Our Banners were Vandalized

Recently, two of our pro-life banners (set up outside churches) were vandalized.

The first one, depicting drawings of a dead baby and X’s over the infant’s eyes:

The second one, with writing like “Pro-choice” and “abortion is a right”:

While the vandalism is disturbing, it shows that our message is being seen by many, and being heard. We are working to replace the banners that were vandalized to continue spreading the pro-life message.

Choose life.

Pro-Life Legal Victories … and Defeats

Supreme Court: No Discrimination Against Religious Schools!

In a 5-4 ruling upholding a Montana program to provide student scholarships for use at religious schools, the U.S. Supreme Court also in effect repudiated a 19th-century monument to anti- Catholic bigotry known as the Blaine Amendment.

The ruling reversed a 2018 Montana Court decision based on the state constitution’s Blaine provision barring aid to any school “controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect or denomination.” That provision is named for Senator James Blaine who in the 1870s argued for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to bar use of public funds at religious schools. Coming at a time when immigration was rapidly increasing the Catholic population and Catholic parochial schools were growing in number, the proposal was widely seen as a reflection of Protestant anxieties about rising Catholic numbers and influence. While Blaine never did become part of the federal Constitution, 37 states eventually adopted their own versions.

In a statement following the decision, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, said: “This decision means that religious persons & organizations can, like everyone else, participate in government programs that are open to all. This is good news, not only for people of faith, but for our country. A strong civil society needs the full participation of religious institutions. By ensuring the rights of faith-based organizations’ freedom to serve, the court also promotes the common good.”

In his majority opinion, Roberts relied heavily on a 2017 Supreme Court decision (Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer) that held that a Lutheran church in Missouri that operated a day school was entitled to receive funds from a state program for upgrading playgrounds as a safety measure. That decision, Roberts said, held that “disqualifying otherwise eligible recipients from a public benefit ‘solely because of their religious character’ imposes a penalty” on religious free exercise. Thus Montana’s denial of scholarships for use at a religious school did not pass muster. [Russell Shaw, Our Sunday Visitor, 6/30/20]

Supreme Court Rejects Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

The Court struck down the law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their practice. The opinion in June Medical Services v. Russo is quite fractured and legally technical. It does not bring the pro-life movement any closer to overthrowing Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey; but it does not likely move us further away from that end either. More litigation to that end is still required.

The narrow 5-to-4 ruling agreed that the burdens it imposed upon women were greater than its claimed health benefits. Yet Justice Gorsuch wrote of the dangers that abortionists in Louisiana pose to their patients. He noted the extraordinarily lax reviews the clinics conduct prior to hiring abortionists, reporting that abortion clinics had previously allowed ophthalmologists & radiologists to perform abortions! He also pointed to the many ethical and safety violations that Louisiana abortion clinics had committed in the past.

Employing detailed geographic & doctor-specific details (and even maps, printed in the opinion), the Court concluded that the vast majority of doctors and clinics would go out of business were the admitting-privileges law to stand, leaving many women without a sufficiently-close-by abortionist. But Gorsuch noted that one Louisiana doctor already had such privileges, that one hospital was already changing its admitting-privileges rules in order to make it easier for abortionists to succeed, and that privileges requirements applied to other types of ambulatory surgical centers (for example, colonoscopies, Lasik eye treatments) had not diminished the number of those centers able to continue operating. Also, Gorsuch highlighted the testimony of women abandoned by their abortionists to seek follow-up care, after the doctors had botched their abortion procedures.

Finally, only Justice Thomas took direct aim at Roe and Casey. In memorable language, he referred to the reading of the Constitution on which it is based as “legal fiction” and the “putative right to abortion [as] a creation that should be undone.” He wrote that it is “farcical” to imagine that the legislators who created the 14th Amendment’s “due process” language intended it to protect a procedure nearly completely banned in every state and territory in the U.S. at the time it was passed. He called Roe a “demonstrably erroneous” decision. [Helen Alvaré, Commentary, National Catholic Register, 6/29/20]

Risks of High-Tech Birth Control

In the 1960s, when birth control devices and chemicals became prominent, the only common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were syphilis and gonorrhea. Today, at least 25 STDs are known, some which are incurable, and at least eight new pathogens have been identified since 1980, including HIV. Many of these STDs, such as chlamydia and human papillomavirus (HPV), greatly increase a woman’s risk of cancer. None of the “contraceptives” listed in this brochure prevent or protect against STDs or AIDS. Yet organizations like International Planned Parent- hood Federation thrust these methods upon trusting teenage girls, much to the detriment of their future health. [Concerned Women for America brochure, compiled by Catherine Hurlburt cwfa.org]

National NFP Awareness Week

July 19-25, 2020, the dates of National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25), which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, married love and responsible parenthood. Very helpful information about the benefits of NFP, how it works and its effectiveness, is available at the www.usccb.org website.

Gerber Baby Photo Contest Winner

The original “Gerber baby” was Ann Turner Cook, now 93. A charcoal sketch of her cherubic face became the company’s official trademark. Since 2010, Gerber has held a photo contest to select a new baby brand ambassador each year. In 2018, the first Gerber baby with Down Syndrome was chosen.

This year, the contest winner is an adopted baby, another first. Magnolia Earl, age 1, charmed the judges “with her joyful expression, playful smile and warm, engaging gaze.” Her mother, Courtney, confirmed in a statement that Magnolia brings “joy to everyone she meets” and recalled speaking on the phone a year earlier with Magnolia’s birth mother, who was in labor. “The real heroes in this story are Magnolia’s birth parents,” she told the Today Show. “They chose her life and they sent her on an incredible journey.” It’s a story, and a photo, worth sharing – kudos for Gerber for recognizing it as much. [National Review, 6/1/20]

Rapper West Upsets Secularists

Kanye West announced last October that he has turned a corner in his life, converting to Christianity. In May GQ magazine interviewed him. “When you’re not in service to God, you can end up being in service to everything else,” he said. That is certainly true of many in the entertainment world. Tinseltown is known for alcoholism, drugs, promiscuity, and high rates of depression and suicide. Responding to a question that religion is a system of control, West said: “I see opportunity for creativity inside our faith.” Christianity may be restrictive, but it is a healthy tonic. It is not restraint that levels people–it is the abandonment of it.

Cultural elites who once embraced West are uneasy with his conversion. Some seem to have liked him better when he was offending people. The secular kings & queens who comprise the entertainment industry prefer raunch to the sacred. Kanye West should be welcomed, not disparaged, for going against the grain of the dominant culture. Given his huge following among young people, maybe he can help to transform it. [Catholic League, The Catalyst, 6/20]

Why Prolifers Resist “Legal” Abortion

A just law is a code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. One has a moral responsi- bility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Aug- ustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.” [Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., 4/16/1963]

Brief Clips

[Our Sunday Visitor, 5/17/20]

  • The number of new marriages is 6.5 to every 1,000 people in the U.S., the lowest in recent years, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics
  • “Modern society is in the process of formulating an anti-Christian creed, and resisting this creed is punished by social excommunication.” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, quoted in a new biography published in German on May 4.
  • Only 20% of Christian congregations in the U.S. hear sermons that mention abortion, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey that analyzed sermons shared online, April 7 to June 1, 2019.

