Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’

Real Facts About the Governor’s Abortion Expansion Bill

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

In support of Governor Cuomo’s abortion expansion plan, known as the “Reproductive Health Act”, his spokesman recently said:

“State law needs to be updated so that it is consistent with federal standards and once and for all makes a woman’s right to choose unassailable in New York state… This is not an expansion of abortion rights. It’s a codification of existing federal law. Any suggestion to the contrary is not only baseless, but a distortion of the facts.”

Perhaps the Governor’s staff needs to do a little legal research before they accuse people of lying about what federal law of abortion actually is.  Perhaps then they will understand how extreme the Governor’s Reproductive Health Act is.

Unlike the Governor’s bill, federal law does not consider the right to abortion an unqualified “fundamental right”, on the same legal plane as the right to vote or political speech.  Nor does federal law maintain that all regulations of abortion must stand up to the highest standard of review by courts (“compelling state interest/strict scrutiny”).  No federal law has ever given permission to non-doctors to perform abortions.  No federal law outlaws “discrimination” against abortion in the granting of state licenses, provision of services, etc.  No federal law has virtually eliminated basic criminal penalties for involuntary or back-alley abortions.

Yet the Governor’s bill does all that, and more.

If the Governor really wants to codify federal law, perhaps he’ll agree to passing a partial birth abortion ban?  Or an unborn victims of violence ban, protecting unborn children from criminal assaults?   Or a restriction on taxpayer funding so that abortion on demand is not being subsidized?  Or an expansion of conscience protection for health professionals who do not wish to participate in abortions, based on their religious or moral beliefs?

All of those provisions are current federal law.  All of those offer a higher level of protection for unborn children, compared to current New York law.  All of those, and more, have been enacted by other states, and are supported by wide majorities of Americans — laws requiring parental involvement in abortion decisions by minors, providing support for pregnancy alternatives comparable to that given to abortion clinics, requiring full informed consent (including sonograms) before an abortion, limits on late-term abortions of fully-developed children, bans on sex-selection abortions, etc.

The fact is that all of these reasonable regulations of abortion would be impossible under the Governor’s abortion expansion plan.

The fact is that the Governor’s plan goes far beyond federal law, far beyond common sense, and far beyond what New Yorkers want and need.

A Tragic Polarization

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The annual March for Life was held on Friday, in remembrance of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.  Several hundred thousand people joined in the largest annual civil rights demonstration in America, to witness to the cause of human life and its importance to our society.

After the March, I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion about the pro-life cause at the National Review Institute’s Future of Conservatism Summit.  It was a very interesting conversation, covering topics such as health care, pregnancy resource centers, and the cultural and political trends in our nation.  (It was broadcast live on CSPAN, and you can watch the video here).

The audience was very appreciative of the panel, and I got a good deal of positive feedback afterwards. That’s encouraging, because there has been a good bit of talk since the election about ejecting pro-lifers from the conservative movement — which I believe would be a disaster for American society.

But the positive reaction of the conservative audience also reinforced in my mind a sad realization:  at this point in American history, it is inconceivable that I would be invited to have the same discussion at a conference of political liberals or progressives.

It has been made abundantly clear that pro-lifers are really not welcome any more in the liberal wing of politics or, indeed, in most of the Democratic Party.  The platform of the national Democratic Party stated that the party opposed any restrictions on abortion; a prominent leader of the Party in New York has announced that one cannot be a Democrat without being “pro-choice”; and the President ran an aggressively and adamantly pro-abortion political campaign last year.   Although there are some notable exceptions, the pro-life Democrat is becoming an endangered species.

This makes no sense to me.  Life is not a partisan issue — it is a question of equal justice under the law and fundamental human rights.  It is the ultimate issue of defending the little guy — as little a guy as you can get.  And traditionally, liberalism/progressivism and the Democratic Party have styled themselves as the defenders of the little guys — workers, immigrants, ethnic minorities.  They were the party of Al Smith and Sargent Shriver — two great Catholic gentlemen who were unabashed progressives and Democrats.    Even as late as the 1970′s, prominent Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson were openly pro-life.

I understand how and why this happened — it has a lot to do with the identification of abortion and sexual liberty as the centerpiece of modern feminism.  But it has polarized our nation and politics, and it is a disaster for our society.

