It's a child, not a choice! DAILY CATHOLIC for January 19

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The Culture of Life
CELEBRATING LIFE Details and Articles on the Week's Proceedings


     VATICAN (CWN) -- On the anniversary of the 1973 decision which overturned laws against abortion in the United States, Pope John Paul II has called on all American Catholics, and all people of good will, to promote a culture of life.

      The Pope's message, addressed first to the Catholic bishops of the United States, was released in Washington during a prayer vigil at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, as pro-life activists gathered on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision.

      The Pope spoke of the "force of destruction" that was unleashed by the Supreme Court decision, and emphasized that the consequences have been particularly harmful to women-- especially the women who now live with "the deep sorrow and regret" they feel after having aborted a child.

      The Holy Father said that in order to overcome these destructive forces, pro-lifers must pursue an educational campaign, emphasizing the negative effects of abortion. At the same time he urged action to provide counseling, encouragement, and help to women facing problem pregnancies.

      The acceptance of abortion, the Pope continued, has also resulted in a general decline in respect for life, producing new threats to those who are elderly or infirm. When innocent people can be killed under the sanction of law, he pointed out, the distinction between good and evil is erased, and the society plunges into moral chaos.

      The Holy Father issued a special appeal to young Americans, saying that they represent the hope for the nation's future. He urged them not to be fearful, but to act boldly in defense of life.

Pro-Life Advocates show their support for the Culture of Life

     WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - Pro-life advocates from across the United States gathered in Washington on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand.

      The annual March for Life began in the Ellipse before the White House where the tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered before they walked to the Supreme Court. Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Missouri, spoke to the crowd, showing them an ultrasound image of his unborn grandchild and saying: "If we'd had this kind of technology that literally demolishes the artificial reasoning of the Roe vs. Wade decision, then I wonder if they would have made the same decision."

      Nellie Gray of National Right to Life acknowledged that after 25 years the fight against abortion was far from over, but said pro-lifers would never give up. "In 1973, it seemed that feminists (and) abortionists expected pro-lifers to grumble a bit over Roe vs. Wade and then go away," Gray said. "We have endured for a quarter of a century. Pro-lifers will never go away."

      Pro-abortion groups tried to deflect criticism of the practice, calling on pro-life advocates to join them in ending abortion by promoting contraception, a tactic which pro-life groups say has only increased abortion rates, not reduce them. "The pro-choice movement is going to be speaking up and speaking out," Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in an interview before a breakfast rally Tuesday. "To those who 89 77oppose abortion, my message is, 'Join with us to prevent the need for abortion.'"

      Pope John Paul also recalled the US anniversary in a message to US bishops read at a vigil held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Wednesday night. "The 25th anniversary of the decision ... is a call to people of good will to reflect seriously on the devastating consequences of that step," he said. "Now is the time for recommitment to the building of a culture of absolute respect for life from conception to natural death."

     WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - Vice President Al Gore trumpeted abortion rights on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, and responded to pro-life protests by proposing increases in family planning spending.

      Speaking at a luncheon held by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), Gore suggested increasing family planning funds by $15 million to $218 million as way of building a common ground. "Let us try to join hands on a cause that unites us, the need for more and better family planning," he said. "Let us appeal to the common sense of the American people from all political persuasions; let us pound home the point that the single most effective way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies."

      Gore also proposed to expand the administration's commitment to family planning abroad and to invest more in research into better contraception. He drew only tentative approval from the abortion rights audience when he suggested more education in sexual abstinence. NARAL also announced a new ad campaign entitled "What's life without a choice?", a response to a recent pro-life television campaign that proclaimed "Life, what a beautiful choice."

"I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. "

Norma McCorvey      Today is Black Wednesday. Although it is Thursday, it was twenty-five years ago today on a Wednesday when the United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the plaintiff "Roe" in her case against Wade. As we said in last week's installment, this infamous day will be "a day that will live in infamy."

