The Gift of Life

Here we are, in the month of May, when everyone joyfully celebrates Mothers Day, and we Catholics particularly remember our Blessed Mother Mary. It is Springtime, when God’s creation is bursting forth in all its beauty and fertility. All around us, we are reminded that our lives are a gift, ultimately from God, but also from our human mother and our human father. And we are grateful for this gift.

But anyone who picks up the morning newspaper, or turns on the television, can’t help but be deeply troubled by the condition of our culture, particularly how we treat the gift of life.

The national news has given us the nauseating story of the late-term abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell. He was convicted of multiple counts of murder last week, for killing babies who had been born alive after attempted abortions. For years he carried out his terrible trade under unsanitary and inhumane conditions, while the public health authorities of Pennsylvania stood aside and did nothing, out of an ideologically-motivated reluctance to intrude upon a woman’s “right to choose”. Many people, including other abortionists, knew about the abuses and injuries, yet nobody intervened. The Gosnell trial focused our nation’s attention on something it has been avoiding for decades — the essential cruelty of abortion.

So, you would think we could now finally start speaking openly and with common sense about abortion, seeking ways to limit it, discussing creative alternatives.

Apparently, though, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Instead, we see the President of the United States attending a gala event and toasting Planned Parenthood. Interestingly, the President never mentioned the word “abortion”, but instead praised Planned Parenthood for their work for “women’s health”. But make no mistake — Planned Parenthood may hide behind the term “women’s health”, but their business is really abortion. They do over 300,000 abortions every year, a great number of which are paid for by taxpayers. And they oppose any and all reasonable regulations of abortion, or even discussion about it.

We also have the threat of an expansion of abortion here in New York, under the rubric of “women’s equality”. Many of the governor’s proposals being advanced under that title are worthy of support, and we have not yet seen the actual details of his “Reproductive Health Act.” However, some of the advocates continue to insist that abortion is a central part of “women’s equality.” Their proposals include defining abortion as a “fundamental right”, as if it were equal in significance to the right to vote. They are also pressing to permit non-doctors to do abortions, and allowing risky late-term procedures to be done outside of hospitals. All this would expand the number of late-term abortions, and prevent many common-sense regulations, like ensuring that parents are involved in a decision made by a minor.

How does any of that make any sense? One abortion is too many, but every year we have over 100,000 in New York, and over a million in the United States. Over half of the African-American children conceived each year in New York are aborted, as much as 60% in some areas. So expansion of abortion is hardly something that anyone needs. I’m glad that more and more of our political leaders, including Governor Cuomo, are urging creative ways to decrease the number of abortions by assisting pregnant women, their unborn and newly-born babies.

Nor is there any reasonable way to consider abortion as good for “women’s health” or “equality”. Half of the aborted children are women, some of whom are aborted for no reason other than their sex. Women who have experienced abortion sometimes die from complications, or suffer psychological and physical effects for years afterwards. It is utter madness to treat the gift of a woman’s fertility as if it were a disease, and her unborn baby as if it were a tumor to be eliminated.

We frequently hear calls for a “national conversation” about serious issues, yet our leaders never seem to want to talk frankly about abortion. It has become the great taboo, the subject that we must never mention. When we do raise the subject, we are accused of “imposing our values” on others.

Really, who is imposing values? When our cultural leaders deny or avoid the truth about abortion, isn’t that imposing a view of reality? When the government forces taxpayers to pay for abortion, isn’t that an imposition of anti-life values? What about the unborn babies — how do they feel about having the value of “choice” imposed on them in the most permanent way possible?

Deep in our hearts, there are truths that cannot be erased, that cannot be completely clouded by ideology, or utilitarian calculations, or by our own weaknesses and self-delusions. Our lives are an awesome gift, they are precious and must be safeguarded and nurtured. But not just our own — every human life is just as important, and must be preserved and protected as well. We are all called to be a gift of self, a loving servant, to our brothers and sisters, particularly those in need. And we know, at the core of our being, that abortion contradicts these truths.

Our society is once again challenged to recognize these fundamental truths, to discuss them candidly, to deal with the hard and challenging decisions that they entail, and to support those who struggle with them. The days of denial have to come to an end. We can no longer hide behind euphemism and distraction.

Can we all finally agree that things have gone way too far, and begin to make corrections? Can we start to talk common sense?


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13 Responses to “The Gift of Life”

  1. DottyDay says:

    Democrats are playing Whack-A-Mole with us.

