Getting to the Business of Defending Life

Author: Mary Beth Bonacci


by Mary Beth Bonacci

Okay, enough about how we don't defend life. We've talked for several weeks about one of those ways, killing abortion doctors. But now it's time to get down to business. How do we defend life?

Obviously, we need to work to stop abortion. It's the biggest threat to innocent life these days, as we've discussed in the past weeks. And as Pope John Paul II says, woe to us if we don't succeed. The question is, how do we succeed?

Well, there are a lot of ways. As I see it, pro-life activity breaks down into four different areas. Today we'll discuss the first two, legislation and education.

When the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade was handed down, it took the country completely by surprise. At that time, abortion was illegal in most states and available under limited circumstances in the rest. But all of that changed, literally overnight.

Under Roe vs. Wade, abortion is legal in the U.S. throughout all nine months of pregnancy. In most states, minor girls can obtain abortions without their parents' consent, when those same girls can't be given aspirin or have their ears pierced without permission. Abortions are easier to get in this country than anywhere else in the world. This is a travesty.

There's plenty that a young, civic-minded individual can do to further the cause of legal protection for the unborn. Do volunteer work for a local pro-life candidate. If there's pro-life legislation being introduced in your community, contact the sponsors and help them leaflet or gather signatures. Talk to your voting-age friends about the importance of voting pro-life.

Even if abortion were to be made illegal tomorrow, we'd still have a problem. We have an entire generation which has never known a society where abortion wasn't legal. The legality, and the acceptability, of abortion on demand is etched into their consciousness. They've always heard that abortion is a woman's "right," so they figure it must be true.

The average American has no idea how abortions are performed, or what is done to the unborn child. They've been told that the child is just a "blob of tissue" and they believe it. We need to change that. We need to show them, every time and in every way we can, that the unborn child is a living, and often moving, thumb-sucking, pain-feeling person from the very earliest abortions. We need to show them the cruel abortion methods that literally rip a human person limb from limb.

How do we show them? Several ways. First of all, learn the facts of fetal development yourself. Dr. Wilke's book, , is very helpful for this and other abortion-related matters. Learn about abortion methodology. If you really want the gory details, buy a video like "The Silent Scream," "Eclipse of Reason" or "Hard Truth." Your local pro-life organization can tell you where to get them.

And then, once you know the facts, share them. Talk to your friends about it. If you really want to share the word, contact your local pro-life groups about getting onto a speakers' bureau and giving talks on abortion in schools. Write an article for your school paper.

And while we're talking about education, abortion education isn't the only kind we need. If we're going to get to the root of the problem, we need to get rid of the demand for abortion. And to do that, we need chastity education. We need to figure out how to respect the sexual capacity so that we're using it at the service of real love, instead of abusing it at the expense of the next generation's lives. So spread the word on that, too.

Even if you aren't directly involved in pro-life education, it's absolutely crucial that you be well-versed on the issues. You don't have to be standing in front of an audience to have your views on abortion challenged. It'll happen all the time -- with your friends, at parties, anywhere people manage to find out that you're Catholic. You can use those opportunities to clear up some ignorance and make a difference in people's lives, if you know what you're talking about.

Working in education and legislation are two good ways to follow the Holy Father's admonition to defend life. But they're not the only ways. Tune in next time.

Bonacci is a frequent lecturer on chastity.

This article appeared in the October 13, 1994 issue of "The Arlington Catholic Herald."

Courtesy of the "Arlington Catholic Herald" diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information, call 1-800-377-0511 or write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.