HALO Helps Disabled & Elderly

The Healthcare Advocacy & Leadership Organiza- tion promotes, protects and advocates for the rights of the medically vulnerable through direct patient & family interactions, community education programs, & development of concrete “life-affirming health- care” alternatives for those facing healthcare rationing and unethical practices, especially those at risk of euthanasia and assisted suicide. [halovoice.org]

Troubled Times for Human Life

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Diversity Marks Pro-Life Movement

It features prominent female leaders and black activists, and has far more support from non-religious Americans than abortion supporters admit. Late last year, the Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal denomination and overwhelmingly African-American and Democrat, unveiled its “Resolution on the Sanctity of Human Life.”

The resolution stated: “Abortion is genocide. Abortion must end to protect the life of the unborn. This issue of personhood has haunted America since the Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson and Roe v. Wade decisions. Just as slavery was overturned in America, Jim Crow was defeated, and Nazi Germany was overthrown, we pray that the heinous industry of abortion will become morally reprehensible worldwide.”

Pro-life leaders often mention the deep ties between the earliest legal- abortion advocates and the eugenics movement, noting that Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, wanted to decrease what she saw as “unfit” populations including, in her view, blacks. She promoted birth control, though not abortion, to limit low-income & minority groups & proposed mandatory sterilization for those she deemed “feeble-minded.” Such views were widely shared among the earliest abortion advocates.

Secular Pro-Life, found in 2009 by Kelsey Hazzard, represents non-religious pro-lifers. She is assisted by Terrisa Bukovinac, a member of Democrats for Life and founder of Pro-Life San Francisco, which aims to galvanize West Coast young people. After seeing videos of abortion procedures, she became pro-life. “You can’t justify abortion any more than you can justify the killing of a born person. There is no consistent, objective distinction between an unborn person and a human being.” [Alexandra DeSanctis, The Pro-life Movement You’ve Never Heard Of, National Review, 4/6/20. Additional groups are highlighted in her article.]

Pandemic Being Exploited to Loosen Abortion Restrictions

Chemical abortion is a two-step process involving the ingestion of drugs, one to starve the unborn baby, the other to induce labor. U.S. government rules require the first drug to be dispensed in clinics or hospitals by doctors or other medical providers. Women doing this are vulnerable to four times as many adverse events as women undergoing surgical abortions.

Melanie Israel, a research associate at the DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, said the abortion industry’s push to loosen restrictions on chemical abortion amid a pandemic is their move not to “let a good crisis go to waste.” She emphasized: “It’s unfortunate to see this pandemic being exploited to achieve lower restrictions, which for a long time has been on the wish list of abortion proponents, long before the coronavirus was on anyone’s radar.”

“If you’re suffering from severe blood loss or perhaps an incomplete abortion and you need to take another round of drugs to resolve it, that’s all going to require additional follow-up during a pandemic when people are needing to isolate, when hospitals in certain areas are being overwhelmed. It’s sad that the abortion industry is focused on expanding something that could actually com- pound those problems in the effort to fight the coronavirus.” [Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, 5/10/20]

Home-Schooling Challenges

According to John Clark who was home schooled as a child and who has home-schooled his own children: “For four decades, home-schooling has always had to prove itself by going over a bar that was higher than the one set for any other form of education – and home schooling has soared over it.” So he was very upset over a recent article in Harvard Magazine.

Home-school parents are called “extreme religious ideologues” who “question science,” “promote female subservience” and encourage “white supremacy.” Nothing could be further from the truth, based on the evidence of decades of home-schoolers throughout the nation. He asks why the writers didn’t do any meaningful field research such as visiting home-schooling families. These writers did not employ the basic tool of science, observation, yet dare to offer all sorts of unfounded criticisms. [John Clark, Commentary, National Catholic Register, 5/10/20]

Doing Evil to Obtain Worthy Ends?

Some things are, in the words of the Church, “intrinsically evil” such as slavery, adultery, abuse of children, and the direct killing of the innocent, Therefore, they can never be used to justify any other goal, no matter how worthy. Yet, many of us can find justification for our behavior by appealing to a good end that we were hoping to achieve.

Society often goes along with this faulty approach, thinking that the righting of a general wrong justifies morally irresponsible behavior in particular cases. This is supremely dangerous because the moment we say that evil can be done for the sake of the good, we have effectively denied that there are any intrinsic evil acts.

So, as we legitimately fight the great evils of our time, we must remember St. Paul’s simple principle: never do evil that good might come of it. [Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire Ministries.]

Two Must-Reads

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons has authored Habits for a Healthy Marriage: A Handbook for Catholic Couples. It presents key habits that foster healing and growth in a marriage, helping couples identify and resolve major emotional conflicts that weaken relationships and hurt their marriages. A book designed to help those newly engaged, recently married, or married for many years.

Described as required reading for anyone interested in the 20th century history of feminism and its manipulation by powerful men, Sex and the Catholic Feminist: New Choices for a New Generation by former Cosmopolitan writer Sue Ellen Browder challenges the notion you can’t be a feminist and believe in God. She uncovers why the pro-life thread of feminism in America has been ignored by the media and left out of public conversation for fifty years. [Ignatius Press, Ft. Collins, CO, www.ignatius.com]

Is the SAT Really the Problem?

The Univ. of California announced it will stop using the SAT and ACT for admissions. “Requiring SAT scores, the argument goes, discriminates against low-income, black and Latino children who perform poorly on the tests because they lack advantages such as prep courses.” But seldom is any recognition given to what research indicates is the most important factor in test performance: living with one’s biological parents under the same roof.

“Family structure is about as important as family income in predicting who graduates from college today,” says W. Bradford Wilcox, sociology professor at the Univ. of Virginia. The data are pretty conclusive. The more intact the family, the better the education outcomes. [William McGurn, Wall Street Journal, 5/25/20]

NY Times Magazine Pandemic Issue

The May 24, 2020, issue included this painting titled “Beneath an Unforgiving Sun.” The painter intended to show that the “trauma that these women are conveying is one that can exist in the context of the 1960s or in the context of Covid-19.”

But the painting could also dramatize the loss of minority children through abortion. Catherine Davis of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition says that 20 million black lives have already been lost to abortion since 1973, more than the entire black population in 1960s America.

Is Faith-Based Foster Care Legitimate?

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and Catholic Charities agencies have joined more than 30 other religious groups, states and a group of Congress members urging the Supreme Court to protect Philadelphia’s faith-based foster care. Becket, a religious liberty law firm, represents the foster women defending the Catholic Social Services policy.

The groups filed friend-of-the court briefs in early June in Fulton v. Philadelphia, which the court will hear next term to determine if Philadelphia can exclude a Catholic social services agency from the city’s foster care program because the agency does not accept same-sex couples as foster parents. Instead, it refers those couples to other agencies. The briefs argued that the court should allow the city’s Catholic social service agency to continue its foster care role and protect faith-based ministries nationwide to ensure they maintain their First Amendment religious exercise rights.

