Even in a Pandemic, the Battle against the Culture of Death Wages On

Evil Does Not Rest, and Neither Should We

What’s the first thing you worry about in a global pandemic? For many of us, it’s the safety of loved ones, friends, and neighbors who are at risk, or concerns about the economy and how it might affect our family.

Unfortunately, for a certain segment of our population, the thing that worries them most is whether, and how easily, people will be able to have their preborn babies killed.

Vice News and Mother Jones, two of the most liberal publications in the US, have responded to the pandemic by calling on the FDA to relax regulations governing medical abortions. The fact that those regulations are designed to protect women from deadly complications that can occur during medical abortions didn’t seem to bother them. Instead, they argued that the FDA should immediately make it legal for women to abort their babies at home using the abortion pill, without ever physically seeing a doctor. Under this proposal, women would be able to get a prescription for the abortion pill over “telemedicine” (i.e., through a video conference) and then obtain the pill itself through the mail or at their local pharmacy.

Although abortion activists suggested the relaxation of regulations as a “temporary” response to the coronavirus, the truth is almost certainly more sinister. It is highly probable that abortion groups are simply exploiting the deadly pandemic to push for more and easier abortions. Many states currently restrict telemedicine for commonsense safety reasons. Meanwhile, the FDA does not permit the sending of abortion pills through the mail, also for commonsense safety reasons. However, if the FDA were to relax its rules during the pandemic, it would be hard to put the cat back in the bag later—and that’s the point. As the old saying goes, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

The Culture of Death Refuses to Rest

Unfortunately, what this shows is that, even in the midst of a near-total societal shutdown, the Culture of Death does not rest. Quite the contrary. It seems abortion activists are going into overdrive to find ways to protect existing abortion access, and if at all possible, to expand it.

Pro-life legislators and leaders were aghast earlier this month at an apparent effort by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to circumvent bans on government funding of abortion in the federal government’s bill providing financial aid in response to the coronavirus. For decades, spending bills have been protected by the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits government funds from going to pay for abortion. However, Pelosi reportedly tried to introduce some medical funding into the coronavirus relief bill that was not covered by the Hyde Amendment.

One White House official claimed that the funds, unprotected by the Hyde Amendment, could end up as a “slush fund” for the abortion industry. Fortunately, pro-life legislators stepped in and made sure that the Hyde Amendment applied to the bill. However, in a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, Planned Parenthood accused pro-lifers of “using” the public health crisis “to attack abortion coverage.” In reality, Planned Parenthood and its ilk were using a public health crisis to push for more and—what is worse—government-funded killing.

“While schools are closing and hospitals are gearing up, Speaker Pelosi is waging unnecessary culture wars,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) in response. “Speaker Pelosi should be fighting the coronavirus pandemic, not politicizing emergency funding by fighting against the bipartisan Hyde Amendment. . . . We need to be ramping up our diagnostic testing, not waging culture wars at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Good grief.”

If ever there were a medical procedure that met the definition of “elective,” it is abortion. Abortions cure no disease. The only thing they do is result in a dead baby and a wounded mother. And yet, even in jurisdictions where most nonessential businesses are closing their doors to abide by government directives, many abortion facilities are keeping their doors open, claiming that they offer “essential” medical services. In Illinois, for instance, Planned Parenthood is closing many of its clinics—but is keeping those that commit abortions open. Meanwhile, Massachusetts explicitly excluded abortion from the list of “nonessential” services.

One Huffington Post article lamented that the coronavirus could “cripple abortion services.” While this has not yet proven to be the case, if it were to come to pass, it would be one ray of sunshine in the midst of the storm.

The Pro-Life Fight Wages On

Evil does not rest. And neither should we.

Male hands cradling a small fetus

In a case of blatant hypocrisy, abortion activists are responding to the coronavirus outbreak by criticizing 40 Days for Life for maintaining its peaceful prayer vigils outside abortion clinics. However, clearly the only reason 40 Days volunteers have to be there is because the abortion clinics are continuing to perform abortions. That is, abortion clinics are continuing to perform a medically unnecessary, elective procedure—a procedure that carries with it the risk of complications, thus risking overburdening an already-overburdened healthcare system—in the midst of a pandemic, and they dare to criticize pro-lifers.

Of course, pro-lifers participating in 40 Days for Life should listen to government directives about group sizes and follow safe practices, including keeping a safe distance apart, washing their hands, etc. That’s the point made by 40 Days for Life director Shawn Carney in a recent video and statement in which he urged participants to follow CDC guidelines, to limit the size of groups, and to stay on top of any new instructions put out by authorities.

At the same time, however, Carney vowed that, unless the peaceful vigils are simply banned, “We are not going away.” He continued:

We’re seeing the abortion industry do what they always do with these national emergencies.

They use this to promote abortion. It’s who they are. It’s what they do. And so, I want to encourage you to be who you are, and to do what you do. And that’s to pray and to fast.

And to continue to be physically present outside the facilities, if one feels called to do so.

It is amazing what having even a single pro-life individual outside an abortion clinic can accomplish. I was encouraged by a Facebook post a few days ago from John Barros, a man who has spent years of his life standing outside a Florida abortion clinic and who has saved thousands of babies in the process. Even during this pandemic, he has been present. And on one day last week, four different women changed their minds and chose life! Barros described what happened with one woman: “She rolled her window down and had the prettiest smile. She looked at me and said ‘I didn’t do it. Thank you,’ gave a thumbs up, and left.”

Yes, we must take precautions to protect ourselves and loved ones, but we cannot diminish our efforts to defend life and family by any percentage. Sadly, we at Human Life International have seen donations affected by this current crisis. I expect that many other pro-life groups are finding themselves in the same boat. It’s crucial that pro-lifers not allow the fear and challenges associated with this pandemic to distract us from the battle for life and family.

So far, the pandemic has taken the lives of over 16,000 people. Every death is a tragedy, and these deaths are a tragedy. I will not downplay the scope of the crisis that we are grappling with. And yet, since the coronavirus first emerged a few months ago, abortion has taken the lives of millions of innocent babies.

Even—or especially—in the midst of temporary social upheaval and uncertainty, the battle between the Culture of Death and the Culture of Life wages on. There are many ways that pro-life people can continue to contribute to that effort, even from the privacy of their own homes during self-isolation. You can also visit HLI’s website to learn more about the global pro-life movement and educate yourself on issues affecting life and family.

As always, however, I especially urge you to commit yourself to deepening your prayer life and to praying and fasting specifically for the end to abortion and the triumph of the Culture of Life. As Christians who believe that Christ has already won the battle, our response to any crisis should never be fear, but rather an immediate recourse to prayer.


About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing hli@hli.org.

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