once again this January, hundreds of thousands of people will gather on the National Mall to protest Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The March for Life is a longstanding tradition for many Catholic parishes and student groups and serves as a crucial showcase for the pro-life cause. Though the media sometimes downplay the march, the political potency of the event should not be underestimated. Here is a vibrant, grass-roots movement that predates the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street. That so many of the marchers are young people is a clear sign that the pro-life message has lost little of its prophetic power.

This year’s March for Life comes at a time of some uncertainty for the pro-life movement. Thirty-nine years after the promulgation of Roe v. Wade, a legal reversal remains elusive despite the presence of six Catholics on the Supreme Court. At the state level, even in conservative South Dakota efforts to criminalize abortion have failed. In Mississippi, the “personhood amendment,” which would have defined a fertilized egg as a person, was easily defeated on the November ballot. Some within the pro-life community, including some Catholic bishops, have questioned the wisdom of these state initiatives. Indeed, the recent setbacks should spark reflection on the goals and methods of the pro-life movement.

A constructive assessment might begin with a re-examination of the movement’s priorities. The March for Life, as worthwhile as it is, ought not to be the only expression of the pro-life cause. To effectively reduce the number of abortions in the United States, a political strategy must be accompanied by a more personal campaign for conversion. Ultimately, members of the pro-life community must work to make the world more welcoming for children. To accomplish this, they must be nimble, creative and above all motivated by love and compassion for mother and child. A comprehensive pro-life strategy would include, for example, the following important elements:

Outreach to families with disabled children. The challenge of raising a physically or mentally impaired child is overwhelming. A true culture of life makes these families a focus of outreach and support. Group homes for disabled young people and adults, like the L’Arche communities founded by Jean Vanier, should become a regular destination for pro-life groups. How wonderful it would be to see buses filled with volunteer college students pulling up in front of institutions for people with disabilities. Tragically, many prospective parents now choose to terminate pregnancies if prenatal tests reveal Down syndrome or other genetic anomalies. Before judging these decisions, however, the pro-life Christian must ask what circumstances compel a person to make such a choice and must work to offer alternatives.

Support adoption agencies. Adoption is a life-giving choice, both for the birth parent and the adoptive family. Yet it can be a difficult process, requiring the expertise of trained professionals who understand the emotional hurdles involved. Persuading an expectant mother to have a child is not always as simple as showing her an image from an ultrasound test. Adoption counselors can present a fuller view of parenthood, and they are well placed to reach out to women in difficult circumstances. Adoption agencies also find homes for children with special needs.

Improve childcare. Like so many other social services, child care in the United States is anemic in comparison to that available in Europe. Surely more women would choose to raise a child if they knew that there were affordable options for child care. Increased government support is necessary, but it is only one part of the solution. Shared cooperatives of parents, working together to raise their children amid the demands of careers and education, should be encouraged and perhaps initiated by Catholic parishes.

These initiatives will not by themselves bring about a culture of life. Political programs are crucial, and not just those focused on the Supreme Court. With one in four children now counted as poor, working against poverty so that families can feed their children is also key. Child poverty should not be ignored by Congress amid its drive toward austerity.

What must be acknowledged, finally, is that the problem presented by abortion is enormous and that there is no one way to eliminate this scourge. To change the attitudes of a society, whether about war, capital punishment or abortion, the pro-life community must work through a variety of channels. Some will feel called to travel to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23. They deserve our encouragement. All pro-life supporters should consider attending a support group for parents of disabled children or helping to care for a neighbor’s baby. These works of mercy may not offer the same public witness as the March for Life, but they can help to make the pro-life cause a way of life.

Comments

Jim Lein | 1/18/2012 - 10:20pm
We took a big step backward when we cut welfare benefits, specifically AFDC.  Now the group that would be receiving such benefits today has the highest abortion rate.  Private, small group and individual help is needed, yes, but it will always be insufficient.  Public programs are also needed. And more cuts in these programs seem on the way, including WIC.  This is literally taking milk from babies to help solve the debt crisis caused mainly by big investment banks. Programs like child and infant medical care, food stamps and unemployment compensation are also threatened. Yet it seems to me (and I hope I'm mistaken) that many who call themselves pro-life are lined up with those favoring these cuts. 