A brief by the Catholic Association Foundation, a group which defends the church and religious liberty, said severing ties with Catholic-run foster care and adoption programs, “under the guise of enforcing ‘neutral’ anti-discrimination laws, is the equivalent of hanging a ‘Catholics Need Not Apply’ sign outside of every state and local health and human services department. Such a precedent is odious to the Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and the free exercise of religion, and should not stand.” [Carol Zimmermann, Our Sunday Visitor, 6/9/10]

Prayer Petitions for Father’s Day May expectant fathers lovingly support the mothers of their children in welcoming new life; For married couples longing for a child: May God grant them the grace and strength to place their faith in His loving plan.

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a single-sheet bulletin insert, and is now posted on four diocesan websites. To receive it free, email editor Frank Tinari, tinarifr@shu.edu 

Pregnant in a Pandemic

by Caroline Douglas, LEC Board of Trustees

Today, I’m 32 weeks pregnant—in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So what’s it like? It’s not as bad as the click-bait articles make it seem. Sure, there are downsides. I can’t make a midnight run to the store for a jar of pickles. I haven’t interacted with the outside world for two months, because even though pregnant women aren’t considered high risk for COVID-19, I don’t want to take any chances.

But, for the most part? I’m doing okay.

My prenatal appointments are held over the phone. I bought a blood pressure cuff, a blood sugar monitor, and urine reagent strips on Amazon for less than $100 combined. I measure my fundal height (the size of my uterus, which is an indicator of the baby’s growth) with a tape measure, do kick counts, and weigh myself. My mom, a retired doctor, checks my legs for edema (swelling).

These are the main tests that are carried out at each prenatal visit, and I’ve been doing them once a week at home. My pregnancy is low-risk, though; I’m sure it’s more of a trial for mothers who have a high-risk pregnancy or other complications.

But every pregnancy is difficult in its own way, and is coronavirus really making it so much worse? I don’t think so. Yet, some news outlets have reported higher abortion rates during the pandemic. Because fear is causing new mothers to panic.

This wasn’t how I planned it. This isn’t perfect. The timing isn’t right.

Sound familiar? They’re the words so often repeated to rationalize abortion.

In today’s culture, everything is supposed to be perfectly planned before a child is conceived. Enough money in the bank. Graduate degrees earned. A house bought, a college fund set up, and a nursery all set and ready.

But life doesn’t work that way. Randomness is always part of the equation. Couples who have been told they’re infertile, or who are using contraception, become pregnant all the time. And pregnancy is a long nine months—anything can happen between conception and birth! I planned this second baby, unlike my first. But I never could have predicted that five months later we’d be hit with a global pandemic.

Planning for the perfect pregnancy is impossible.

And resistance to this principle is one of the major factors pushing abortion. “I want to terminate my unplanned pregnancy.” “My baby has Downs Syndrome, which wasn’t expected, and I want to have an abortion.” Why do we chase after perfectly-planned pregnancies? And perfect babies?

When there is no such thing as “the perfect pregnancy”?

Why not instead rely on faith? I’m not talking about religious faith, but faith in the little lives growing inside of us. That they are worth the inconveniences, the complications, the risks. And faith in ourselves—that we’re strong enough to get through a difficult pregnancy, or a pregnancy in difficult times.

We can’t let fear—of coronavirus, or a pregnancy that is “unplanned”, or anything else—take our faith away from us.

We can do this.

And so can all the little unborn children, living and thriving in these uncertain times, waiting to come into the world.

The Virus, Life Issues and a “New Normal”

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Theology of the Body Virtual Conference

On the weekend of May 8-10 there will be over 60 of the best known Catholic speakers and evangelists speaking on the topic. This conference will be available worldwide between Friday, May 8, 2020, at 12PM EDT to Sunday, May 10, 2020, at Midnight. This online event is offered at NO COST! Register at https://www.tobvirtualconference.com There is also available a discounted Premium Pass Option for those who want access to the conference after May 10th.

Neural Evidence That Two Really Do Become One

Long-term married couples have been reported to share personality and behavioral similarities, but whether long-term marriage would shape the brain is hitherto unknown. In this study, 35 pairs of long-term married couples living together at least 30 years, were recruited. The results provide objective evidence that long-term marriage shapes brain network organization, and the combination of initial personality traits and long-term common experience of the couples may be potential factors that account for similar brain network organizations between couples. [multiple authors, Neural evidence for long-term marriage shaping the functional brain network organization between couples, NeuroImage, Oct. 2019]

Vaccines Using Aborted Babies’ Cells?

Several companies including Pfizer, J&J, Oxford Univ., Moderna, & Merck have been work- ing very quickly to develop Covid-19 vaccines. Some are beginning human clinical trials. [Wall St. Jnl., 4/29/20]

Prominent bioethics groups are raising concerns because British scientists used cell lines derived from aborted babies in their experiments, something many pro-life and Catholic leaders have been urging scientists not to do. Though vaccines can save lives, pro-life advocates believe they should not be developed using materials derived from human rights abuses, including abortions. They note that ethical alternatives are available, and they can be just as successful.

Joseph Meaney, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (Philadelphia), stated that scientists tend to use cells derived from aborted babies out of “convenience,” even though they have ethical alternatives. “Many companies don’t use them & develop good vaccines” he said.

Catholic leaders, including Meaney, are urging people to “insist on ethical scientific research that has no links to abortion or the killing of embryos.” American Catholic bishops are raising similar concerns. In a recent letter, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas urged people to stand strong against the “evil practice” of using aborted baby body parts to develop vaccines. “Just because the crime of abortion is considered legal in our nation does not mean it is morally permissible to use the dead bodies of these children to cure a global pandemic,” he wrote. “Emphatically, this practice is evil.”

U.S. Catholic bishops sent a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure vaccines are being produced ethically. Pro-life leaders also have highlighted how ethical alternatives to tissue from aborted babies are available, including pluripotent stem cells and tissue from placentas, umbilical cords and amniotic fluid. In 2018, the U.S. administration created a $20 million grant to invest in these ethical research alternatives. Recently, the Charlotte Lozier Institute noted that at least 60 potential treatments for the virus are being investigated right now using materials that do not come from aborted babies. [Possible New Coronavirus Vaccine Made With Cells Taken From Aborted Babies, LifeNews.com, 4/28/20]

AVM Biotechnology is one of the ethically-based companies that has started clinical trials of its drug. [clinicaltrials@avmbiotech.com]

Dear College Students, RE Covid-19

I was a junior in college on 9/11, and even as shattering as that day was, most of us went back to class several days later in a way that removed us from the enduring loss. What makes this pandemic different is that no one is immune. We are likely to see illness and even death on a scale few if any of us have seen before. People we know are going to lose their jobs, if they have not lost them already. All this distancing will lead to increased feelings of loneliness, and many of us already felt lonely.