      Today she regrets what she did, but it is something she will have to live with for the rest of her life. In the aftermath of the Roe vs. Wade infamous decision, that could refer to countless would-be mothers who chose to abort their babies for reasons they will have to answer to God for, but actually we are referring to one person - Norma McCorvey who, in 1969 took on the Church, the Supreme Court and God by becoming "Roe" in the Roe vs. Wade landmark decision that forever changed the face of the earth for the worse. Back during the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson the country was embroiled in a bitter battle over the atrocities of war in Vietnam. Little did American citizens or the world realize this war was nothing compared with the war that would ensue from the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Hundreds of thousands of our boys died in the rice swamps of Southeast Asia, but that is minimal compared to the nearly 100 million who have been snuffed out through abortion. That rate goes even higher when we consider the new methods of "painless abortion" today through the notorious abortion pills. But back at the end of the decade of the sixties when America was coming to grips with the end of innocence, its citizens blindly embraced the culture of death with open arms. The woman in queston - Norma McCorvey - one of the first to request the moniker Ms., was pregnant and sought an abortion but was denied. She took her case to the Texas supreme court and was overruled by the wise judges of the lone star state. Undaunted, her lawyers appealed to a higher court and the rest, to ours and God's great sadness, is, as they say - history. The perplexing point of all this is that Norma McCorvey did not have the abortion. In fact she never had an abortion. She conceived the baby and gave the child up for adoption. This would happen twice more over the years and both times she came to full term and handed them over to adoption agencies. Strange, you say. Yes, it is. Could it be because she was afraid of the procedure that she so vehemently promoted? Could it be because she was also the victim in this bizarre case, that she truly did not know the ramifications and was hoodwinked and used by the attorneys and lobbyists she had put her trust in? Let's let Ms. Roe tell us in her own words: "I bought all of the feminine rhetoric when I was a young woman in the sixties." By her own admission it was not until recently when she was forced to acknowledge a bumper sticker that said "Abortion stops a beating heart" that she realized what she had done, "I didn't know it at the time, but that was the first time I ever put a face with abortion" she admitted during a talk she gave last year at Holy Cross Church in the diocese of Dallas.

     Why would she be allowed to speak in a church, a Catholic church no less. Because three years ago God touched the sinner and she repented. No she didn't become a Catholic, but she was converted to the evangelical sect of the Protestant church and since then has spoken out fiercely against abortion. Catholics can take heart and credit that they did play a role in this conversion for the Reverend Benham would join Bishop Charles Grahmann of Dallas and a group of hundreds of Catholics each month on Saturday morning outside an appointed abortuary, usually in North Dallas, to pray the Rosary reverently in petition to Heaven for deliverance from this evil and for the conversion of those who fostered the culture of death. This editor took part many times in these Rosaries and felt an immense feeling of encouragement that what we were doing was not only right, but necessary. Yet it is not enough. There is much more work to do. The fruits of prayer are beginning to manifest themself, yet satan's legions continue to muster all they can in degrading human life by promoting their dead-end culture of death.

     By Norma McCorvey's own admission she has miles to go since she is still not convinced all abortion is wrong. For two full decades plus she had crusaded for the rights of abortion, working in numerous abortuaries and clashing with many pro-life supporters who pleaded with and for as well as praying for her. Those prayers were heard when, through a strange twist of fate or should we say "Godincidence," an Operation Rescue office opened right next door to the pregnancy crisis center where she worked. By her own admission her conscience had been bothering her greatly for what she had seen over the years and, because of the friendliness and concern of some of the peaceable volunteers who worked at Operation Rescue and who exuded Christian love, she gravitated towards their love and concern. It wasn't long before she began confiding in them of the horrors next door...often just to get it off her chest. A family known as the Mackey family, committed to pro-life, volunteered often at the offices of Operation Rescue where the Reverend Skip Benham set up headquarters for the national organization. The innocence of youth came forward in the person of one of the Mackey's young daughters named Emily who pestered Norma to join them at their church. Norma resisted, admitting later, "I was never able to accept the invitations because I felt too ashamed of what I was doing and did." As the days and months stretched on the bond between a troubled McCorvey and the Mackey family tightened and finally, in God's time, she agreed to go to church with them. Less than three weeks later she was baptized by Rev. Benham at the church. She left her job at the abortuary and joined the troops at Operation Rescue for the next year or so proclaiming the atrocities and evils of what really goes on at the abortion clinics, "Though I worked in the clinic, I was still blinded." She realized later, by her own admission and words, that, "The doctors claim they care about women, but they don't. The only thing the doctors care about is money. These women are in trouble, and the doctors are not concerned with that." In late summer last year she left Operation Rescue to strike start a self-developed ministry of her own called Roe No More. This month she has begun a tour of fifteen cities, promoting her book "Won by Love" and preaching the horrors of abortion. This weekend she joins many pro-life leaders like Father Paul Marx, Father Frank Pavone, Alan Keyes, and countless others including Skip Benham, to pray and march for life in our nation's capitol for "March for Life."