One positive sign of some coming together on the issue of abortion was a discussion recently on Catholic radio about how many, or most, women who have abortions are coerced by the would-be father, or her parents, or influencial others to do so.  I've detected more and more concern for women, particularly troubled pregnant women. 

As I've said before, one thing we can all do, regardless of our label, is pray the Rosary, especially the First Joyful Mystery, for all troubled pregnant women.  Mary, after all, was comforted by the angel before she said her big yes. 
Frank Bergen | 1/17/2012 - 11:23pm
Might not a comprehensive pro-life strategy also include the promotion of intentional pregnancy and child-bearing, the admission by the official church that one of the best ways to minimize terminations of pregnancy is the prevention of pregnancy?  Of course that same official church would have to accept, not merely recognize grudgingly, that the Creator, who is altogether mystery and whose ways we only pretend to understand, makes us capable and desirous of physical human love.  And the same Creator gives us hearts to embrace and minds to choose procreativity, lovingly and prudently.  Or is all this too much to ask, asks one person whose path away from the official church began with the issuance of Humanae Vitae?
Theo Verbeek | 1/14/2012 - 11:10pm
Why do we not publicize over and over again the number of actual abortions which take place. Of the many tens of thousands there are undoubtedly some which are done for reasons which we could "sympathize" with even while not "approving". The great majority however do not have such a "reason". A "thermometer" of the number of abortions in prominent places with either the annual number of abortions or with something like "Last week there were - (number) abortions in USA/ New York/Oregon/ or whatever.
C Walter Mattingly | 1/14/2012 - 4:01pm
Those of us devoted to the pro-life movement must recognize that while it is an urgent issue, it is also a long-term issue. Society has largely accustomed itself to a culture accepting of abortion. The history of slavery in the United States provides a model. It too was accepted by the culture, it too defined the slave as something less than human. From the time it was first formally accepted into Massachusetts law in the 17th century until it was outlawed, almost two centuries passed before it was finally outlawed. Over time, however, the majority population came to recognize the slave as a human person and the better angels of our nature took over. It became increasingly difficult to deny that human reality and the general population came to recognize the essential evil and moral obtuseness of those who supported slavery. Those who continued to support slavery were those whose life would most be affected by its end, socially and financially, yet it came anyway. Likewise, the tide has turned and bioethicists are largely in agreement that aborting the fetus is taking a human life. Yet the abortion issue affects not just an economically weaker Southern minority, but all of us and our families.
That is where the usefulness of this article has merit. Let the prolife movement not be seen as John Brown abolitionists, but supportive of the whole of life. Progress will come piecemeal. Compromise will necessarily be involved. It is a twilight battle. Scientific evidences such as the sonongram will make this unjust law seem ever more evil, ever more unworthy of having a place in a society concerned with social justice, but it will take time. Meanwhile, hate the sin, but love the sinner. And help him where you can. 
Lyn Heffernan | 1/13/2012 - 3:25pm
  I agree totally. Decades long studies have found that the leading reason that parents choose abortion is economic.   Abortion is often a heart-wrenching decision made by parents who feel that they cannot adequately care for another child without seriously harming the children they already have.  A meaningful social safety net is critical to any serious discussion on reducing the incidence of this tragedy.
Roger COnley | 1/13/2012 - 11:40am
The Washington Post has an article on the problem abortionists face with increasing restrictions. The cause of the problem is "the number of states with fully anti-abortion governments — in which both the governor and the legislature oppose abortion rights — increased from 10 to 15.  That cleared the way for new restrictions."  Google  "2011: The year of the abortion restrictions" and look at the graph.  America Magazine, speaking to another audience, says "Some within the pro-life community, including some Catholic bishops, have questioned the wisdom of these state initiatives. Indeed, the recent setbacks should spark reflection on the goals and methods of the pro-life movement." 