    While the Governor talks “creative alternatives”, Representative Caroline Maloney (D) is introducing federal legislation to crack down on crisis pregnancy centers. WHACK!

    Christine Quinn a mayoral wannabe, a mole-ette ; ) , is always poised and ready to talk “women’s reproductive health” for votes even though the last legislation she got passed targetting crisis pregnancy centers is on appeal because of First Amendment challenges. WHACK!

    At that same gala you mention, the President called on God at the end of his remarks to bless Planned Parenthood WHACK!

    Your Eminence, seriously, if we have to play Whack-a-Mole why not do it with a Catholic mallet: prayer, penance, fasting and preaching. It is the year of Faith after all. Ask us to do Catholic things. Did we not hear it in this morning’s Psalm: The salvation of the just is from the Lord; he is their refuge in time of distress. And the Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

  2. Mariann Gonzalez says:

    Your Eminence,
    Blessed be God! Thank you for writing on The Gift of Life! Through the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, let us not relent at this moment in history when the eye of Americans can clearly see the evil of abortion and logically see that the woman’s choice is not after conception, (conception being the natural and healthy result of the conjugal act) but rather that the woman’s choice and man’s choice is either to refrain or to be open to new life that both will love and care for the rest of their lives as a family. Please, dear Cardinal Dolan, unite with the U.S. Bishops, and Pope Francis, and we may all rejoice some day very soon that abortion in America did not make it 41 years! Proclaim relentlessly that abortion is murder and will finally be realized by all Americans, who will desire its demise! May the Lord give success to the work of your hands, give success to the work of your hands!

  3. David says:

    I wanted to make two points on the Obama/Planned Parenthood portion of Cardinal Dolan’s blog post. It seems a bit disingenuous for Cardinal Dolan to state, as he does, that “Planned Parenthood may hide behind the term “women’s health”, but their business is really abortion” when only three percent of all of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion services. I’m not going to defend Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities. But I also think the flipside of that is that Cardinal Dolan and others have a responsibility to acknowledge that Planned Parenthood does provide important non-abortion services related to women’s health. To just cast those services aside as though they’re a front seems uncharitable.

    Second, perhaps the very fact that President Obama didn’t mention abortion in his comments means that a culture of life is taking root. Wouldn’t it be an all the more problematic indication of the acceptance of abortion in society if President Obama went there and repeatedly praised Planned Parenthood’s abortion services? Perhaps the fact that he didn’t mention them indicates a reflection that the tide is turning on public attitudes toward abortion. Again, a more charitable approach from the Cardinal would be welcome.

    Finally, there does seem to be a consistent and problematic partisan orientation to Cardinal Dolan’s comments on abortion. For example, it was revealed in last year’s election that Mitt Romney had investments that profited from the disposal of aborted fetuses. I don’t recall Cardinal Dolan ever criticizing this action by Mitt Romney. Given that Cardinal Dolan has recently hired Sarah Palin’s former domestic policy advisor as his spokesperson, it’s all the more important that he be even-handed in representing issues in the public square.

  4. Candace Snyder says:

    Let us simplify this issue. Life begins at conception. God takes credit for this. He never intended to abort any baby. Stop abortion now. The Catholic Church must shout this out from the rafters. We must call on the Holy Spirit to give us His orders.

  5. nancy davies says:

    To quote Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal (May 16th Opinion page), “After Gosnell, 40 more years of the status quo is unthinkable”. It is indeed time for a conversation, time for common sense, time to end denial. Henninger calls the abortion issue “America’s second Civil War”. The cruelty to babies, the deception to their mothers and the unbridled greed of Planned Parenthood in encouraging and performing abortions for profit is a national disgrace.
    I wish everyone who is prochoice would watch an abortion on You Tube – There are a number of gruesome ones , but there is one on late term abortion, very professionally narrated by a Dr. Lile. It is titled “Partial Birth Abortion” and uses only a doll, a black cloth which the baby comes out of , to replicate the vagina, plus the array of instruments required. It shows the point in the delivery, after the feet, the abdomen and the chest are out, but while the baby’s head is still in the vagina -in which the instruments are plunged into the babies head to kill him or her. Produced by Popular Issues, although it shows not one drop of blood, it is horrifying.
    It was produced to show to an audience of 16 year old girls. After wondering if that was appropriate, I realized that our laws permit them to endure such a horror without even parental consent.
    How have we allowed ourselves to reach this place??