We have already begun to experience the losses that will not be recouped: “normal” is undergoing change. And so you come face-to-face with the irrefutable lesson that many of us do not learn until much later, if at all: life is about loss. That sounds fatalistic and pessimistic, but it is honest and potentially freeing.

It is freeing if we learn to accept that our lives are on loan and we are meant to give our lives over to others. The illusion of youth hides that; the honesty of adulthood unveils it. The irony of adulthood is that precisely when we reach that point where it seems our independence will have been maximized, we are reminded of our dependence both from within our own bodies and from the world around us. That is “the gift” of this pandemic: the truth is being laid bare—we are all vulnerable and dependent, and far more is contingent than certain.

So, here is my advice: accept the losses as losses, then find a way to give. That sounds completely counterintuitive, because so many of our instincts direct us to try to find a way to recoup our losses, which lead us down the road to sorrow and futility. We were vulnerable before this and we will be vulnerable “after.” The call in this season is to throw off the illusion of invulnerability and live together in truth. That is what college was supposed to lead you to anyway: Truth. [Leonard J. DeLorenzo, Ph.D., Notre Dame professor, excerpts from “Dear Students: There Is No Afterwards,” in Catholic Education, 3/25/20] On March 2nd, Virginia became the 20th state to ban “conversion therapy” for minors.

On March 4th, it made its Dept. of Educ. create pro-“transgender” public school policies. It also passed “gender transition” healthcare coverage and continues to rapidly advance bills for “non-binary” driver’s licenses, easier changes for birth certificates, repealing protections for faith-based adoption/foster care, all with no exceptions for religious freedom. [U.S. Conf. Catholic Bishops]

States May Ban Abortions During Pandemic

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a 2-to-1 ruling allowed Texas to suspend most abortions in the state during the coronavirus public-health crisis. In times of great emergency, states can reasonably restrict constitutional rights to protect public safety, the court’s majority said. “That settled rule allows the state to restrict, for example, one’s right to peaceably assemble, to publicly worship, to travel, and even to leave one’s home. The right to abortion is no exception,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the court.

The fast-moving litigation is shaping up as the leading test case of whether states can use a national health emergency to place sweeping restrictions on abortion, despite constitutional pro- tections for abortion rights previously established by the Supreme Court. Abortion providers who sued could now ask the appeals court to reconsider the issue with more judges participating, or they could seek emergency intervention from the Supreme Court. [Brent Kendall and Elizabeth Findell, Wall St. Jnl., 4/7/20]

MLK’s Niece Banned from Speaking

Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), pro-life students filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Georgia Tech, accusing its student government of discriminating against Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda King. The Student Government Association said that King’s pro-life views could be offensive. King is a celebrated pro-life and civil rights leader. In September, she spoke at Georgia Tech about her civil rights work and encouraged students to continue the cause.

Two student leaders of the pro-life club paid for the event themselves because the student govern- ment association refused to. Yet all students pay into a student activities fund to help pay for such events. ADF’s Caleb Dalton said: “Georgia Tech’s policy allowed discrimination against Ms. King because she was accused of leading an ‘inherently religious’ life. Under such a standard, Martin Luther King himself would not be welcome on campus. Public universities are supposed to be the market- place of ideas, but that marketplace can’t function if a university grants funding only to student groups whose views the university favors.”

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said student pro-life clubs face opposition all across the country: “The Constitution is clear that public universities can’t engage in the type of discrimination that has taken place at Georgia Tech.” [Georgia Tech Faces Lawsuit After Discriminating Against A. King Because She’s Pro-Life, LifeNews.com, 4/2/20]

City Denies Care in Pandemic, Yet Allows Surgical Abortions

While NYC was still in the throes of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreak, ambulances responded to a medical emergency at the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood on April 24th. This was the 13th medical emergency at the high-volume abortion facility in the past 15 months. At the time of the emergency, the city was enduring a lockdown that included a ban on elective surgeries … except for abortion.

“While legitimate NY businesses are closed and hospitals are denying care to people needing procedures such as organ transplants and cancer surgeries, abortion businesses are operating on all cylinders and Planned Parenthood sends women with botched abortions to occupy precious hospital beds,” said Troy Newman, Operation Rescue Pres. “New Yorkers are suffering without jobs or medical care, while abortion businesses rake in record profits. Planned Parenthood is given preferential treatment by the governor who made killing babies top priority in his state.” [Cheryl Sullenger, LifeNews.com, 4/27/20]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a single-sheet bulletin insert, and is now posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your free copy, email editor Frank Tinari, tinarifr@shu.edu 

Easter Alleluia! … in a World Turned Upside-Down

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Priest Hears Confessions in Outdoor Shed

Fr. Daniel O’Mullane, pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Boonton NJ, sits in a grey shed on church grounds while parishioners walk up to the shed window to make their confessions. Fr. Dan sits on a folding chair behind a fabric screen six feet away, counseling parishioners and prescribing penance. [The Beacon, 4/2/20]

That is one of the many unique ways our faithful priests serve their flock. Other priests are reaching out to homebound parishioners through video chats & podcasts. Many are livestreaming Masses, sending regular updates to their parishioners, providing counseling and teaching virtually, and going live on social media to offer love, support and prayer to their communities. Some have even set up drive-up Eucharistic adoration. Taking all due precautions, priests are visiting & comforting the sick in hospitals. Several bishops have provided leadership, especially those who literally have brought the Eucharist to all corners of their dioceses.

We can only pray that what we are witnessing in Italy does not come to the U.S. As of the beginning of April, more than 60 Italian priests have died. Many were hospital chaplains and likely contracted the virus by administering the sacraments to the sick & dying. Their sacrifice, made in service to the Church its people, cannot be forgotten. [Editorial, Our Sunday Visitor, 4/5/20]

Postscript: At the end of last month, the Dept. of Homeland Security included “clergy for essential support” in its definitive list of federal agency personnel. Thus, they are treated like first responders, moving and ministering on the front lines.

Ohio Abortionists Defy Closure Order

“After being told that they must stop all abortion procedures to fight the spread of the coronavirus and to avoid using precious protective gear needed for health care workers tending to those suffering from the disease, abortion providers in Ohio are defying orders to close up shop. In a joint statement, Ohio Planned Parenthood leaders said the it “can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortions.” On March 20, Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Fulkerson told the clinics that “if you or your facility do not immediately stop … the Dept. of Health will take all appropriate measures.” It’s unfathomable that while some doctors and nurses are working tirelessly to keep people alive, at their own risk, others are claiming that ending human life is an “essential service.” [Our Sunday Visitor, 4/5/20]

For Teens Stuck at Home

Did you see Teen Vogue is back encouraging teens as young as thirteen to sext? Last month the magazine posted a Snapchat Discovery story with the following message and worse: “Like Anything Worth Doing, Sexting Takes Practice.”

Last week, the Human Life Alliance launched the 2020/21 teen abstinence magazine Just for Girls/Just for Guys. Put your pro-life beliefs into action during the COVID-19 epidemic by giving copies of this important magazine to a teen you know today. Now’s a perfect time—they’re captive at home due to the virus.