America Magazine is certainly being more polite to the pro-life movement here that it ordinarily is, but it is pursuing its usual goals. 1. Trying to protect pro-abortion liberal politicians, even if that means preventing the restictions on abortion that the Washington Post writer is worried about. 2. Diverting the anti-abortion activities of pro-life workers to causes approved of by the secular left, in this article, war, capital punishment and child care.   Why doesn't the author tell us who "within the pro-life community" opposes "these state initiatives"?

America Magazine would never tell an organization against capital punishment to divert some of its efforts to some other cause, but it always tells the pro-life movement that it has to stop devoting so much effort to defending the babies.  Every cause is the country has groups whose single purpose is that cause.  America Magazine always writes that the problem with the pro-life movement is that it has not subscribed to America Magazine's entire agenda.  Its not phrased this way but the goal is that there should be no movement whose single purpose is the defense of the pre-born.  I don't think the babies have too many advocates, I think they have too few.
Eileen Gould | 1/12/2012 - 8:22am
I agree with #26 that the best suggestion offered by the author is child care by the Diocese, Catholic Charities or local church.   About 15 years ago, this was my suggestion at my church (not followed up.)   At the time, it was obvious to me, as one of the last generations to enjoy the benefits of being a stay-at-home mother, that, economically, mothers were being forced into the workplace.   It's beyond me how they and especially, mothers with handicapped children, manage.  Some enlightened commercial organizations already have child care in place for their employees.   Our parishioners are incredibly eager to use their time and talents in many ways, not the least of which is hospitality.   Why not child care.
Sergio Leiseca | 1/11/2012 - 3:16pm
I am against abortion. Yet, I can understand why a woman would decide to abort a pregnancy when facing certain poverty for her and her child, for example, or what must be the unbelievable emotional and financial costs of raising a disabled or special child, or simply, the fear of a single parent raising a child. Can we share her angst? Do we picture her in her moment of fear, anxiety? So, I applaud the author's suggestions, and I encourage each and everyone of us to stop characterizing the situation as a political one, and instead, to step up and help, to walk the talk if you will. For example, why would increased child care, in my view the best suggestion offered by the author, not be offered by every Catholic Diocese or by Catholic Charities nationally? Too big of an undertaking? Too costly? I do not think so, given our belief to care for each other (for example, through the beatitudes and the judgment of the nations, in Matthew 5, 1-12 and 25, 31-46, respectively). Where there is a will there is a way...that would be someting indeed!
Mary Pearlman | 1/11/2012 - 11:10am
Thank you for editorializing a position that is not completely mainstream thinking on this important topic.  

My very personal view is that even in the Church, the subject of life is much more political than spiritual, and we are all suffering.  I'm 60 years old, and the only unborn babies I've ever prayed about publically are the ones that mothers chose to abort.  It breaks my heart every time for all the mothers who have lost their babies in utero and continue to grieve alone and in silence from the pulpit.

Also, I just don't think the Magisterium really believes what they preach - are they telling Catholic women that we should baptize and bury the baby that we miscarry at 4 or 8 weeks?  

I think we need a lot more prayer and a lot less public politicizing.   
Jonathan James | 1/10/2012 - 12:33pm
#23
I can say that I am against the death penalty as much as I am against abortion.  It took me awhile, but the deciding factor for me was the number of people who have been found innocent after conviction using latest technology such as DNA testing.  I can't say I have much support for actual guilty people, but until there is no room for doubt I would rather have 99 people go free than execute a single innocent person.

As for being anti-war, it depends on what you mean.  I am fully against aggressive wars.  However, I know that there are plenty of aggressors out there, and we need the capability to defend ourselves.  And our allies. 

Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990; we went to war to stop them and liberate Kuwait.  A pacifist who is anti-war might say that we should have not done anything militarily.  A realist who is anti-war, like me, would say that sometimes there is badness in the world that can only be controlled by violence.
Eileen Gould | 1/10/2012 - 8:23am
This is difficult for me to write.  However, here goes.   "Do not judge another until you have walked a mile in their shoes."   I base this on the many years I was a volunteer in  the Association for Retarded (now politically incorrect) Children, as a result of being close to a family with a child with Down Syndrome.   I was aware of so much unhappiness in marriages as a result, particularly men, who couldn't take it and often walked away.   And the siblings.   Yes, I'm sure there are families, strongly upheld by their belief in God, who manage well.   My dilemma, which leaves me torn between coming down decisively one way or the other, is also based on Cardinal Bernardin's Seamless Argument.   If pro-lifers could profess equal staunch belief in being anti-war and anti-death penalty, it would go a long way in convincing me.  If one is a thinking person, one cannot simply say Yes or No to many dilemmas, even belief in God.  It is uniquely personal.
Jonathan James | 1/9/2012 - 12:52pm
Every action in the article was re-active, not pro-active.  How about this:
1. Outreach to disabled.  Increase genetic research to identify or eliminate genetic problems before the baby is conceived.  Or at least be able to warn the prospective parents what they may face before conception. 
2. Adoption.  To increase adoptions, not only do we need to make it easier.  We need to expand the base of potential parents by including single people and same sex couples.  However, the Catholic Church has made it clear that they will not support adoption by same sex couples.  I would prefer a child to be raised by a gay couple or a single person rather than be aborted or left under state care.  Apparently the Church does not agree with me, which means they will accept a baby being aborted rather than raised by two men or two women.  And wring their hands on this situation but not change the position.
3. Improve Child Care; the article says that child care in America is anemic compared to Europe, and that certainly women would be more likely to have children if child care was more available.  Empirical evidence shows that this is not true, otherwise the  birth rate in Europe would be exceeding that of the US.  What is needed is an economic policy that drives more jobs so people can arrange for their own child care.  I don't favor government run child care centers.
C Walter Mattingly | 1/9/2012 - 8:38am
Mike (#18),
There is another way to immensely improve the affordability of Catholic education among lower income earners: the voucher. The fortress the NEA with the assistance of our current administration has built against offering this opportunity to our inner city parents and children is finally beginning to crumble under the assaults of the people. It in fact is one of the few effective reforms that can be accomplished without costing additional monies we do not have. It can and should be expanded. Consider supporting this social justice reform.
Tom Maher | 1/9/2012 - 1:16am
Why muddle and confuse the clear meaning,  urgency and opposition to abortion that the pro-life movement is in America?  The urgent and constatn need and focus of the pro-life movement is to stop the continued killing of unborn babies in the hundred of thousands each year. We do not need the pronouncements of the bishops or clergy to recognize as individuals that abortion is wrong and should be oppossed.  Abortion by definition is the taking of an innocent human life. 

Abortion is a institutionaled moral evil in America in the same way that slavery was an instituionalized moral evil.  The law, custom and society allows abortion and a nationwide abortion industry carries out the taking of unborn babies lives.  No need to intellectualize about extraneous abstract quality of life issues.  Abortion taking of a life is final and irreversalble.

Like slavery the institution of abortion has the capacity to grow and become more widespread and harder to eliminate.  Culturally and politically America has significant pluratity of people who want to advance the institution of abortion and makeing it more widely avaliable and paid for by the government.  - abortion on demand.  Many people in Congress and the federal governement want to redefine the meaning of healthcare to inqclude abortion services and thus make abortions more widely practiced.

The pro-life movement need to focus on th evil of abortion and not be divereted by other less urgent causes.
Bill Taylor | 1/8/2012 - 7:41pm

It seems to me that people like Winifred, above, keep handing the pro-choice crowd some great arguments by failing to be as appalled by war and capital punishment as they are by abortion. Cardinal Bernadine's seamless argument is powerful. I just protested an execution, getting up at dawn to bear witness. Most of the "pro-life" enthusiasists were not there. In order to be consistent, I also will do my best to protest Roe vs. Wade every time I have a chance.

