Pro-Life in Secular World: “We Need Everyone to Be On Board”

Excerpt from my report from the 2018 Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life

January 20, 2018, Washington, D.C.

The driver of the Route G2 Metrobus assured me that I was at the right stop. “The building’s straight ahead of you.” I stepped off the bus a little uncertainly, then spotted the protesters flanking the doors of the nearest building. This must be the place, I thought. Nothing like a pro-life event to foster free speech. Welcome to Georgetown University.

The protesters, about two dozen young women, were between chants as I got to the building’s front steps. One of them said to the others in a tentative voice, “OK, let’s do ‘pro-life, that’s a lie,’ OK?” She sounded afraid someone might say no. A moment later they all took up the chant: pro-life, that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die. 

Their voices faded quickly as I moved into the building and was caught up in the friendly crush of a crowd, seven hundred strong, arriving for the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life. This has been an annual event since 2000, organized by Georgetown students, yet I hadn’t heard of it until just a few weeks ago.

So why did I tack an extra day on to my March for Life trip in order to catch a bus to Georgetown? Because of the speakers, and the conference theme: (Ir)religiously Pro-Life: the Future of the Movement in a Secular World.

I left later with the same questions I’d had when I arrived: how and where is that working? Where’s the synthesis? I don’t doubt that it’s possible – but where to start?
For now, I’m encouraged to know that I’m not the only one pondering the questions.

Read the rest of the post in my email newsletter.

Pope Francis: “Care for life. It’s worth it.”

From a 2005 homily by Cardinal Jorge Bergolio, later to become our Pope Francis:

All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open (our) heart, and to care for life is to (give oneself) in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others.

Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing..So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it.

(Source: CNS News)

Not a bad commission, as the Jubilee Year of Mercy draws to a close.

Post-election donations: make them count

It’s on social media so it must be true: the president of the nation’s leading abortion provider is delighted to announce that since the presidential election, her organization has received 80,000 donations – and some of them have been donated in the name of pro-lifers, in a modestly in-your-face gesture.

Turnabout’s fair play. Consider supporting And Then There Were None, a ministry to workers seeking to leave the abortion industry, founded by ex-abortion-worker Abby Johnson. Make the donation in the name of whomever you please.

A pro-life journey: “you know what changed my mind?…”

Originally published on Leaven for the Loaf.

This is why I don’t want anything to do with bloody-baby pictures outside abortion facilities or on billboards or anywhere else.

Consider these two tweets from @LetiAdams:

I wish I could get it across to ppl just how much “abortion kills a baby” didn’t work to get me to understand the truth about abortion.

You know what changed my mind? Grace. Plus encountering Christians who didn’t shout at me about how wrong I was about everything.

Thank you, Leticia. Your tweets hit me where I need to be hit.

I was always squeamish about demonstrations showing the dead bodies left behind by abortion. The “ewwww” factor was overwhelming.

Then a few years ago I read Abby Johnson’s Unplanned, and her more recent The Walls are TalkingI met my near neighbor Catherine Adair. Together, they burst my bubble. Troublemakers, the pair of them.

Catherine has said, “The worst thing we can do [when meeting abortion workers] is be confrontational, antagonistic. I think the best thing we can do is smile, say hello – just be that peaceful, kind, loving presence they need.” This from a former worker at an abortion facility, who knows what a sidewalk looks like in the hands of people being antagonistic.

Surprise: it wasn’t the truth in bloody pictures that changed her heart, or Abby’s. It was the truth in relationships.  Patience, love, grace, and time were relevant, urgently so.

I need those reminders. Anyone who’s heard me testify at the State House (as has been my custom for the better part of 30 years, God help me) knows that patience is not my strong suit. Dang, some of those political types are dense. No names, please.

And yet…”You know what changed my mind? Grace.”

How did I pick one that out of this morning’s torrent of mostly-forgettable tweets? No matter. Twitter’s existence has been justified for another day. Carry on.