Last week, the President delivered his inaugural address.  In that speech, he spoke about his and his party’s concern for defending human rights by alluding to Seneca Falls (the birthplace of  women’s rights), Selma (a crucible for the civil rights movement) and Stonewall (the origin of the “gay rights” cause).

Sadly, he had no time to mention the human rights of the unborn.  He could easily have done so, by a simple allusion to the Dred Scott decision, which excluded an entire class of human beings from the protection of the law.

Unfortunately, in our sad polarized politics, the liberal/progressive movement, much of the Democratic Party, and the current Administration believe, as did the misguided Supreme Court in Dred Scott, that unborn children have no rights that are bound to be respected by those lucky enough to have been born.

Sown and Reaped

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision.  It is a time to reflect on St. Paul’s statement that “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal 6:7).

If we go back to Pope Paul VI’s great encyclical, Humanae Vitae, he predicted certain consequences if contraception were to become accepted in society:  a decline in marital fidelity and general moral standards, loss of respect for women and an increase in the objectification of women, and the dangers inherent in the possession of such a weapon in the hand of unscrupulous governments.

Everything he foresaw about contraception has come true about abortion, and even more — millions of deaths, the corruption of the medical profession, the distortion and politicization of law, and the suffering of millions of women and men who have participated in abortion and carry the grief and guilt with them still.

“Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”.

And yet, there have been many good seeds sown over the past four decades.  We saw them today, on the streets of New York City.

Cardinal Dolan, assisted by two dozen of his brother priests, offered a beautiful Mass at 7 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a large crowd of early risers.  The Mass was followed by a Rosary procession and prayerful witness at an abortion clinic on Second Avenue and Forty-Second Street.

It was an amazing public witness.  Just think of it.  Three hundred or more people, processing along the streets of Manhattan at rush hour, praying the Rosary.   A man carrying a huge rough wooden cross.  Sisters of Life, Friars and Sisters of the Renewal, Missionaries of Charity, diocesan and religious priests.  Regular men and women.  All giving witness to the power of prayer and the dignity of life, on the cold and windy streets of the big city.

My favorite part came while we were crossing the streets.  Manhattan drivers — especially the cabbies — are not known for patience, and we only had one police officer to help us.  So we were treated to the amazing sight of rush hour traffic being stopped on Lexington Avenue and Forty-Second Street by a Sister of Life, a Franciscan friar, and a couple of intrepid laymen.  Surprisingly little honking, though — they must have realized that this was not your usual traffic snarl.

As we walked, people stopped and stared, and some even joined in prayer.  A few asked what was going on and, when it was explained, they paused to add their prayers to ours.

The larger meaning of the event, in a sense, was to reinforce St. Paul’s statement — “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”.

Our nation has sown forty years of contraception, abortion, suffering, grief, and death.  And we have reaped the dire consequences.  But a handful of faithful witnesses continues to sow other seeds — love, compassion, service, courage, and witness.

Those seeds will also be reaped, and they bear fruit, a fruit that brings life and hope and forgiveness.

Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the Governor’s Radical Abortion Plan

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Now it appears that our pro-abortion Governor will be bundling the so-called “Reproductive Health Act” with a number of other “women’s initiatives”, to create an omnibus bill that offers something to everyone. Of course, most of the bill is mere window-dressing for his plan to remove all limits on abortion, and reinforce New York’s lamentable status as the state with the most expansive abortion laws.

The New York State Catholic Conference has put out the Top Ten Reasons to oppose this radical bill.  here they are:

10. It moves New York State in the opposite direction of “safe, legal and rare.”
9.  It would undermine beneficial maternity and prenatal care programs, which could be deemed “discriminatory” for favoring childbirth over abortion.
8.  It could be used to compel Catholic Charities and Catholic schools to counsel and refer for abortion.
7.  It could be used to compel all hospitals, even Catholic hospitals, to allow abortions on premises.
6.  It makes abortion immune to prudent regulations supported by large majorities of the public: parental notification for minors’ abortions, restrictions on taxpayer funding, informed consent or a waiting period for pregnant women.
5.   By inserting a broad “health” exception into our law, it opens up third-trimester abortions for any reason at all, leading to more late-term abortions of viable, fully formed infants.
4.   By repealing the requirement in current law that only a licensed physician may perform an abortion, it endangers women’s lives.
3.   By tying the abortion expansion plan to helping victims of domestic violence and ending pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, these important objectives are held hostage to an illogical and ideological agenda.
2.   It will not foster women’s health or dignity or promote women’s equality.
1.   It defies common sense because New York is already the abortion capital of the nation, with 33% of pregnancies ending in abortion, over 40% in New York City.

