This month we commemorate the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the infamous Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. How do we, as a people of faith respond? Before we can answer that question, we need to remind ourselves what it is that we’re for, or what it means to be truly pro-life. Unfortunately, it seems to me that too often we forget.
A year and a half ago, when it was discovered that Planned Parenthood was selling the bodies of unborn children, pro-lifers were mobilized. Certainly, the trafficking of human remains should offend us all, but let’s not forget that even if they hadn’t disrespected these bodies for a profit, an innocent human life was still taken.In my home state of Texas pro-lifers unsuccessfully defended a law that regulated abortion facilities. We were rightfully mad when the Supreme Court struck down the law, especially considering the crimes of Kermit Gosnell. But let’s not forget, even if these facilities had the most state-of-the-art equipment, met the highest of cleanliness standards, and all their “doctors” had privileges at nearby hospitals, an innocent human life is still taken.
There are laws in states throughout the country meant to protect minors that are currently being challenged. Parental consent laws allow parents to be informed of their minor children’s health, just like they would be informed for any other health concern. Other laws help prevent minors from crossing state lines to get an abortion without parental consent. The idea that minors would be coerced into an abortion is repugnant, and the idea that there are people who don’t want parents to be involved breaks my heart as a father. But let’s not forget, even if both parents consented, or personally drove their daughter across the state lines, an innocent human life is still taken.
We rightfully decry that abortion providers and Planned Parenthood, in particular, have a history of targeting minorities. I can’t help but wonder what the populations of Black and Hispanic Americans would be today. But let’s not forget, even if these providers didn’t intentionally build their facilities in poor and marginalized areas and didn’t actively target minorities, an innocent human life is still taken.
We should fight for and celebrate these legislative victories. But ultimately, abortion is the taking of a completely innocent human life. This we cannot forget. We respond by taking action.
There are many ways to take action locally. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted will be celebrating a Mass for the Unborn at 9 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 22 at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. Several groups of young people will be traveling to San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
But most importantly, we pray. We pray for the souls of these Holy Innocents, for the conversion of those who had a role in their deaths, and for society. The bishops have designated the next Monday, the 23rd, as a day of prayer and penance. Let us pray for an end to the taking of innocent human life.