Reframing The Pro-Life Movement

I have been involved in the pro-life movement in a very intimate way for the past fourteen years and it has been through this involvement that I've come to the perspective on the movement that I detail below.  I share the goal of the pro-life movement, namely, to end abortions, but I differ in how that is to be accomplished and what that means in a fallen and sinful world.  I have only respect for those who have been involved in the movement from its inception and for those who started only today.  I am not looking to argue with anyone, but to work with others in the movement to find a more effective way of reaching our goal, a solution that addresses the real issues underlying abortions, while bringing people true healing and deliverance.  I come to this issue as a Catholic and write from this perspective.

Recently, it was reported that the number of abortions is at an all-time low.  The reasons for this record low and an explanation of what people are doing instead of pursuing abortions were missing from the accounts that I read at the time.  If these aspects of the issue have since been explained or discussed, I have missed it.  Based on what may be incomplete information, then, I proceed.

Celebrating the decline in the number of abortions before knowing the whole story would be like a resistance fighter in Nazi Germany celebrating the report that the number of prison camp inmates being hanged to death was down, when the reason behind the drop was the Nazi's switch to gassing the inmates.  Instead of being more merciful, the Nazis only became more efficient.  So, what is behind the drop?

While the number of abortions has dropped, so has the birth rate in the United States.  In fact, it is at an all-time low and is near the rate at which we stop replacing our population.  Ethnic groups in the United States with traditionally high birth rates in their countries of origin have lower birth rates, as well, now that they are living in the United States.  Promiscuity is as prevalent as ever.  If all of this is true, and there does not seem to be any reason to believe that it is not, then it seems we have become more efficient at preventing conception.  This realization doesn't make me want to break out the crepe paper and blow ticklers.

For decades now, the anti-abortion/pro-life movement in the United States has been working diligently to make abortions impossible to obtain by making them illegal and by closing all of the abortion providers.  As admirable as these goals are, they are not feasible nor are they solving the problem.  While there are fewer abortions, the contraceptive mentality of this country's culture of death is prevailing, precisely because the pro-life movement in the United States refuses to look at the problem the right way.

The abortion a woman procures is the last link in a very long chain with many, many fetid links.  The pro-life movement is attacking the symptoms of a dread disease.  As horrible as the symptom of abortion is, attacking it is not curing the disease underlying the symptom.  The culture of death is the disease and abortion is just one of its many symptoms.  The pro-life movement wants to identify abortion with the culture of death, but this identification is not accurate nor does it do anything to end the culture of death.  It is the culture of death that makes abortion something a woman will ever consider.  Without the culture of death, no woman would even consider an abortion.  Until the pro-life movement comes to a correct understanding of the culture of death and actively combats it, the pro-life movement will continue to be ineffective.

The only way that the culture of death can be defeated and overturned is through the active preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the application of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy by every Catholic throughout America.  Marches and vigils and prayer services are great as far as they go, but all of that preaches to the choir.  It's time for the choir to get face to face with the unwashed masses.  As members of the laity, we are to work in the world, which is more than praying the rosary on an airplane to force an opportunity to "evangelize" the person sitting next to you.  It means working within the physical boundaries of the parishes across our nation to find and address the physical, then the spiritual needs, of everyone within those boundaries.  The multitudes of people who march in Washington, D. C. once a year, for example, need to be sent to their home parishes and mobilized there to provide for the needs of their neighbors every day.  If we can reach the young girl and the young boy before they are swallowed by the culture of death, yes, we have stopped an abortion, but most importantly, we have truly brought souls to Jesus.  As "Protestant" as this may sound, it is Catholic to the core.

I don't know that I am advocating the disbanding of all of the pro-life organizations, ministries, apostolates and businesses, but would it hurt?  Many people would have to leave the spotlight and work in anonymity, but their work, while less profitable, would be much more fruitful.

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