My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Each year on the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, a march on Washington, D.C., has occurred since Jan. 22, 1973. The purpose of this annual March for Life is to bring attention to an erroneous decision of the Supreme Court of the United States which found in our Constitution the right to personal freedom, including the right to an abortion.
It seems that personal rights in the last 42 years have triumphed over the rights of others in the community. The Right to Life Movement has been essentially that; the right to preserve human life and not to take away rights from anyone else but to preserve life from conception to natural death. In these past 42 years, the course of opposition to abortion rights has taken various forms. One consistent element has been the March for Life on Washington. Far from diminishing, attendance at this annual event has increased over the years, although the publicity given to it is normally overshadowed as portrayed in the media by the small groups of those who protest this March for Life. One interesting fact is that the March is now attended mostly by young people.
Our own diocesan participation has not waned over the years. This year, the Diocese is sending eight buses of young people, as well as our seminarians, to participate in this demonstration of our political right to protest even the decisions of our Supreme Court. Our Family Life Office, through the cooperation of the DeSales Media Group, sponsors the buses filled with young people who have taken time off from their studies to show their support for the Right to Life Movement.
Over 56 million abortions have been performed since 1973, which reflects the heartbreaking magnitude which our Holy Father, Pope Francis, describes as “a throw-away culture.” Proponents for abortion rights make no distinction between the so-called rape and incest incidents and the saving of the life of a mother, and other reasons. As for these exceptional reasons, estimates are that not one percent of abortions are performed for these reasons. If only we could at least reduce the number of abortions. That, itself, would be a partial victory.
We have seen movements in certain states to restrict abortion-on-demand by imposing sensible requirements such as requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting rights to hospitals to support the woman’s health in case of unforeseen difficulties. Abortion rights proponents will accept no limits on abortion, even if they be in favor of protecting the health of women.
A recent scandal involved Planned Parenthood which defended the eventual selling of the body parts from aborted fetuses, obtained by using special methods of abortion in order not to endanger the future sale of those body parts used for research.
What can we do in the face of such entrenched public attitudes in favor of abortion? Saint John Paul II, in his great Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, said, “a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.” Yes, prayer is not useless. Prayer changes us, not God, so we need a change of heart and mind in our public to protect unborn human life.
The effort to change minds and hearts is truly like putting out into the deep turbulent waters of public opinion. Join together in prayer, especially for those who will travel to Washington and participate in the March for Life, that our public witness and prayer may change minds and hearts.