All the state-wide pro-life groups have joined in a new coalition to defeat the bill.  We’ve taken the name “New Yorkers for Life”, and have started up a Facebook page and Twitter account.  We would like to use these as rally points for pro-lifers, to express their opposition to the bill and to get more information.  Please spread the word to everyone you know, encourage people to “Like” the page on Facebook, and share it with their friends and contacts, and to “Follow” it on Twitter.

The New York State Catholic Conference has put up an alert on the bill.  Please let others know about this, and urge them to contact their legislators and the Governor.

We already have too many abortions in New York.  Enough is enough.

The View from Under the Bus

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

After the election, we have seen much discussion about why the Republican Party lost the Presidential election and failed to pick up some initially-promising Senate seats.  One of the proposals that we hear often is that the GOP should jettison “social conservatives”, or at least declare a “truce” on “social issues” like abortion and the re-definition of marriage.

Far be it from me to give advice to the sage experts who have piloted the GOP to such electoral triumphs.  Nor is it my business to get involved in political strategy for a party that I am not even a member of.

The reason I am interested in this question is that we are starting to hear a similar idea from pro-lifers — a sense that the political mission of our movement has either failed, or reached a final impasse, and that we need to re-direct our energies away from the political and public policy arenas, and focus instead on a more cultural approach to defending and promoting life.

I think this is a fundamental mis-diagnosis of the current state of things in our nation, and it falsely sets up an unnecessary either/or, zero-sum choice.

The current state of the pro-life movement’s political and public policy status depends on where you are standing.  Obviously, things may seem quite bleak in a place like New York City, which is essentially a one-party state dominated by a Democratic party that is almost completely dedicated to hard-line pro-abortion policies.  But that view can be deceptive.  In other areas of New York State, there is a functioning GOP that is at least theoretically supportive of pro-life policies, and there are still some staunch pro-life Democrats around.  The picture here in New York is quite daunting, there’s no doubt about it — but it’s certainly not time to throw in the towel.

Of course, New York is not all of America (it’s not even part of the real world, but that’s another issue).  If you were standing in Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota, Florida, South Carolina, or many other states, the picture would be much more encouraging.  Many public officials and candidates in those states proudly proclaim their pro-life views, and they have passed common-sense pro-life laws, like parental notification, informed consent, and abortion clinic regulations.  In fact, the public policy and political successes of our movement on the state level have proven to be a consternation to the pro-abortion forces, who continually complain about how many laws we have been able to pass.

At a time when our movement is making progress on the state and local level, it’s no time to declare defeat — or a “truce”.

But it’s more than a mere question of how many bills are passed, or how many candidates are willing to say they’re “pro-life”.  We’re engaged in a battle over our culture, which means that we’re striving to convert the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters.  Our goal is not just to make abortion illegal, but to make it unthinkable.

In this kind of struggle, it would be folly to abandon an entire field of the contest. The real question isn’t “politics or culture”, as if we can only work on one thing at a time.  Our challenge is to get better at transforming both.

We absolutely need to ramp up our efforts to provide assistance to expectant mothers and fathers in crisis — that’s ground zero in the struggle to eliminate abortion.  We definitely need to offer more resources for those who are suffering the aftermath of abortion.  We have to reverse the anti-life, anti-chastity messages of our media, which create a climate of sexual adventurism and a contraceptive mentality.  All these are legitimate areas for the pro-life movement to improve and enhance our work.

But law and politics are part of culture too.  They affect public opinion and shape private actions.  There is a growing body of opinion, especially among young people, that our nation has gone too far on abortion — that it’s a disgrace that 41% of New York City pregnancies end in abortion (the numbers are even worse in the African-American community), that horrifically unsafe abortion clinics are allowed to maim and kill women with impunity, that parents are excluded from their children’s key decisions about abortion and contraception, that handicapped children are routinely aborted, and that women are not being presented with all the choices available to them.