The content is irresistible, practical, appealing, all in the format of a glossy magazine. It has science, advice, stories, etc. And even though young people aren’t reading that much anymore, they read this. They get immediately engrossed in it when they sit down. At first they might giggle a bit, but then they get very serious. Request your copy today. The teen you love will be glad you cared enough to share Just for Girls/Just for Guys with them. [www.humanlife.org]

Life and Death

The Easter season doesn’t end with Holy Week but begins on Easter Sunday. Go back to read one of the Gospel accounts of when the tomb was found empty. This is the center point of human history and should take on that significance in our lives. The season means life has conquered death – new life is available for all. For those of us who struggle to promote respect for all human life, Easter gives us renewed hope that truth will defeat falsehood, that light will overpower darkness, and a culture of life will outshine a culture of death. So, no matter what sorrow surrounds us, no matter the difficulties of the current pandemic, we can be filled with hope and joy. Happy Easter!!

If God Is All Powerful, Why Does He Allow This?

Gideon asked this question in the biblical narrative of Judges. That was in the 12th century B.C. Such questions plague even the strongest people of faith. Facing the pandemic, many today struggle to believe and to hope. The question of evil, pain and suffering in the world is ultimately a question of God’s existence. God doesn’t explain why to us. It remains a mystery. But He does show us how to defeat the enemy. God has gifted us with the means to deal with the evils we face. The many health care workers, the doctors and nurses, our government officials, religious leaders, volunteers and all people of good will who are doing their best to fight this battle: they are God’s response. “By my strength, my help, my grace, you can do it!” [Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, The Question of God in the Midst of a Pandemic, April 2020]

Marriage Involves Procreating New Life

As human beings, we possess bodies and souls. Basically, all humans grow and eventually decline. All need nourishment, air and water. All are subject to disease. All die. All have the emotional ability to love, even heroically. All are inclined to relate, very personally and perhaps exclusively, with others. All have the potential to procreate new life in personal conjunction with another human of the opposite gender.

The sacrament of marriage provides true believers the opportunity to pursue the purpose for which God created them. It enables & enhances the human inclination to love unselfishly and without qualification. Marriage also involves procreation since humans are capable of uniting with others in creating new life. In the ideal, procreation should occur in a loving marital relationship that provides a mother and father for children that are brought into the world. The Catholic Church supports traditional marriage because it is part of a much larger vision of who & what we are, as humans created by God to love and serve Him. [Msg. Owen F. Campion, Our Sunday Visitor, 1/19/20]

If the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination, then the common outcry, justly made on behalf of human rights (for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture), is false and illusory. [Pope John Paul II, The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, 1988.]

WHO Claims Abortion is “Essential”

The World Health Organization recently stated: “Women’s choices and rights to sexual and reproductive health care should be respected, irrespective of whether or not she has a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.” However, medical groups representing over 33,000 doctors disagree. Yet, WHO insists that “services related to reproductive health are considered to be part of essential services during the COVID-19 outbreak,” adding that it provides both global technology and policy guidance to WHO members “on the use of contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy, safe abortion, and treatment of complications from unsafe abortion.” [Ed: As of April 7th, there have been 1,429,437 cases of the coronavirus worldwide and 82,074 people have died from the virus.]

In the USA, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Indiana, Mississippi & Iowa have declared abortions non-essential and banned these procedures to preserve equipment & resources for fighting coronavirus. Yet Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon, Hawaii and Virginia, that have all banned elective medical procedures, have made an exception for abortion procedures. [Mary Margaret Olohan, www.LifeNews.com, 4/6/20]

Next Battleground: Chemical Abortion

The Mifeprex abortion pill regimen is used for aborting babies up to 10 weeks old at which point the baby already has a heartbeat, head, hands, feet, fingers & toes. The rate of chemical abortions in the United States is at an all-time high.

The increase is being driven by the abortion industry, which regards drug-based do-it-yourself abortions as the best way to get around state-level pro-life laws. Mifeprex is subject to the FDA’s drug safety program because it carries life-threatening risks. The abortion industry wants the restriction lifted in order to have abortion pills available through the pharmacy & the mail, making do-it-yourself abortions the future of the industry.

Abortion advocates once claimed that legal abortion would alleviate the danger to women of “back-alley” abortions. Yet, the health complications that often result from an induced chemical abortion are eerily similar to those “back-alley” abortions, including severe bleeding, infection, retained fetal parts, possible emergency surgery & even death. In addition, the woman, who may or may not have health insurance coverage, is expected to bear the added cost of any complications.

Over-the-counter abortion drugs could have radical implications for women’s health and safety, especially pertaining to intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, sex trafficking and accurate patient assessment. It appears that advancing the abortion industry’s agenda for the abortion pill regimen is about political, ideological & financial goals—not care for women. [Patrina Mosley, Family Research Council, www.frc.org]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a single-sheet bulletin insert, and posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your free copy, email editor Frank Tinari, tinarifr@shu.edu 

Pro-Family Values, Pro-Life Values

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Brains of Women and Men Differ

Neuroscientist Linda Mosconi at Weill Cornell Medical College, NYC, was interviewed about her new book, The XX Brain, that addresses hormonal changes. “Women’s brains are not the same as men’s brains …. They’re wired a little bit differently because the DNA is different.” Regarding the capacity to multitask: “Not to say that men are not able to, but women seem to have a little bit of an advantage” Yet, anxiety and depression “are much more common in women than men. Women are four times more likely than men to have headaches and migraines. Women are way more likely to even have a brain tumor. And women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“Brain imaging studies done in women before and after pregnancy show that some parts of the brain kind of shrink after the baby is born, but that is actually a good thing. The new mom is like, ‘OK, I no longer have time for everybody’s things. I need to be able to focus on this baby and I want to optimize my brain so that it’s really sharp and really devoted to motherhood.’” [Wall Street Journal, 3/10/20]

Court Supports Pro-Life Student Group

California State University agreed to pay more than $240,000 in fees after a federal court found that it had discriminated against a student pro-life group and had used mandatory student fees to fund only university-favored views. Students for Life had been denied access to funding paid for by mandatory student fees that should have been available to all student groups. Students for Life of America is the largest pro-life student group in the U.S., with more than 1,225 student groups on high school and college campuses.

Attorney Caleb Dalton said: “Public universities should encourage all students to participate in the free exchange of ideas, not create elaborate and secretive funding schemes to fund their favorite groups while excluding opposing views from equal access.” [National Catholic Register, 3/1/20]

So Much to Be Thankful For …

… above all, the gift of life itself. The work done in the Church for the cause of life has been remarkable. She continues advocating for the unborn and doing so without neglecting the real needs of women and families through thousands of helping centers, financial aid, medical services, legal advice, counseling, places to live, jobs, education, and assistance to keep the child or place the child for adoption. Even after abortion, the Church offers God’s mercy to bring healing and reconciliation to thousands of women. There is still need for advocacy and to support women along the way. And the culture of death expands with physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and infanticide among other threats to life. [Fr. Andrew Burns, homily, Respect Life Mass, Cathedral of St. John, Paterson, NJ, The Beacon, 11/16/19]

“The goal of the pro-life movement is not simply that Roe would be overturned but that ours would be a society friendly to life. As long as our laws allow for the killing of the unborn, we cannot claim to be such a society. But the erasure of such laws will not, in itself, absolve us of the charge of being a society that is deeply inhumane and hostile to life.” [Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy, Jan. 2020]

Why Do Christian Girls Obtain Abortions?

