A Mosaic of Love
A few days ago, a pro-abortion social media editor for a large newspaper tweeted out a disparaging message to pro-life activists: “Dear Pro-Life friends: what have you *personally* done to support lower income single mothers?” she asked, adding, “I’ll wait.”
The sarcastic “I’ll wait” gave away the game: Sarah Tuttle-Singer (the social media editor) believed that pro-lifers don’t actually do anything to help young moms in need. She assumed that with this one, pointed question, she had effectively exposed the hypocrisy at the heart of the pro-life movement. She assumed pro-lifers would have nothing to say in response.
She was wrong.
As a pro-life activist, you quickly learn to ignore the type of baseless accusations flung around by people like Tuttle-Singer. But there was something about her phrasing, and perhaps the prominence of her position in the world of online media, that grabbed people’s attention. In response, ordinary pro-life Americans began flocking to her Twitter feed to the point it went viral, and they posted brief descriptions of the various sacrifices that they personally have made to help young moms choose life.
“Donated a well working car to a pregnancy support center, which was given to a single mom who chose life,” commented one individual. “I’ve adopted a special needs child, in the works to foster, give to crisis pregnancy centers, volunteer in community activities and care for women and families in my community,” wrote another. Yet another wrote: “Adopted six children, supported many moms who chose to parent if adoption wasn’t the right path. Been doing it for years, because it’s right.”
And on and on. As of this writing there are over 13,000 comments in response to her tweet, detailing a vast number of both little and large acts of kindness, all aimed at smoothing the way for young mothers in need. Very many are from pro-life Americans who have adopted one or more children and given them a loving home. The total effect of this remarkable comment thread is something like a mosaic depicting just a small sliver of the cumulative and unsung love that pro-life individuals exercise every day in an effort to make this country a more compassionate, loving place for mothers and their babies.
The Great Pro-life Push
That many pro-life people would gladly give the shirts off their backs to take care of moms and their babies scarcely comes as a surprise to anybody who has paid even the slightest iota of attention to the state of the pro-life movement in the United States. Over the past few decades, for instance, pro-life activists have built a vast network of crisis pregnancy centers. Indeed, there are significantly more crisis pregnancy centers than abortion clinics (according to one article from 2017, at the time there were some 2700 crisis pregnancy centers, compared to 1800 abortion clinics).
These centers provide everything from free diapers, cribs, clothing, and money, and even (as the comment above indicates) cars, to free ultrasounds and (increasingly) medical care, as well as professional training. Furthermore, these centers have been built largely thanks to the small donations of middle-class Americans. They are often staffed by volunteers who devote enormous amounts of their time to helping parents in need, and their babies. One can only imagine what sort of impact these centers might be able to make if they had access to just a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding that abortion clinics receive every year.
In fact, Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s question could quite easily, and more appropriately, be turned on its head: “Dear Pro-choice friends: what have you *personally* done to support lower income single mothers?” If pro-choicers are so concerned about “choice,” where is the network of pro-choice-run pregnancy centers designed to make it easier for women who want their babies to choose to do so, instead of (as so often happens) resorting to an abortion that they don’t want out of desperation? Why is it that abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood provide almost nothing in the way of meaningful assistance to women as offered in crisis pregnancy centers? And why is it that abortion organizations aren’t lobbying the government to redirect even just part of the taxpayer money given to places like Planned Parenthood to the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers that are so urgently in need of funding.
I mention this, because the deep compassion of the pro-life movement needs emphasizing right now, at this time when bills to ban abortion are passing in so many states. Indeed, I’m not sure that I can remember a more exciting time for the pro-life movement, from a legislative perspective. In Alabama, for instance, a bill has been passed and signed into law that would outlaw nearly all abortions, and would severely penalize abortionists who kill unborn babies. Just last week the Missouri governor signed a bill that would outlaw abortion after they deem the baby’s heartbeat is detected – at about 6-to-8 weeks’ gestation. [Actually, a heartbeat can be detected as early as 3-6 weeks, which has been known for over half a century.*] Amazingly, Louisiana’s Democratic governor just signed a heartbeat ban into law, while the South Carolina governor has said he is prepared to sign a similar bill when (or if) it passes the Senate. Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, and Kentucky have passed similar heartbeat laws. Meanwhile, numerous other states have passed legislation, or have legislation pending for debate, that would further restrict abortion. Meanwhile, Missouri stands on the brink of being the first U.S. state without a functioning abortion facility. (At time of posting, a judge had ordered a stay but only for a few days.)