Fewer and fewer people are satisfied with our country having the most liberal abortion laws in the world, and with a political, media and cultural “elite” who are so degraded that they think this is a good thing.

There is a quiet cultural and political revolution on the way.  Our young brethren will lead it.  This is no time to end the struggle over abortion in the public square.

It’s time to stand firm.

A Textbook Case

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

In my last post, I argued for the need to protect the “pro-life” brand.  By that, I meant that we pro-lifers should be careful about how we use that term, in order to preserve the integrity and purity of our message, and to avoid confusing people about what it really means to be “pro-life”.

Yesterday, at the national convention of the Democratic Party, we saw a perfect example of why it is so important to protect our brand name.

One of the speakers from the main podium of the convention was Sr. Simone Campbell, a religious sister who is also the head of Network, a lobbying group.  She is also famous for being one of the so-called “nuns on the bus”, who conducted a media-friendly tour this summer to protest a budget proposal offered by Rep. Paul Ryan.

People can certainly differ in good faith about the prudential merits of Mr. Ryan’s budget proposal.  And people can certainly evaluate whether it is a good expression of Catholic Social Teaching or not.   People can also argue about the propriety of a vowed religious addressing a partisan political event.  That’s not my concern here.

What I care about is something that Sr. Simone said during her address and in a comment to a reporter — and, most importantly, what she did not say.

During her talk to the convention, Sr. Simone spoke of her support for the Affordable Care Act, and claimed that “This is part of my pro-life stance”.  When questioned by a reporter before the talk about whether it should be illegal to perform abortions, Sr. Simone said “That’s beyond my pay grade. I don’t know.”

These remarks are simply astonishing from a vowed Catholic religious.  Regardless of any benefits of the Affordable Care Act in expanding access to health care, it cannot be reasonably denied that it also expands public support for abortion, and enshrines abortion as a matter of ordinary health care.  It will force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions through subsidies to private insurance plans, it will coerce people to pay directly for elective abortions, it will force insurers to pay for elective abortions, and it will force religious individuals and organizations to pay for and promote abortion.  If that’s all “pro-life”, then the term means nothing.

It is also shocking that a vowed Catholic religious would say that she does not know if abortion should be made illegal, and to hide behind a reprehensible evasion by saying that it’s “beyond her pay grade”. To punt on such a fundamental moral issue is hardly a “pro-life stance”.

The teaching of the Catholic Church, as presented in the Catechism, is absolutely clear about this matter:

2273    The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined…. As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”

All of that is outrageous enough, but what’s even worse is what Sr. Simone did not say.  It is essential to recall that earlier in the same evening, the blood-soaked leader of Planned Parenthood — an organization that kills over a quarter of a million unborn children each year — took to the podium and extolled the 100% anti-life policies of the President and his Administration.

When it was her turn at the same podium, Sr. Simone had nothing to say about how the pro-abortion policies of the Administration (and their friends at Planned Parenthood) measured up against “her pro-life stance”.  The sister shared a stage with a representative of an evil organization that is the very epitome of the Culture of Death — and remained  silent about the most significant human rights violation of our time.

There is nothing “pro-life” about that.

 

Polling Life

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Kathryn Lopez of National Review Online recently invited me to contribute to an symposium commenting on recent poll results that show a drop in the number of people who consider themselves to be “pro-choice” (to an all-time low of 41%), and a rise in those who call themselves “pro-life” (to 51%).  When you break out the numbers in the poll, it actually is a bit more encouraging — 72% think abortion should be restricted to some or no circumstances.

Here is what I contributed to the symposium:

Recent poll results, which show a significant decline in the number of Americans who identify themselves as “pro-choice,” will no doubt surprise many people. After all, didn’t the Supreme Court claim, in its Casey decision, that it had settled the issue of abortion? Hasn’t abortion become such an integral part of women’s health that it is impossible to conceive of American society without it?