Fear often stands behind the decision to abort. Young women are understand- ably frightened when discovering they’re pregnant. “I’m afraid I’m not ready and I won’t be a good mother.” “I’m fearful my boyfriend won’t stand by me.” “What will mom and dad think of the fact that I’ve been having sex?” “My church friends will look down on me for this if they ever found out.”

Those who should be at their side in a moment of crisis may not be present. Mothers and fathers may not have fostered close relationships with their daughters. They may have never discussed the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy to let them know that, even if they act contrary to their advice & conceive a child, they will still be there for them. According to Wendy Bonano, pregnancy support center director in N. Carolina: “Quite often there’s a piece missing from the ‘talks’ parents have with their daughters and sons. Without knowing it, we are leaving no doors open for our children to come back to us should they stray. We make good strong cases for purity until marriage, yet neglect to communicate the message of grace that we are there for them no matter what, and should they make a mistake, in this case get pregnant, it is safe for them to come to us for help and support.” [Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, Florida Catholic, 2/21/20]

“Never Been as Many Slaves in the World as Today”

So said Gabriella Bottani of Talitha Kum, a global network of nuns that assists trafficked persons, as she participated in a nun’s march in Vatican City last month. The International Labor Organization estimates that almost 25 million people are in forced labor worldwide; about 20% of those are in forced sexual exploitation.

The Talitha Kum group is based in Rome and operates in 92 nations to coordinate the actions of Catholic nuns who fight human trafficking. It supports women who had been sold into prostitution as well as the thousands of adults and children who are sold into forced labor or slavery. Pope Francis again spoke out on behalf of the millions of men, women and children who are trafficked and enslaved, calling human trafficking a “scourge” and an “open wound.” [E. Povoledo, “Nuns March,” NYTimes, 2/10/20]

A Lenten Prayer Opportunity

During Lent, would you be willing to spend an hour or two a week in a prayer vigil? 40 Days for Life is an internationally coordinated campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a vigil in front of abortion businesses. Peaceful and educational, the campaign is a focused, 40-day, non-stop, round-the-clock prayer vigil outside a single Planned Parenthood center or other abortion facility in your community. Those who are called to stand witness during this daily 24-hour presence send a powerful message about the tragic reality of abortion. It also serves as a call to repentance for those who work at the abortion center & those who patronize the facility.

To get involved, go to the website https://www.40daysforlife.com/, click on “Find Vigil Location” and enter your zip code to view your local coordinator’s name and contact information.

Doctors Save Premature Babies

The field of neonatology took off in the second half of the 20th century when a few pediatricians, often against the advice of colleagues, dared to save newborns. Yet every advance brings with it new dilemmas. Innovations may save a child’s life but can leave them with significant disabilities. A doctor cannot predict how a particular premature baby will fare. All doctors wrestle with these issues that are particularly poignant when dealing with tiny babies. That’s because the field of neonatology has changed the way we understand what it means to be alive, what it means to be human, and what constitutes a life worth living. [Review of Sarah DiGregorio’s book, Early, NY Times, 2/9/20]

Life is in Our Hands

On Jan. 20 our country celebrated the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., father of the civil-rights movement. On Jan. 22, we commemorated that infamous 1973 day when the Supreme Court robbed unborn children, disproportionately black, of their most basic, Creator-endowed, unalienable right to life by legalizing abortion on demand, all of which has resulted in what has been called black genocide.

Coincidentally, on Jan. 22, 1951, Alveda King, the reverend’s niece, was born. Today, this “director of civil rights of the unborn” calls the abortion battle the civil-rights struggle of this century. We can help halt the holocaust of the most helpless members of our human family by urging our elected officials to vote against anti-life legislation. [Richard Carey, letter, Nat. Catholic Register, 3/1/20]

“It is indisputable that abortion ends a life, and the decision to end a life is permanent.” Rep. Erin Grall, a sponsor of the Florida measure that requires parental consent for minors seeking to procure an abortion. The bill passed both houses in February. The governor is expected to sign it. [Our Sunday Visitor, 3/8/20]

Genetic Engineering Blind to True Human Nature

We experience a natural drive to improve ourselves and our world. Its highest expression lies in charitable love of our neighbors & faithful preparation for union with the Divine. Our human nature thrives when we develop a shared moral sensibility in our interaction with others and in our experience of joy in the beauty of God-given creation. Disabled persons are then properly valued as miraculous, unique treasures of our human community. Removing some perceived disease, abnormality or deficit in an embryo would not guarantee that the altered person would be spared unpredictable suffering in his or her life. Suffering is not limited to persons who are ‘abnormal’ or less capable of achievement. Relationships with parents could become distorted for those children aware of having been ‘manufactured’; the edited persons might lose the reassurance that comes from miraculously receiving & freely developing one’s unique, given identity. Medical ideology of control generates a mirage through which we can barely perceive the wondrous, irreplaceable, and divinely intended nature of an individual human. Genetic engineering of unborn humans says much about parents and scientists who put their preferences for normality, abilities and competitive achievement above respect for the awesome miracle of human nature. [Christopher M. Reilly, Madness of Human Genetic Engineering, Human Life Review, Aug. 2019.]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a single-sheet bulletin insert, & posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your free copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu 

The Pregnancy Diaries: 20 weeks + gender reveal!

by Caroline Douglas, LEC Board of Trustees

On Wednesday I had my anatomy ultrasound. The baby is healthy and growing normally, with a heart rate of 146 bpm and weighing more than a pound!

And we found out our baby’s gender!

It’s a…

BOY!

Our son will have a little brother! We’re so excited for this new addition to our family.

This little guy is STRONG. He’s almost 22 weeks now, and his kicks are almost painful! It’s amazing how alive and strong he is even though we are only halfway through the pregnancy.

And I’m finally showing now! Only a little more than four months to go! We’re so excited for this new addition to our family.

Public Slowly Turning More Pro-Life (February 2020)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Gallup Poll re Abortion Laws

Last year, New York passed a devastating law that legalizes abortions up to birth and infanticide. Vermont followed with its own abortions-up-to- birth legislation, then Rhode Island and, finally, Illinois legalized abortions up to birth.

Americans are not happy about it, according to a new Gallup poll (Jan. 2-15, 2020). “58% say they are dissatisfied with the nation’s policies on abortion, marking a seven-percentage-point increase from one year ago & a new high,” Gallup reported. Americans have generally been unhappy with our pro-abortion laws; that level of disapproval has increased as abortion activists have taken their radical activism to new heights (shout your abortion campaign, laws for abortions up to birth, forcing Americans to fund abortions & doctors to do them, or even defending infanticide).

