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Take action: Fight for the unborn

There are countless opportunities for people to be involved in helping promote a culture of life

by Lawrence P. Grayson OSV Newsweekly

After almost 42 years of persistent efforts to abolish legalized abortion in this country, societal trends seem to be changing in support of pro-life. Some of the gains that have been made are: rising favorable public opinion; the steady closing of abortion facilities; aging and fewer abortionists; more restrictive state laws; expanding numbers of pregnancy care centers; and significant numbers of young people participating in pro-life events. Now is the time to expand these efforts in order to achieve a complete victory.

Unique roles

Every Catholic — every person who believes life begins at conception — should be involved. Some people may take full-time, very public roles. Others might do things occasionally, as their time permits. Still others might show their support in symbolic but important ways. There are innumerable opportunities to advance the pro-life movement, with activities that can match every individual’s time, temperament and ability.

Some might choose an activity that is dramatic and creative. Missy Smith, a pro-life activist, for example, qualified in 2010 as a candidate from Washington, D.C., for the U.S. House of Representatives. As such, network TV stations in that jurisdiction were legally obligated to broadcast her campaign messages. She ran two ads numerous times showing the realities of abortion that the stations would not have aired under other conditions.

Something for everyone

Your involvement may be less unique, but it is of equal importance. For the physically active, you can help erect in publicly visible locations monuments to the unborn, either permanent ones, as have been built on many church grounds, or temporary displays. You can participate in marches for life, either at national, state or local levels. You can attend a ceremony at a cemetery where the unborn have been buried on the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children each September.

Get Involved
March for Life:

You can bear prayerful witness at abortion clinics, as organized each spring and fall by 40 Days for Life, or in a Life Chain in October, or at other public-witness gatherings. Those who prefer visual displays can participate in events aimed at educating the public through Face the Truth Tours sponsored by Defend Life, or in the Genocide Awareness Project organized on college campuses by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. And for the young and fit, you can participate in one of three pro-life walks across America organized each summer by Crossroads.

You can support pro-life legislation, write your congressmen, distribute pro-life literature, assist in a campaign for a pro-life candidate and vote. You can contribute to ultrasound programs such as those sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, highway billboards erected by Prolife Across America, and for the placing of pro-life ads in local newspapers. You can volunteer at a pregnancy care center, donate baby clothing and equipment, or assist in other needed ways.

You can aid women who choose to have their babies by providing housing and sustenance through the Gabriel Project, and help women and men cope with the emotional distress that often follows an abortion through Project Rachel. You can join a pro-life group in church or club in school. You can donate to Live Action, an organization that exposes the inner workings of the abortion business through undercover activities, or Operation Rescue, which persistently brings the shoddy operations of abortionists to the attention of health and regulatory authorities.

If none of these opportunities suits your temperament, you can display your support for life by wearing a T-shirt with a pro-life message, placing a pro-life bumper sticker on your car, affixing seals with pro-life messages to letters you mail, or simply putting a “precious feet” pin on your lapel. There is a role for everyone.

Spiritual battle

In addition to public action, prayer is essential. Remember, the fight against abortion is a spiritual battle being waged in a temporal arena. Organize and attend pro-life Masses, pray the Rosary, say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy ­— Pope John Paul II granted a papal blessing in 2003 for those who say the chaplet for an end to abortion — participate in the International Week of Prayer and Fasting held each fall, or attend a Holy Hour for the unborn.

Will eliminating legalized abortion be easy? No. Will it be quick? No. Martin Haskell, the co-inventor of partial-birth abortion, recently closed his clinic in Ohio after operating for 32 years because of persistent prayer by the pro-life effort. The Planned Parenthood surgical abortion facility in Bryan, Texas, which was the stimulus for creating 40 Days for Life, was closed in 2013 after 14 years of relentless prayer, fasting and public witness. But close it did. And fight we must.

Respect Life Articles

You may think, “What can I do? I am only one person. I cannot change the country or even my community.” Yes, you can. William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliament, waged a 20-year battle that eliminated the slave trade in England in 1807. Rosa Parks, a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, became a national symbol for the effort to end segregation when she refused to “move to the back of the bus” in 1955. Mother Angelica, a cloistered nun with no business or technical experience, began a worldwide television and radio network. God never asks us to win battles, only to do our best in combating evil.

No one can do everything that is needed to establish a culture of life in this nation, but everyone can do something. Be involved. Have courage. Have faith. Have hope. The battle for life will be won. As Francis Scott Key so aptly wrote in the last stanza of “The Star Spangled Banner”: “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’”

Lawrence P. Grayson is a visiting scholar in the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America.

This article comes to you from OSV Newsweekly (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


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