That is certainly the conventional wisdom. But this conventional wisdom is utterly wrong, because the power of the truth and love will always find a way into the human heart. As more people experience the wonder of modern sonograms and fetal photographs, they are enthralled by the beauty of human life. And they are repelled by the inhumanity of “pro-choice” advocates who callously speak of unborn people as disposable when inconvenient. People recognize that attitude as false, and unloving.

The challenge for defenders of life is to build upon this fundamental sense of the truth about human life, and the love it engenders. Certainly, we must work for laws that give commonsense protection for the unborn, and that encourage the choice for life. But even more important, we must continue to give clear and unambiguous witness to love — by speaking with compassion and kindness about this issue, and by giving practical help to struggling mothers and fathers, and to those who are suffering after an abortion.

More and more people are seeing the truth and rejecting the lies. And this is opening the human heart to the love that will ultimately transform our culture.

The Disgrace of Georgetown

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

There’s a very fine Jesuit priest who is a professor at Georgetown University, Fr. James Schall. In a recent column, he said this: “Tell me who you honor and I will tell you what you are.”

The reason for the question is the appalling decision by Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute to have HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the speaker at their commencement. The president of Georgetown has stated that this platform is being given to the Secretary because of her “long and distinguished record of public service”.

Yes, you read that right.  An allegedly Catholic university, giving a platform of honor to the current Administration’s point person to advance its anti-life agenda.

Let’s review some of the highlights of Secretary Sebelius’ “long and distinguished record”, for those at Georgetown who don’t have access to the Internet:

  • She has spearheaded the recent attacks on human life and religious liberty by promulgating the infamous HHS contraceptive and abortion mandates.
  • She notoriously declared at a pro-abortion rally that “we are in a war” to defend the right to kill children in the womb.
  • She has associated with, and embraced the support of, the infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller — she even hosted an event at her governor’s mansion in honor of him and posed smiling for pictures with him.
  • As Governor of Kansas, she consistently opposed pro-life legislation, and has repeatedly vetoed bills like a ban on partial birth abortion.
  • Her record was so bad in Kansas that her own bishop, after trying privately to convert her, had to publicly admonish her not to present herself for Communion until she publicly repudiates her pro-abortion positions.
  • Georgetown loves to boast about how it is a university “in the Jesuit tradition”. At the heart of the Jesuit charism is the Spiritual Exercises of their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola. During the second week of the Exercises, those who are on the retreat receive a meditation on the Two Standards. This is a powerful expression of the very meaning of Christian discipleship.

    The meditation asks bluntly — whose standard or flag will we follow, Christ’s or Satan’s?

    Satan’s standard, of course, is the one that the world finds most attractive, because it superficially appeals to our fallen human nature. It offers us the desire for worldly possessions, power, honor, and a false view of freedom that is a disguise for immorality. In the end, though, it leads only to destruction.

    Christ’s standard, on the other hand, is the one that the world finds unattractive, because it appeals to values that are exemplified by Our Lord himself, whom the world rejected. It offers us humility, poverty, sacrifice, and authentic freedom that involves willing adherence to God’s will. And in the end it leads to glory.

    So here’s the question for the Georgetown administration — which standard have you chosen? As Fr. Schall said, “Tell me who you honor and I will tell you what you are.”

    Another Threat to Freedom

    Friday, April 27th, 2012

    On April 30, the Westchester County Board of Legislators will vote on a “Clinic Access Bill”.  This kind of legislation is a persistent feature of pro-abortion advocacy.  It is designed to chill the free speech and assembly rights of pro-lifers who pray and witness outside of abortion clinics.  Since the pro-abortion forces can’t bear the possibility that women might choose against abortion, they aim to silence us by passing vague laws that are designed to intimidate pro-lifers into silence out of fear of arbitrary prosecution and punitive lawsuits.

    The Archdiocese issued a strong statement against this bill last fall.  Many pro-lifers and lovers of freedom will attend the Board hearing on Monday, to urge the legislators not to give in to the well-funded pressure from the abortion industry.  I will attend too, and deliver the following remarks.  Please pray for us.

    My name is Edward Mechmann. I am the Assistant Director of the Family Life/Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York, and a resident of Westchester County.  I submit this statement in opposition to the proposed legislation concerning access to so-called “reproductive health care facilities”.