Gallup has measured Americans’ abortion views since 2001 as part of its annual Mood of the Nation poll. Typically the Gallup poll has found most Americans oppose all or most abortions. In the past, Gallup found that roughly half oppose all or almost all abortions. It has “consistently” found over the years that a majority of Americans are pro-life. More people want stricter abortion laws & they’re upset because the laws are too supportive of abortion.

Gallup found 60% of Americans take a pro-life position on abortion wanting all (21%) or almost all (39%) abortions made illegal. That 60% figure is the highest percentage espousing a pro-life position since 2009 and a dramatic rise in pro-life attitudes since the 53% figure Gallup found in its poll last year. [Steve Ertelt, LifeNews.com, 1/22/20]

“I should feel okay. Everyone else does. I must not think about the abortion.”

Post-abortion reactions originate mainly from the problem of denial & suppression of feelings. Suppressing emotions is the basis of post-abortion trauma: the denial of the baby and denial of our feelings. Some women experience flashbacks of the abortion & dreams of the unborn child. Some experience intense psychological distress from people or things that remind them of the abortion, such as seeing pregnant women or passing an abortion clinic. Intense grieving and depression may occur on the anniversary dates of the abortion or the child’s projected due date. Others try to avoid activities, situations, or information that might cause a remembrance of the abortion. Some women suffer from an inability to have loving or tender feelings. Most conscious or unconscious coping mechanisms produce additional pain and problems.

Project Rachel began over fifteen years ago for women, men & families who have been affected by abortion. Not only does the Church speak the truth about abortion to men & women contemplating this action, but it is also a place of healing: “If you have had an abortion, God’s mercy is great enough to forgive that, too.” Jesus offers forgiveness & healing: the hope and promise of resurrection and reunion with the child who is waiting for his parents in heaven.

People who call Project Rachel are offered referrals to professional counselors or to priests specially trained for guidance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But basically everyone in the Church is a part of Project Rachel. Everyone is a part of the healing ministry of Christ. You may know someone who has had an abortion. You never accuse or confront. A simple word that will touch their hearts and release them from fear and isolation can begin the healing process. [Sr. Paula Vandegaer, “After the Abortion,” hopeafterabortion.com]

“I’ve killed more people than Ted Bundy.”

Coming to terms with the fact that I was a professional mass murderer was devasta- ting, but it forced me to speak the truth. I began my medical career believing the modern clichés that women must have total control over our bodies, that it’s irresponsible to bring unwanted children into an overpopulated world. When faced with my own unwanted pregnancy before entering medical school, I chose abortion.

When I got my medical license in Florida in 1978, I moonlighted as an abortionist on the weekends, making more money than I would have made working in the emergency room. I was amazed by the perfect little fingers & toes but treated fetal remains like any other medical specimen, with no emotion. The only time I questioned my line of work was during my neonatal rotation, when I realized I was trying to save babies in the neonatal intensive care unit who were the same age as some of the babies I was aborting.

A mother of four who felt she just couldn’t manage another child brought me to tears. She wept before, during and after the procedure. It was the grief of a woman who knew the moral gravity of what she was doing that ended my abortion career. I stopped doing abortions yet remained pro- choice. But I saw in my OB-GYN practice young girls flourish who had chosen not to abort, & older, more educated patients who had aborted struggle psychologically. Gradually, I began to see the feminist view that abortion empowers women as increasingly flimsy.

I now give expert testimony on the realities of abortion, like the testimonies the Supreme Court will soon consider in the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Gee. For years, many abortion clinics have gotten away with shoddy practices that no surgery center would be likely to get away with. This is surely because abortion workers, legislators and law enforcement fear that they will be accused of restricting access to abortion if they hold abortion clinics accountable. Abortionists should be required to have local hospital admitting privileges. Many physicians on staff at ambulatory surgical centers are required to have hospital privileges to ensure that patient care is not compromised in the event of a complication.

I was pro-choice for decades. I performed abortions & had an abortion. I understand in a deep and personal way where the fault lines of disagreement over abortion in America lie. But can’t we at least all agree on the importance of safety in the abortion industry? [Dr. Kathi Aultman, member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, LifeNews.com, 1/22/20]

We Hope the President Will Respect All Humans

History was made on Jan. 24 by the first sitting president ever to address in person the crowd gathered on the National Mall for the March for Life. [Editor’s note: an estimate of more than 400,000 people participated in the March for Life.]

Though there was a definite political upside for the president’s appearance, we would be remiss if we didn’t set politics aside and say: To hear the president declare on national TV, without compromise or condition, that the life of every child is sacred was a gift for beleaguered pro-lifers who have dedicated their lives to proclaiming that essential truth within a generally hostile culture.

“All of us here today understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God,” said Pres. Trump. ”Together we must protect, cherish and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life. He thanked women for their leadership in the pro-life movement for doing everything from providing mothers in need with housing, medical care, education and jobs to hosting baby showers. And he singled out mothers as “heroes.”

These are striking words in their complete & utter truth, and in the simple fact they were spoken by an American president. Yes… we agree: Every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Every human being has dignity & worth. This includes every human being, regardless of race or origin of birth, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of migration status, regardless of economic status, regardless of appearance. It includes every human being who might share an opposing view. And above all, yes, it includes every human being growing in his or her mother’s womb. It is our fervent hope that President Trump’s passionate & correct declaration that every human life, born & unborn, is made in the image of God be reflected in all policies & priorities of his presidency. [Editorial, Our Sunday Visitor, 1/25/20]

Prayer Petition: “May all who support or participate in abortion experience a conversion of heart to seek and receive the Lord’s boundless mercy.” US Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat

Unwanted Children Even 600 Years Ago

Starting around the early 1400s in Florence, Italy, hundreds of thousands of children were abandoned. The Innocenti Institute was found in 1446 as a hospital and orphanage for abandoned children, most of whom were girls. Some of these babies were born out of wedlock, or they were the result of wealthy men impregnating servants so they could eventually become wet nurses for their own children. The Institute named each of the children they took in and gave them Florentine citizenship. Over the centuries, untold numbers of children have not had the same good fortune. The Innocenti Institute offered life when death was the alternative.

Much of this history is presented in“The Innocents of Florence,” a new documentary that recently opened in Florence to large audiences and wide praise. Produced in both English and Italian, distribution in the U.S. currently is being negotiated. [Italian Tribune, 12/19/19]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a single-sheet bulletin insert, & posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your free copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu

Going Public to Defend Human Life (January 2020)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

New Year’s Resolution: Walk for Life!

The national Rally and March for Life in Washington DC will be on Friday, January 24th. Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman is the theme. Anyone who has been on a past March will tell you how inspiring is the experience. Check your local area churches for buses to the March.

