I know the truth about abortion is ugly, and that hearing it is disturbing and disheartening. I also know that it is much easier to ignore the news about abortion in our country ...
The March for Life is always an uplifting and inspiring event, even though the circumstances that give rise to the march every January are anything but uplifting or inspiring. Those realities are, of course, downright tragic and disheartening. And that is why it takes tremendous effort to bring them out into the light of day long enough to look them squarely in the eye. After all, who in their right mind wants to acknowledge the carnage of legalized abortion?
The dilemma is a very human one. Once we allow ourselves to see past the sanitized facilities, and hear beyond euphemisms like "procedure" and "choice;" once we take a breather from minding our own business and start paying attention to our neighbors' distress; we become exactly what we do not want to be: responsible.
And yet, responsible is what we are called to be, and what we are when our humanity is at its best. Not withdrawn. Not solo sojourners, but active parts of a human fabric that both precedes and follows each of us.
There's a lot of fake news out there. And perhaps the biggest problem about fake news is that it can form a rather impenetrable wall between us and all that's really going on. That's especially easy when we'd prefer not to know, not to have our worst fears confirmed, not to become responsible.
Many years ago now, a very dedicated priest and I sat in a rectory kitchen and made a few phone calls to the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas. At the time, there were rumors that the medical director there, Dr. George Tiller, was one of only three clinics in the nation providing very late-term abortions to women in almost any situation. At the time, many good people found it hard to believe that it was possible to place a call and schedule the abortion of a child in the womb at more than six months gestation. I was one of them -- until I heard otherwise myself. Posing as a healthy young woman in a healthy pregnancy, I remember being told that the fact I was almost 28 weeks along wouldn't keep me from getting an abortion because, as the woman on the other end of the line said, "You know, sometimes they're small and the dates are wrong."
Father Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, spoke last Sunday in Worcester at this year's MCFL Assembly for Life. I was particularly struck by the accounts he shared of similar phone calls being made today, not just to one or two or three late-term abortion facilities, but to clinics all over the country who are more than willing to end a pregnancy -- any pregnancy -- well into the second trimester. These clinics are located in New Mexico, Washington state, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Montana, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Georgia, Arizona, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, New York, and yes, Massachusetts.
Two things have changed over the past 25 or 30 years. We now know that a substantial majority of Americans favor some limitations on "the right to choose" and we also know that children in the womb are capable of feeling pain. Those developments made it possible for the House of Representatives to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act last October. Whether the Senate will ever allow a vote on this common-ground legislation remains to be seen. This president has promised to sign it if it ever arrives on his desk.
I know the truth about abortion is ugly, and that hearing it is disturbing and disheartening. I also know that it is much easier to ignore the news about abortion in our country, especially since it isn't covered with much frequency, depth, or commitment to accuracy. But I ask you to visit Priests for Life on the web, and expose yourself to the truth so that you can expose the truth to those who will not hear it otherwise. The Church must assemble for life, and blow the trumpet loud and long enough that others may join the assembly.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.