Death has a way of forcing us to reflect on life. And so it is with the death of the infamous Henry Morgentaler
—a man both celebrated and despised for his tireless fight for widespread access to abortion. When one looks at the trail of blood dripping from millions of children victimized by his killing crusade, it can be tempting to focus on his lifeless legacy.
Since those children cannot come back, and nor will he, I think our time is better spent reflecting on the legacy we ourselves have already built—and more importantly, should be building. Are we living our lives in such a way as to protect the lives of others? Edmund Burke once aptly noted that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” What have we done lately to undo Morgentaler’s deeds? What have we done to reach out to the abortion-minded women and men who think about the unthinkable? What have we done to raise our voices on behalf of those who have none?
Are you a construction worker? You can be like a friend of mine who debated abortion with colleagues on the worksite.
Are you a teacher or social worker? You can challenge your students and clients with the facts of abortion.
Are you a pastor? You can preach during your largest Sunday service—avoid tickling your listener’s ears and instead be more concerned about them being good than feeling good.
Are you a doctor or nurse? You can encourage a pregnant patient to make a life-affirming decision.
Are you a student? You can do a project on abortion for your professor and peers.
Are you human? Then there is no shortage of ways you can raise the abortion topic
within your circle of influence and help friends, relatives, and colleagues do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.
Yes, Morgentaler has died, and one day, each of us will die too. That day could be in the distant future, at perhaps 90 years old like Morgentaler, or it could be on the horizon. What matters is what we do now. As Billy Graham once remarked,
“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”
Originally published by Catholic News Agency on May 30th, 2013.