  6. Peter Chaffee says:

    I’m a sinner, but I wonder why Gov. Cuomo is allowed to receive Holy Communion when he is living in public adultery, supports and promotes abortion, and goes against the teachings of the Church in supporting the farce of gay marriage and requiring others to support it. The latest I read from the Communications Office is that despite an effort on his part to introduce a bill that would expand abortions he might possibly be considered “a Catholic in good standing.” Preserve us. I don’t want people to be condemned, but when do you draw the line? Don’t we have a part in confronting people with the need to repent? Cf. John the Baptist.
    Thank you, your Excellency. I’m glad I’m not a bishop – too many responsibilities on one’s shoulder.
    Sincerely in Christ

  7. Jeanne Frey says:

    Well said Cardinal Dolan !!! Isnt it ironic that at the end of his trial,Kermit Gosnell ‘s common sense CHOICE was PROLIFE(HIS OWN). This should be a lesson to remember for anyone who even thinks of harming or murdering
    an innocent baby. For all life and all creation belong only to God and he is the only one who gets to choose.

  8. Richard says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan for speaking up!
    Please, continue to point everyone towards the Truth, especially all Catholics.
    We desperately need courageous shepherds that will stand in the way of the wolves!
    God bless you.

  9. Peter Lepre says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan, thank you for your forthright thoughts and leadership. But this is just the tip of the iceberg! Gov. Cuomo has to be held accountable, to God , his faith ,and the state he governs. He is entrusted with the the well being of everyone in this state. That means from the womb to the tomb, I am sorry to say he is not fullfiling his duties as a Catholic or a Gov. May we all get on our knees and ASK FOR God’s Mercy, and pray for him and all our leaders. God bless , Peter Lepre

  10. Joel Fago says:

    The Archdiocese of New York pays for a health plan that covers birth control. Cardinal Dolan, you have said, “There remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities.” No, Cardinal Dolan, you were forced to choose between good and evil and take the consequences. Choosing birth control kills unborn babies!

  11. Larry says:

    “Can we all finally agree that things have gone way too far, and begin to make corrections?” Apparently we cannot, if those “corrections” are public ecclesiastical sanctions against the traitorous Catholic politicians who are promoting these evils while receiving Communion at your own hands and the hands of your priests, Eminence. Apparently we cannot if that means that bishops ought to do more than just give generous lip service to the pro-life cause. “Can we start to talk common sense?” You mean the “common sense” proposition that one picture of a Catholic bishop partying joyfully with a pro-abort politician is worth more than ten-thousand of that bishop’s words denouncing said politician? Or the common-sense proposition that in general, actions speak far louder than words? Apparently we cannot, Eminence. But that is for you to say, not me.

  12. Cynthia Hennessey says:

    Your Eminence— May the Lord bless the Archbishop of the Capital of the World.

    Last year in my little Tennessee town, I organized a Defend Religious Liberty rally that brought together enthusiastic, dedicated Catholics and Baptistx in the conviction that the moral commandments we have received from God cannot be compromised.

    Now I read that you are, in fact, long compromised. You have been paying for contraceptives and early abortions, for years..

    And even worse than that — if worse can be imagined — you have announced that because of HHS policies, you and “hundreds, if not thousands, of religious institutions…will be forced to violate their religious convictions.”

    No. No! Dammit, no.

    Nobody can “force” us to violate our religious convictions. They could force us to pay fines; they could seize our back accounts, padlock our properties, and herd us into jail; but they cannot “force” us to violate our religious convictions.

    That can only be accomplished in one way… by surrender.

    And that’s what you foresee?

    God help us. Has the Almighty abandoned us? We are left with hirelings who announce — send out a Press Release and announce! — that they can be “forced” to turn over their lambs to thieves and wolves.

    “So I warn you, don’t push me, or I’ll… I’ll surrender!”

    This is damnable.

    Nobody here — none of the Religious Liberty allies — wants to “rally” for Religious Liberty anymore. Not behind a man who has already given the Enemy the keys to the city.

    Maybe we could organize a bus to go and picket — the Chancery of the Archdiocese of New York.

  13. Fred Norton says:

    What does the Cardinal have to say about Governor Cuomo now? I remember his father as governor saying he was against abortion but the people of the State of New York favored pro-choice. In the next breath he stated that although the people of the State of New York favored the death penalty, he was governor and it was up to him to make that decision. Hard to swallow a politicians thinking.