     Yes, the "lost sheep" has returned to the fold and we rejoice as Jesus says in Luke 15: 7, "I say to you that, even so, there will be joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just who have no need of repentance." But there are many other sheep out there who are still lost, many shepherds who are slumbering and not watching their flocks, allowing them to stumble, to stray, to fall into the pitfalls and traps set by satan's wolves. We need to do all we can to reverse twenty five years of horror, to make amends for a quarter of a century that has taken more lives of children than were taken in nineteen centuries through abortion. We need to intensify our efforts to bring the sheep back for the Good Shepherd reminds us constantly in John 10: 10 why He became man, suffered and died for us: "I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

Respect for Life Forum in San Diego:
    Diocese of San Diego
    Saturday, January 24, 1998, 9:00 a.m. (Mass for Life) - 3:30 p.m.
    Diocesan Pastoral Center.
    Respect for Life Forum
    to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Humanae Vitae and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Presentations by Dr. Janet Smith, noted authority on Humanae Vitae and consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Family, and pro-life priest, Father Thomas Cusack of the Columban Fathers. Call Chris Mattson, Office for Social Ministry, for more information, 619-490-8323. Cost: $5.00. Space is limited. Register by phone and mail your check to: Chris Mattson, Diocese of San Diego, P.O. Box 85728, San Diego, CA 92186

"Bill, Do You Feel THEIR Pain?"
HLI Unveils 1998 Public Education Campaign

by Father Richard Welch, C.S.s.R., JCL, President, Human Life International
     FRONT ROYAL, VA -- Human Life International announced on January 14th its 1998 public education campaign which calls attention to the travesty of abortion and the consequences of "reproductive freedom."

      The campaign will be unveiled at the 1998 March for Life on 22 January 1998, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. HLI will distribute thousands of signs and bumper stickers with the slogan:

Bill, Do you Feel THEIR Pain? - - Abortion Hurts Babies, Women & Families --

      In a year when Congress will once again attempt to override Mr. Clinton's veto of the ban on the grisly, horrific procedure of partial birth abortion, it is time to challenge the man who told the American people he would make abortion "safe, legal and rare."

      When he campaigned for President in 1992, Bill Clinton's courtship of the American people included the slogan, 'I feel your pain;' but we ask him to stop and think of the excruciating pain a baby feels when scissors puncture his brain as he kicks his legs and gasps for breath just inches from birth in a partial birth abortion, or the pain a baby feels while being dismembered in the womb or burned by saline solutions in other forms of abortion.

      We remind him of the heartache and pain of the mother who will never forget her child.

      We ask him to consider the pain of countless thousands of women, men and children whose lives have been irrevocably damaged by their participation in abortion and today suffer from what may become the psychosis of the new millennium -- post abortion syndrome.

      In the 25 years since Roe v. Wade an estimated 40 million babies have been slaughtered by surgical abortion in the name of "choice" and "reproductive freedom," and an untold number through chemical abortion in the form of abortifacient contraceptive drugs and devices. According to statistics released by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the world's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, nearly one half of all American women will have had at least one abortion by age 45, and 55 percent of women obtaining abortions are under age 25.

      Those who fail to recognize the evil of partial birth abortion where a baby is literally ripped from the mother's womb will never be able to understand what the pro-life and family movement is talking about when it fights abortion at all stages of a pregnancy. They cannot understand our equally fierce objection to the morning-after pill and other forms of chemical warfare waged against on women's bodies through contraception, which can even render them sterile.

      Those who cannot admit to the intrinsic evil of abortion, also find it easy to deny that contraception and abortion are the cornerstones upon which the culture of death is built. They fail to recognize that these twin evils are the root cause of the anti-life mentality that has pervaded society and which has resulted in so many of the travesties that are commonplace today, including: an epidemic of teen pregnancy, a pandemic of sexually transmitted disease, infertility, skyrocketing divorce rates, AIDS, infanticide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia.

      As the pro-life movement holds the March for Life to mark the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the abortion industry and the liberal media will celebrate "choice" and 25 years of "reproductive freedom." It is time to clearly demonstrate the consequences and contradictions of "choice," and remind Bill Clinton, his Congressional colleagues and the pro-abort lobby of the unique and unrepeatable life that is ended in every abortion.

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Also material provided by Human Life International

January 20-24, 1998

January 1998