    First, the proposed changes to the law are unnecessary.  There is no evidence that there is a substantial problem that needs to be addressed by this bill.  According to statistics provided by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there has been only one arrest in the entire state since 2000 for violations of the State clinic access law, and no criminal convictions. There is no need to strengthen laws that are never used, since there is no problem that needs to be addressed.

    The second reason for our opposition to this bill is that  it is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.  It is a established principle of constitutional law that any attempted regulation of speech be content-neutral, and narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest.  This is particularly true when the speech occurs on a public sidewalk, which has been described by the Supreme Court as a “public forum” where citizens generally have a First Amendment right to speak and gather together.  This bill fails to satisfy this standard, and creates a significant risk that people would be prosecuted or sued for the mere exercise of their right to free speech and assembly.

    This bill is not neutral, because it specifically targets the conduct and speech of those who oppose abortion.  It is also vague and ambiguous, so that persons could not possibly know what kinds of behavior or speech are prohibited.  One of the provisions would make it a crime to “interfere” with the operations of “reproductive health care facilities”.  Yet that term is undefined and utterly subjective in meaning, and would thus chill the free speech and assembly rights of those who wish to speak to women seeking to enter those facilities.

    Another provision of the bill would create a protected zone that includes “any public parking lot” within 200 feet of the clinic, as long as it “serves” the clinic. These terms are undefined and hopelessly ambiguous.  For example, what does it mean for a parking lot to “serve” a clinic, and how can that be determined?  There is no test clearly defined in the statute.  The result will inevitably be arbitrary and selective enforcement, and the chilling of free speech and assembly rights.

    This unnecessary bill is clearly aimed at suppressing the rights of those who oppose abortion, because that speech is disfavored by the owners and operators of abortion businesses.  This discriminatory legislation dishonors the constitutional rights of pro-life citizens, and robs women of an opportunity to hear the truth about abortion.

    It should be rejected.

    Graphic Images and Love

    Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

    There’s an interesting discussion going on over at the blog CatholicVote.org about the images of graphic images of aborted babies, which were on display along the route of the March for Life.  If you’re interested, the posts are here, here and here.  (Don’t worry, if you follow those links you won’t be confronted with any such images)

    For years, I have been very uncomfortable with those images, but I haven’t really been able to articulate why.  They are disturbing, certainly, but my disquiet was not just an aesthetic judgment.  Nor was it any squeamishness about facing the reality of abortion — I know precisely what is involved in that abhorrent practice.  Nor do I have any doubt of the need to awaken people’s consciences to what is really going on in America, thousands of times each day.

    Although I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason, I was uneasy about the use of those images in pro-life public advocacy.

    Last night, I realized why.

    I attended an excellent presentation that Archbishop Dolan gave at Fordham Law School on the Gospel of Life and the Law.  One of the key points he made in the question and answer session was that there are two pillars of the pro-life message: truth and love.  He noted that we are very good with the truth, but often lacking in the love.

    That point, which I had heard many times before, really struck me, and I was thinking about it on my way home.  Later in the evening, I happened upon the discussion at CatholicVote.org, and that’s when it all clicked together.

    The discussion about the graphic images has always focused on their effect of the viewer. We’ve thought about how effective the images are to convince those who are undecided about abortion, or to convert those who are pro-abortion.  And we’ve worried about the negative effect on those who are captive audiences and have those images thrust upon them, and especially on women who are post-abortive and have not yet healed.

    But suddenly it struck me — what about that baby herself?  How does the use of these photos show love to her, who has been the victim of a terrible injustice?  She is an individual human person, someone’s daughter, made in the image and likeness of God, unique and unrepeatable, and deserving of our love.

    To me, the use of these images to make a political point is to treat that poor lost girl or boy as an object to be used — which is the antithesis of love — and not as a brother or sister to be mourned.

    Who would ever wish that their body be used in such a way?  Who would ever want that for a loved one?  Can any of us imagine that being the right way to treat the remains of our dead son or daughter?

    Archbishop Dolan is right, as was St. Paul before him (see Eph 4:15).  We do need to speak the truth, but we have to do so with love, always with love.  And that includes love for that particular lost baby.

    There is a lot of truth in those images — that cannot be denied.

    But there is very little love.