By Rick Hinshaw
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Violence against pro-life individuals and groups will stop, the U.S. Bishops’ former pro-life chairman told Currents News on on June 27, when media treat it the same way they have treated the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas was asked by Currents News anchor Christine Persichette about the ongoing violence since the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked. Noting that there have been “more than 60 attacks on pro-life organizations and people” in the eight weeks since, Persichette asked the archbishop when he thinks it will stop.
“I think it will stop when those on the other side stop getting attention for these acts of violence,” and when they realize such acts “are counterproductive,” he said. “And I think the media coverage can help with that as well, condemning this type of violence as much as they’ve condemned what happened at the Capitol on January 6.
“If they would have that same type of vigor, I think this would end.”
Archbishop Naumann, former chairman of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB), also criticized the media for what he described as their overall bias against the pro-life message.
“That’s really no surprise,” he replied when Persichette asked about the perception that media have been “one-sided” in their coverage of the Court’s action overturning Roe, “more focused on the mom and not the baby.”
“It’s been that way for almost 50 years now,” the archbishop said. “There’s a strong media bias against the child, they frame the whole issue as a women’s rights issue.”
That ignores the fact, he said, that “with every abortion there are two human lives involved,” the mother’s life but also “there’s another human life, a baby’s life” involved as well.
The Church’s concern “is for both lives,” he said, which is why the USCCB has started Walking With Moms in Need, through which Catholic parishes and communities provide support for pregnant and parenting women. “We want to surround every woman who is in a difficult pregnancy with all the support and love that she needs, for herself and for the child.”
Dismissing accusations from abortion supporters that the Church and the pro-life movement are “just concerned up to the birth,” he said, “we’re there to accompany women as long as it takes so that they and the child will both not just survive but thrive.”
Critical to that effort, he said, is “a big education process,” making sure Catholics as well as the general public are made aware of “the vast network of services that are there” for women, and the Church’s ability to “connect them with those services and accompany them.”
Once again, however, he pointed to media bias as an obstacle.
“We’re at a disadvantage because the media mischaracterize a lot of times those crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers in negative ways”—when in fact, he said, “these are some of the real heroes of the pro-life movement, those that work day by day accompanying women and helping them to have all that they need for themselves to thrive, but also for the child to thrive as well.”
Archbishop Naumann also challenged media assumptions that abortions are beneficial to women, arguing instead that “the second victim of the abortion is the woman.
“Most of the women that I see in our post-abortion ministry really don’t think they had any choice but abortion,” he said. That is “one of the myths, that portrays this as ‘choice.’”
Often, he said, “women are desperate if they choose abortion. It’s not what women desire or want.”