It is comforting to see the things parishes are doing for pro-life. It is appalling to see Catholics mindlessly voting for politicians who don't really care for the issue of life, and have no concern for a child after it is born.
Michael Schlacter | 1/8/2012 - 1:30pm
Yes. Pro Life must be a total attitude and way of doing;  Catholic Schools encourage abortion based on their ever increaseing tuitions and cost of doing education that is passed on only to those who can afford it...unless you want to go begging for it, for example.
michael alba | 1/7/2012 - 11:24pm
Definitely agree that we in the Pro-Life movement should turn  more  our   sights towards the three areas in the editorial.  Effective implementation would help those considering abortion to pick Life.  However all of them would  require greater  volunteer work  and significant financial support .  We must be ready to make that commitment at each parish.
I would also add  the pregnancy care centers run by dioceses like Miami"s which are doing an effective job  in counselling expecting mothers and convincing them  not to abort through the visual showing of  ultrasound pictures of their babies
We must continue praying especially at the abortion centers to reach practitioners and staff  and carrying the  Life message to our elected officials.  We must encourage and motivate organizations like the Knights of Columbus to become more  actively involved in the Pro-Life movement.  Most important, we must pray at all times  to change the hearts and minds of those in our Church and society  to defend and protect the dignity of  human life. 
 
Jonathan James | 1/7/2012 - 11:20pm
I do not agree with the assessment that pro-lifers care more about the unborn than they do about the living babies.  It's more likely that we do not agree with your solutions.
And if we are more vocal about the unborn, it is because the living have parents that can speak for them.  In the case of abortions, it is the mother who is actively working to murder her own child. 
Cody Serra | 1/7/2012 - 4:04pm

I like the articles' broad perspective on the abortion issue. 
The Pro Life Movement, however, focus on a narrow point of a persons life: the pre-born child, but it does not ??p?a?y? ?m?u?c?h? ?a?t?t?e?n?t?io?n? ?t?o? ????the future of the child, the mother and perhaps, the family if it exists. And it ignores the other end of life, where elderly survive in poverty as much as children in America today. The death penalty maybe left for another conversation

? The majority of the many services offered are centered on the pre-born, infant baby and mother. Most of them are church or privately sponsored. The problem is larger and more complex than just offering rightful and needed help, and the rights of the unborn. Who else shares responsibility?

Life begins at conception according to our Catholic beliefs, but it continues until death according to the same values. That generally much longer period than pregnancy and infancy, is not taking into account by the promoters of the Pro-Life movement. This country does not offer a safety net like in European countries. In many cases, economic conditions and fear play a substantial role in the decision-making process leading to abortion. Not all pregnant mothers are guided by our religious values, but many can see the difficulties of their future with another mouth to feed, raise and educate in unfavorable circumstances.

Holding a job, housing, satisfaction of basic needs, children’s education, health services on the long range, and others, impact the planning of the future of a family or single mother. And if the child is born with disabilities, added problems ensue. “Where does the Pro-Life movement and services responsibilities end?” 

The other issue mentioned by the article are services for infantants and disable for life, and for the elderly? The percentage of children living in poverty is the highest in the USA history. Though abortion is NOT the solution, to focus only on it without embracing the totality and complexity of the problem is unconscious. Respect for life begins with the living.

Any effective program will have to include the transformation of people’s hearts, so “together”, regardless of religious tradition we may be able to respond to the Gospel’s values in a pluralistic and multinational country.

