I’ve seen a good bit of evil in my time. When I was a state and federal prosecutor, I met many people who were so deeply enmeshed in sin that you could really get a glimpse of authentic evil in their eyes and souls.
This was all called to my mind as I sat in the chamber of the New York City Council, at the hearing on the most recent “Clinic Access Bill”. This legislation is designed to make it easier to prosecute and sue pro-lifers who give witness outside abortion clinics, and who try to give information to women on the way to making the worst mistake of their lives. In reality, the bill is a “sit down and shut up” bill, aimed at suppressing the free speech rights of pro-lifers by scaring and intimidating them with unfounded arrests and baseless lawsuits.
The hearing went about as badly as you could expect — at least the part I stayed for, before I refused to be a part of it any longer.
It was bad enough that passage of the bill was a done deal before the hearing even began. But the travesty of the hearing actually was a tragedy.
There were dozens of sadly deluded young women in the audience who seem to believe that the only way to be authentically female is to have the power to destroy an unborn child. There were the millstone-wearing abortion advocates who propagandize people into being proudly and ardently “pro-choice”, at risk of their souls. There was even the jarring sight of a pregnant woman, wearing a “pro-choice” button.
On the other hand, there were many humble servants of the Gospel of Life. People, like Msgr. Philip Reilly, who give peaceful, prayerful witness outside of the abortion clinics. Priests and religious who were there to show God’s love for all human life. Women who regretted their abortions, and were willing to share their experience. Other women who had turned around at the clinic, and made the right choice. And regular, ordinary pro-lifers who couldn’t believe that their city government was about to strip them of their liberties in order to promote abortion.
The hearing got off on a bad foot when Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave an extended and fervent statement of gratitude to all the “pro-choice” people who were behind the bill, and who were so supportive of “reproductive rights”. This, from the same woman who led an angry, hate-filled rally at a Mormon temple last weekend, protesting the passage of California’s defense of marriage amendment. Self-righteousness and religious intolerance, all in one package, with the power of high public office thrown in. Nice.
The rest of the hearing was equally appalling. The City Council members and the people who gave testimony in support of the bill showed a profound ignorance — even about the bill they had written themselves and were considering enacting. You would think that they would at least be able to read the law, for goodness sake. Pretty much the only bright spot was Minority Leader James Oddo of Staten Island (graduate of St. Dorothy’s Academy), who was right on point and very effective in his critique of the bill.
The low point was when the Council’s first panel of witnesses was assembled. It was all abortionists and operators of abortion clinics, who openly bragged about their evil practices. The Temple of Moloch had arrived, and the Council members couldn’t stop from falling over themselves in praise of the high priests of child sacrifice. The next panel had the representatives from NARAL and other apologists for child sacrifice. That’s when I gave up, submitted my written testimony for the record, and left, unwilling to participate further in such a travesty.
The part I saw left such a feeling of palpable evil in the room that there was no doubt who was really behind it. St. Paul saw this clearly:
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12-13)
This is, at its heart, a spiritual struggle. We need to be prayer warriors — praying for the abortion supporters, for conversion of heart; praying for the women and men who are the victims of abortion, for hope and healing; and praying for ourselves, for strength and courage. We need to counter evil with love, wherever we find it.
This is, unfortunately, not a happy story. But remember, no matter what the City Council does, Jesus has already won the battle. Hope in Christ, that must ever be our watchword.
And the prayerful witness to the Gospel of Life will go on.