It is worth noting that many of these bills are deliberately designed to test the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases – the two cases that essentially legalized abortion-on-demand in the United States. In other words, pro-life legislators and lawyers have put Roe v. Wade directly in their crosshairs, in the hope that the more-conservative Court created by President Trump will dare to revisit that atrocious case, and finally undo one of our nation’s greatest travesties.
As you might expect, pro-abortion activists are both scared and furious, and are pushing back hard. One of their most common talking points is that these new abortion laws stigmatize and penalize women in difficult situations, and don’t do anything to help them. The pro-abortion media and activist juggernaut are doing everything they can to paint pro-life politicians and individuals as callous and unfeeling, more interested in scoring political points, and “controlling” the lives of women through these laws, then actually helping them. Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s ill-fated rhetorical question is just one of innumerable examples of this strategy.
In the face of this rhetoric, it is important that, firstly, we conscientiously remind the country that the pro-life movement has already proved itself to be one of the most compassionate, generous, forward-thinking, and woman-friendly social justice and humanitarian grassroots movements in the history of the world; and secondly, that we respond to the challenge from pro-abortion critics like Sarah-Tuttle Singer by upping our game: by donating more of our time, money, and talents to providing for the mothers in need who will indeed require assistance to bring their babies into the world when, or if, these abortion bans go into effect.
The Comprehensive Compassion of the Pro-Life Movement
Finally, we must not allow the constant stream of bitter antagonism and lies spread by the well-heeled public relations departments of huge pro-abortion organizations to distract us from the deeply humanitarian nature of the basic conviction that motivates the pro-life movement: that the unborn child is our brother or our sister, and as deserving of our love and care as any other human being.
As Pope Francis recently told a conference at the Vatican, “Abortion is never the answer.” Even in cases where the unborn child is suffering from a potentially fatal disease, the answer is not to further shorten that child’s life by murdering him or her, but to provide reasonable care. “Human life is sacred and inviolable and the use of prenatal diagnosis for selective purposes must be strongly discouraged,” he said, “because it is the expression of an inhuman eugenic mentality, which deprives families of the possibility of welcoming, embracing and loving their weakest children.”
The Holy Father compared the “work” of the abortionist to that of a hired hitman. “Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem?” he asked. “Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?” “No human being can ever be incompatible with life, not for his age, nor for his health conditions, nor for the quality of his existence,” the Pope added. “Every child which arrives in a woman’s womb is a gift.”
Pro-choice spin-doctors will do everything in their power to ensure that average Americans never, ever think about the unborn baby. They will invent new, dehumanizing language to disguise the reality that a living human being comes into existence at the moment of conception. They will, for instance (as they have recently), re-describe the heartbeat of an unborn baby as “fetal pole cardiac activity,” to distract from fact that the unborn baby has a heart, and fingers, and toes, and movement and brain waves, far, far earlier than most people know. They will misrepresent pro-life legislation and make absurd claims such as that the pro-life movement wants to “criminalize women for simply existing.” They will threaten pro-life states with severe financial repercussions if they stand by life. And when they do even get around to acknowledging the unborn child, they will even suggest that many babies are better off dead than alive.
Against this, we must constantly reaffirm, as Pope St. John Paul II did, that “no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.”
He added: “The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenseless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defense consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears” (Evangelium Vitae, 58).
It goes without saying that we must never rest on our laurels. In this fallen world, there is always more we can do. However, as we push both to ban the killing of unborn human beings, the pro-life movement can stand tall. In the first place, to ban abortion is, ipso facto, an act of great compassion for the unborn child, who has done nothing to deserve death. However, we can also stand proud knowing that behind this great act of legislative compassion is a decades-long effort, often at great personal cost, to find ways to provide concrete, practical assistance to mothers in crisis pregnancy.
*Reuben Straus, M.D., Ralph H. Walker, M.D., and Morris Cohen, Ph.D. “Direct Electrocardiographic Recording of a Twenty‑Three Millimeter Human Embryo.” The American Journal of Cardiology, September 1961, pages 443 to 449.