Yes, it is the whole day but it sends a powerful message to the nation regarding the dignity of each human life. But if you can’t attend, consider other events including: Jan. 18: Arizona Life March & Rally, Idaho March, North Carolina Rally and March for Life, & San Diego Walk for Life; Jan. 20: Walk for Life West Coast; Jan. 22: Rally for Life, Trenton, NJ; Feb 1: Midwest March for Life; Feb 13: Virginia March for Life; April 15: Connecticut March for Life; May 18: Pennsylvania March for Life. And there are many others. A complete list of marches and rallies may be found at www.marchforlife.org.

NFL Rookie Quarterback Doesn’t Duck Faith Questions

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Devlin Hodges from Alabama has been the relief starter in several crucial games, after joining the NFL team a few months ago. In a recent interview, he said: “I just want to do the best I can and have everyone else do the best they can, so it all works out for the glory of God. Every night I thank God for all the blessings he has given me, my family and friends. I ask for his continued blessings so that I can live how he wants, bringing glory to him.”

Devlin and his family weren’t cradle Catholics but converted while he was in high school. “I went with a friend to Mass. And I could feel the presence of God there, and I was impressed by the Church carrying on the tradition that Christ established at the Last Supper.”

“I’ve been to the team Mass a few times with two-time Pro-Bowler Alejandro Villanueva. He was surprised since I’m from a part of the country known for being Protestant.” [National Catholic Register, 12/22/19]

Mom Rejects Abortion of Baby With Spina Bifida; Doctors Try Surgery

Bethan Simpson of England, at her 20-week scan in early 2019, learned her unborn daughter had spina bifida. The congenital defect leaves the spinal cord exposed through a gap in the back-bone which can lead to a variety of serious problems including paralysis.

Mrs. Simpson wrote on her Facebook page, “Our lives were such a roller coaster for the next few weeks. We were offered continuing pregnancy, ending pregnancy or a new option called fetal surgery – fixing her before she is born. We had to do it.” The BBC reported that the successful 4-hour surgery at University College Hospital (London) last December involved opening her womb and lifting her baby into position to repair the hole, and repositioning the baby’s spinal cord.

“Sadly 80% of babies in England are terminated when their parents get told their baby has this condition,” Mrs. Simpson wrote at the time. Spina bifida is “not a death sentence. She has the same potential as every one of us.”

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion. If we can accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another.” Saint Mother Teresa

In a Facebook update today, we read: “She’s beyond exceptional. She’s spina beautiful and she’s not letting her condition defy her. No matter how little she is, she genuinely is my hero, she’s my savior and I’m so proud to show her off.”

Each and every time an unborn baby undergoes prenatal surgery, often because of signs the baby has spina bifida, it unavoidably raises a dilemma for pro-abortion partisans. This child is either partially or completely removed from her mother’s womb, surgeons work their wondrous ways, and she is placed back inside her mom where she nestles down until delivery time. The child is a baby when she was in the womb, baby when she was temporarily outside the womb, and baby when she is returned to home base.

Yet an “unwanted” child of a similar age is … what? When a woman decides she does not wish to “carry her pregnancy” to completion, does it make sense that the baby can be dehumanized into a “choice”? It is cognitive dissonance on steroids. [Dave Andrusko, www.LifeNews.com, 12/26/19].

“Is it surprising that today we have become so morally blind that we save the baby whales at great cost, and murder millions of unborn children?” Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Mother & Child [Re]Union

There is an intimate relation between a mother & her prenatal child. In a mother’s womb following conception, God builds a relational organ that can only be described as amazing: the human placenta. Baby and mother can be thought of as reaching out for one another at a physiological level to build the placenta, the only purposely temporary organ in humans and the only one that is created by two people in cooperation. The placenta provides the functions normally assumed by one’s lungs and kidneys and additionally has metabolic, thermo-regulatory, endocrine and immune functions.

The inter-connectedness between the prenatal child and her mother is intimate and more profound than previously believed. We know that the growing baby sends some of her cells across the placenta into her mother in a way that we are only beginning to understand. These cells migrate to various sites of maternal tissue and integrate into them. They then assume the function of the surrounding tissue and begin to function as such. Researchers are in the early stages of attempting to understand the full function of these cells, but some models suggest that some of these cells continue to aid the mother years after her baby is born such as the spacing of future siblings, and protecting women against autoimmune disorders.

Theologically, we can say that Mary not only carried the Son of God in her body when he was in her womb, but that she likely carried his cells in her body throughout her life in a way that further magnifies her position as the glorious Theotokos. [Kristin M. Collier MD, Church Life Journal, Notre Dame U., 7/25/19]

Ultrasound Was a “Bombshell”

Terry Beatley, author & founder of Hosea Initiative, shared her exclusive interview with Dr. Bernard Nathanson who, in 1969, co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now called NARAL Pro-Choice America, which advocates for abortion rights. His efforts succeeded with the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. Nathanson claimed responsibility for the death of more than 75,000 pre-born babies, including two of his own unborn children.

A few months after the Roe v. Wade decision, a new technology transformed his views on abortion. “The bombshell was real-time ultrasound. It made everything come alive,” he told Beatley. “I finally came to the conviction that this was my patient. This was a person. I was a physician, pledged to save my patients’ lives, not destroy them. So, I changed my mind on the subject of abortion.” The doctor later became one of the prominent leaders of the prolife movement in America and produced the 1985 anti-abortion film “The Silent Scream.” [Terry Beatley, What If We’ve Been Wrong: Keeping My Promise to America’s “Abortion King”]

But big divisions on the topic persist nationwide. States across the South and Midwest passed 58 abortion restrictions in the first six months of 2019, 25 of which would ban all, most, or some abortions. Meanwhile, state legislatures mostly in the North- east and West have enacted legislation to protect abortion rights and expand access to contraceptive services. [The Epoch Times, 12/10/19]

Abortion Industry Incapable of Policing Itself

The Supreme Court upheld a Kentucky law letting women see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before having an abortion. Ultrasounds are generally done before abortions to determine the age of the baby prior to the abortion, but abortion clinics normally don’t let women see them. The American Civil Liberties Union had asked the courts to strike down the law.

But 6th Circuit judges ruled that the law did not violate a doctor’s First Amendment rights to free speech. “The information conveyed by an ultrasound image, its description, and the audible beating fetal heart gives a patient greater knowledge of the unborn life inside her,” wrote John Bush. “This also inherently provides the patient with more knowledge about the effect of an abortion procedure: it shows her what, or whom, she is consenting to terminate.”

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said: “Modern ultrasound technology opens an unprecedented window into the womb, providing undisputable evidence of the humanity of the unborn child. The abortion industry, proven incapable of policing itself, will stop at nothing to keep vulnerable women in the dark for the sake of profit, which is why state laws protecting women’s right to informed consent are so important.”

The law requires abortion center staff to display the ultrasound image for the woman & describe the dimensions of her unborn baby and the presence of internal organs, if seen. Fines are up to $100,000 for the first offense and $250,000 for subsequent offenses if abortion doctors violate the law by failing to give women the opportunity to see the ultrasound of their unborn child. [Steve Ertelt, Supreme Court Upholds Kentucky Law Letting Women See Ultra-sound of Baby Before Abortion, www.LifeNews.com, 12/9/19]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your monthly copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu