Our oldest daughter, Mary, is preparing for theater camp this summer, where she and the other children will perform Seussical, the Musical. Yesterday she played the soundtrack to the musical and we heard Horton belt: “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”
Considering yesterday’s historic event, that line rang especially true.
I remember the first time I heard the word “abortion.” My parish priest spoke the word several times in his Sunday homily and, following Mass, I asked my mom what it meant. She explained that abortion is the intentional ending of a pregnancy—the killing of an unborn baby. I vividly recall that heavy pit in the bottom of my stomach when I first learned this. I felt disbelief, astonishment, horror: how could a mother purposefully kill her baby? Did this really happen … here, in the hospitals or medical offices of my hometown?
I joined the pro-life movement.
I’ve attended the March for Life several times. Hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers descend upon Washington, DC on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I remember marching, the street full of pro-lifers as far as the eye could see–banners, rosaries, joyful chanting (“We love babies, how about you? We love babies, yes, we do!”). There were images of unborn babies and women holding signs: “I regret my abortion.” The mainstream media was silent that day, but I was there. I saw how many of us gathered, how many came to the defense of the most defenseless and to pray for an end to the silent genocide happening every day in our country.
When Mary was born, we brought her as a baby to pray outside of Planned Parenthood. We were peacefully praying when a woman approached us, her face stormy with anger. “Which one of you will take care of the baby?” she spat at us. Viviane, the veteran pro-lifer in the group, her face full of love responded with warmth, “I will! Bring the baby to me! I will love the baby!”
A few months ago I had to explain to my eleven-year-old Mary the meaning of the word “abortion.” I watched the disbelief on her face, the same disbelief I once felt. I brought her, along with two other of our children, to the Planned Parenthood near our home during the 40 Days for Life campaign. We stood on the side of the road, rosaries in hand: the most powerful weapon at our disposal. As the rainy fell lightly, we prayed for the unborn babies, for the mothers and fathers who choose abortion, for the doctors and nurses who perform abortion, for judges, lawyers, and lawmakers who work to end abortion, and for the conversion of hardened hearts. Every time we drive past that spot, my five-year-old exclaims, “That’s where we pray for little babies!”
Many prayers for over almost fifty years drove the events of yesterday’s historic Supreme Court decision.
It was a legal victory, but there are countless hearts where a battle still must wage. What strikes me is how something that is glaringly obvious to some—that an unborn baby is a person—is so unobvious to others. There is a deep blindness, whether driven by fear, hatred, or pride. Satan is the father of lies, so it makes sense that abortion is based on a great untruth: that the unborn baby is not a person. And yet what does science repeatedly confirm? Everything needed for development is there at the first moment of conception. As early as three weeks after conception the baby’s heart beats. By twenty weeks old, an unborn baby feels pain. It’s so apparent that a young child easily perceives it; why do so many refuse to do so?
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, there is so much hatred and anger from pro-abortion activists. In contrast, I look into the eyes of my sixth-month-old baby and see innocence, purity, and trusting affection. What baby should die because of someone’s misjudgment or difficult circumstance? How many mothers now mourn the loss of the baby they once aborted?
I don’t deny that women find themselves in very hard situations sometimes. They may not want their pregnancy, may not be able to afford a baby, may feel utterly alone, may not desire this responsibility. But there is something greater here than bodily autonomy or finances or personal preference; there is a person, a unique, inimitable person with an eternal soul, created in the image and likeness of God.
Until everyone can see that truth, there is no victory. So we thank God for the legal advancement for the protection of the unborn and we march on: supporting women in need, donating to places like Birthright or Good Counsel Homes, educating, praying for those who still do not see, and celebrating the precious gift of life—no matter how small.