We don’t stop abortion by scaring people but by loving them with the love of Christ. That’s Pope Francis’ message to Catholics – and it’s one we need to hear again and again.
I don’t know you, but since you’re reading this article on a Catholic website, I’m going to assume that you’re pro-life. I’m sure you’re a lovely person with a genuine desire to end abortion… so can we talk about something?
Remember how a little while ago, Pope Francis got everyone’s theological knickers in a twist when he said that we needed to stop obsessing over things like abortion? That we needed to remember that the Gospel was about bringing Christ to the world, about forging relationships based in love of God? Remember how people wrung their hands and worried about those statements being taken out of context by the mainstream media (which they were) and sending the wrong message to non-believers (perhaps)?
Do you want to see proof that his words were exactly what was needed? Jewels Green, whose personal story is as heart-rending and hopeful as they come, tells of a painful experience volunteering with this fall’s 40 Days for Life campaign. She tells of aggressive protesters, signs with graphic images of dismembered babies, and screaming hysterics:
Green tells of a scene so traumatic, that she, a post-abortive mother herself, had to leave. She took her heartfelt, handmade “Let Us Help U” sign, and left the clinic, shaken by the hostility and violence demonstrated by those claiming to be pro-life, pro-women, and pro-babies. Whether or not that day’s vigil saved any babies is unknown. But when pro-lifers themselves are forced to flee the anger of their fellow sidewalk counselors, prospects don’t look good.
I don’t know if you, dear reader, have ever stood witness outside an abortion clinic. I haven’t. I do know that not every group of pro-life activists behaves like the one Green describes in her article. But I also know that some of us do. Some of us plaster pictures of dismembered babies on poster boards, on the sides of trucks, and on social media. Some of us scream at the people on their way into the clinics, yelling both remarks on the sexual morality of the mothers and graphic comments about the abortion process itself. And this is exactly why the Holy Father has to remind us that becoming obsessed with abortion is to be avoided. When you become obsessed with abortion, when you start battling darkness with darkness, you turn both mother and child into objects, and you cease to be Christ’s hands and feet in this world.
Read Green’s story. Read about a scared 17-year-old who was coerced into having an abortion. Read the “Forced Abortion in America” report. Then stop reading and listen – listen to women who talk about their reasons for their abortions; listen to the litany of broken, hurting people. The Guttmacher Institute itself says that the number one reason women seek an abortion here in the U.S. is because having a baby would “dramatically change” the mother’s life.
Think about the implications of that. Think about millions of human beings, killed, because their mothers are
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