Mary Ziegenhagen | 1/7/2012 - 3:55pm
None of the proposed alternatives to abortion address the situation of a  mother and father  over age 44, who already have given birth to and raised six, seven or eight children and now face an unwanted pregnancy.  Adoption is hard to imagine in this case; does the Church support parents of large families who decide to put up a child for adoption?  Is being forced to make such a decision not at least as cruel as abortion of a microscopic life form?  Does the Church surround such parents with nonjudgmental acceptance?  Profoundly religious mothers who have lived good and responsible lives don't deserve glib opinions directed at unmarried teenagers. Certainly Barack Obama (who mother was an unmarried teen, and Stephen Colbert (his parents' 11th chid) stand as living examples of mothers who accepted children in difficult circumstances.  Still, to the disgrace of the church, pregnancy continues to be viewed as justified punishment for women, certainly by some mothers in the pro-life movement who have themselves withstood such punishment for unexpected pregnancies from their church leaders many of whom, as we all know from reading the newspapers, don't let sexual enjoyment get in the way of their obligations.
Des Farrell | 1/7/2012 - 10:53am
Caring not scaring.
Some very intelligent and compassionate responses. Let me bring up an ugly PR problem that catholics have, and I accept that is a very broad generalisation. The media loves extremists, if they can find a wacky looking guy holding up a poster of an aborted fetus, you can be sure it'll be on the front page the next day, especially here in Ireland. Pro lifers have allowed themselves to be presented as sentimental towards the unborn while being zealously judgemental towards the living. The majority of women obtain abortions not because their social life is being inconvenienced but because they are afraid.
It is up to the leaders of the pro life movement, including Catholic leaders, to set the tone of public demonstrations. Waving placards featuring extreme images will win no pro choice people. 
I would like if there was not a single abortion on this planet. So long as Catholics choose to focus on attacking their opponents in public rather than focusing SOLELY on presenting kind options then Roe v Wade will remain. 
Here in Ireland, because of the disastrous response of the hierarchy towards the innumerable sex abuse cases, if there were a referendum on abortion tomorrow it would be a close run thing. If the church doesn't open up and start expressing publically some LOVE towards gay men and women, the divorced, contraceptive using parents, then abortion will arrive here. that's a big step for many Irish clergy but not for ordinary Irish Catholics. Let's focus on kindness and leave the judging up to you know who. Unfortunately the creators of civilisation are being presented in the media as arch reactionaries. That image, at least, is changeable.
Emma Fitzpatrick | 1/7/2012 - 12:55am
I agree that the focus must broaden.  But all of these comments still overlook the most obvious solutions.  The research I have read shows that abortion rates go down when the economy is good and there is a good social safety network, and they go up when the economy is bad and there is an inadequate social safety network.  So, if people are truly interested in reducing abortions, they should work for overall improvements in the economy and in the welfare of the common working people.
Lisa Weber | 1/6/2012 - 11:49pm
The role of the father in a pregnancy is crucial.  A woman doesn't abort a pregnancy if she is in love with the father of the baby, and he is supportive of her.  A man who abandons a woman who is pregnant by him has "thrown away" the unborn child, which makes it far more likely that the mother will also.

The laity was invited by Pope John Paul II to teach the young about sexuality.  If we actually did that, we might find reason to speak some truths about courtship.  If we can't find enough courage to speak honestly about courtship, we can expect to deal with a lot of failed courtship - and abortion is one result of failed courtship.
ROBERT OCONNELL | 1/6/2012 - 9:36pm
The ideas of outreach to families with disabled children, support for adoption agencies and improving childcare are certainly valuable.  Not surprisingly, some comments in response to teditorial report that these ideas are already part of what pro-life activists do.  While the rest of us opine, some actually do!


Let's take a moment to honor those who walk the talk, to pray for the unborn and those who abort, and to pray that the rest of us do whatever we can to love . . . as He loves.
ROBERT GLENN | 1/6/2012 - 6:44pm
An excellent editorial with much to say. However, I feel the Pro Life movement should be more than fighting for the rights of infants to be born and regardless of their health conditions to be cared for. Pro-Life needs to do more to provide care, physical, emotional and spiritual for those who are at the end of their lives. Life is precious from conception to natural death. That is what it should mean to be Pro Life.
William McAnally | 1/6/2012 - 6:05pm
An excellent editorial. President Obama offered to engage with the pro-life community to reduce the need for abortion, even though he didn't agree with us on when life begins. It's pretty obvious that politics is getting us nowhere, so let's expand our efforts to new avenues, new channels.
Christopher Mulcahy | 1/6/2012 - 5:26pm

“To change the attitudes of a society, whether about war, capital punishment or abortion, the pro-life community must work through a variety of channels.”


This sentence in the editorial betrays America’s failure to distinguish between settled matters of grave moral import , on the one hand, such as abortion, and debatable aspects of moral theology, on the other, such as justification of war and capital punishment.   This is sad.  One would not expect such obfuscation of the teachings of the  Catholic Church in America magazine. 

Winifred Holloway | 1/6/2012 - 5:20pm
Thank you for this editorial. The best tactic for the pro-life movement is walking the talk. There are many parishes and Catholic groups that do important outreach to help pregnant women in difficult circumstances - clothes, formula, rent money, etc. However vital this work is, it is not sufficient. This support for new mothers and their infants should not stop at infancy. Everyone loves babies. However, mothers need safe, affordable child care so they can work or return to school. They may need the assistance of federal food programs like WIC and food stamps. They may need early childhood education for their pre-schoolers. Just stopping abortion is not pro-life enough. Individual churches and groups need to advocate for government policies that offer this help to mothers and their children. In our current political environment, these programs are not popular. They are stigmatized as "welfare." Many sincere Christians offer their time and money to help out women and others who are in crisis and this is laudable. However, even the wealthiest parish cannot possibly sustain the many families within their borders who need long term and consistent help.
Tim Reidy | 1/6/2012 - 4:17pm
Thanks to Tom and Thomas for pointing out some excellent prolife ministries. We have named a few more in this blog post. Thanks to Hilarion and Cathleen for their comments, too. Our hope is that the editorial will prompt further discussion of the goals and methods of the prolife movement, including some areas that may be insufficently emphasized, such as outreach to families with disabled children.
Cathleen McGrath | 1/6/2012 - 3:45pm
I would like to see more discussion of the essential role of fathers in a conversion to a culture of life.  We see a slow but steady shift in the sharing of parenting and household roles between men and women in family life in the U.S. in general.  I would welcome more focus and support and discussion of men as expectant parents who also need support and encouragement to make loving choices for their children.
Thomas Szyszkiewicz | 1/6/2012 - 3:38pm
"To effectively reduce the number of abortions in the United States, a political strategy must be accompanied by a more personal campaign for conversion. Ultimately, members of the pro-life community must work to make the world more welcoming for children. To accomplish this, they must be nimble, creative and above all motivated by love and compassion for mother and child."

This statement betrays the fact that America's editors have no clue what goes on in the pro-life movement. My brother-in-law heads up Pro-Life Action Ministries in St. Paul, Minn. Everyday, volunteers are out on the sidewalks in front of abortion clinics around the Twin Cities lovingly trying to persuade women not to have their children's lives aborted. That's as personal a campaign as you can get. As far as making "the world more welcoming for children," everyday, they're helping pregnant women with electric bills and rent, giving them strollers, clothes, vouchers for food, setting them up with social services. And they follow through after the child has been born as well.

This doesn't just happen at Pro-Life Action Ministries, though. It happens at all kinds of pro-life outreaches. It's just that they're following Jesus' command, "Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing." Of course, if editors and reporters would actually go and meet with these people, spend time at their offices and see what really goes on, it would go towards eliminating a lot of silly statements like this editorial.
Hilarion Cann | 1/6/2012 - 3:19pm

Given the narow focus of the long-standing Catholic position on abortion, many folks think that the worst thing that can happen to a fetus is to be born.  Until we begin publicly to take a serious intrest in and demand action on the many issues that affect the life of living children, our influence on government law and policy will remain pale at best .

Tomas Faranda | 1/6/2012 - 1:03pm
I'm a little surprised with this editorial. I wonder if the writer(s) spoke to any pro-life activists in the NY area? Most of what is mentioned, is being done, and more - and mostly by women. Besides Birthright, you have Expectant Mother Care all over NYC; you have Good Counsel Homes, with the only residence in the country for women who have mental health issues and are pregnant.  Many parishes have individual initiatives to help women in difficult straits; my own parish is at the forefront of efforts.

As you point out, besides the prophetic role played by an event like the March for Life. we have an obligation - a pastoral role of action; of care and concern. Obviously, when 20% of pregnancies in the richest society in history are terminated, we are not doing enough on either front. But  some people are working valiantly and often at great presonal sacrifice to help pregnant women and their children.

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