Posts Tagged ‘Culture of Life’

Even More Gubernatorial Abortion Radicalism

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Just when you thought New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had gone about as far as he could in supporting extremist abortion laws and policies, he manages to find ways to go even more radical.

Last week, the Governor announced a new state-funded website that gives people information about how to get an abortion. In bold, large-font type with strange capitalization reminiscent of Twitter rants, his internet announcement invokes an approaching anti-abortion apocalypse in such exaggerated and hyperbolic terms that they would exceed the most generous Orwellian standards:

In Light of Widespread Reports that Crisis Pregnancy Centers Provide Misleading, Medically Inaccurate Information on Reproductive Services to Dissuade Abortion, Campaign Connects Women to Accurate Information on Options for Unintended Pregnancies, Including Abortion. Facing Relentless Federal Attacks on Reproductive Rights, Governor Cuomo Will Fight Back to Protect Women’s Access to Reproductive Rights and Continue to Call on Senate to Codify Roe v. Wade

These alleged “widespread reports” actually come from the Governor’s allies in the abortion industry, and he gladly parrots all of their propagandistic talking points. As for “relentless attacks”, those are only in the fervid imaginations of abortion zealots, whose company the Governor regularly keeps and who are happy to number him among the true believers by endorsing him for re-election.

Does anyone really believe there’s a lack of access to abortion in New York? My office did some research a few years ago and found over 40 places to get an abortion in the City of New York alone. Mr. Google is happy to provide an extremely long list of abortion clinics in New York State, just for the asking. A simple search yields over 22 million hits, some of which might not be a place to have a child killed, but an awful lot of them are, and some of them are even helpfully reviewed by Yelp.

The horrific official abortion statistics from the New York State Health Department put the lie to any claim that there is difficulty getting abortions in our state:

  • 86,627 – the total number of abortions in New York State in 2015 — more than two sell-out crowds at the Mets’ Citi Field.
  • 367 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births in the state. In other words, over a quarter of all pregnancies in our state ends with an abortion.
  • 505 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births in New York City. In other words, over a third of all pregnancies in the City ends with an abortion.
  • 1,038 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births for African-Americans in New York City. So there are more abortions than live births among African-Americans.
  • 2,106 – the number of abortions in our state after 20 weeks — after the time when unborn children can feel pain. How much more inhumane can we be, than to dismember a living human being who feels the pain of it?
  • 2,854 — the number of abortions where the mother had already had at least 5 prior abortions.

Seriously, if those numbers don’t horrify you, or at least give you pause, then I fear for the state and fate of your soul.

The Governor’s attack on pro-life pregnancy centers is truly bizarre. His press flacks said, “We are launching this public awareness campaign to combat the insidious spread of misleading, medically inaccurate information about reproductive health and to ensure all New York women know the options they are legally entitled to.”

Insidious? Really? You mean when pregnancy center volunteers actually tell women the real facts about the stages of fetal development, the potential side-effects of abortions, and remind them that an abortion ends the life of a real human being? Horrors. Of course, they cite no actual evidence whatsoever that pregnancy centers pose a threat to anything, because there is none. Anyone who thinks that volunteer-run, shoe-string-budget pregnancy centers are some kind of massive stealth threat to women’s health has drunk too much pro-abortion Kool-Aid.

One can only assume that the people who write the Governor’s scripts haven’t seen the videos of women being taken from Planned Parenthood clinics in ambulances due to complications from abortions, or they didn’t read the recent stories of the doctor who pleaded guilty this year to killing a woman in a botched abortion. Or perhaps they didn’t ask the Governor how many abortion clinics his Health Department has inspected recently (because it’s virtually none) and how many unlicensed clinics they’ve shut down (absolutely none). They certainly have never interviewed the women who have been coerced into abortions, or who were the victims of sex traffickers or abusers who were never reported by abortion clinics. I guess they were too busy complaining about pregnancy centers to investigate the abuses of the abortion industry.

Or perhaps they have discerned certain truths that are embedded deep in their hearts, and are reacting angrily because they feel threatened in their distorted worldview. Perhaps they realize that if women are truly presented with their options, in a loving and supportive environment, they might actually choose not to have an abortion. Perhaps they’re afraid that women will reject the lie that they cannot fully participate in life if they have an inconvenient pregnancy. Perhaps they’re worried that more and more women will see that life is a beautiful gift, and that when we receive it generously we become better people.

The truth is a frightening thing, when you’re in the grip of a radical anti-life ideology.

The Abortion Resistance Continues

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

The sad anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision is once again upon us. Our nation continues to live under the shadow of one of the greatest injustices in our history — a legal regime that holds that unborn children have no rights that born people are bound to respect. It is a legal system that violates all notions of human rights by permitting acts of lethal violence with impunity against an entire class of human beings, solely because of their age and vulnerability.

The radical nature of our abortion laws is woefully misunderstood. The news media and commentators frequently mislead people into thinking that Roe merely legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, and permitted many restrictions thereafter. The fact of the matter is, and always has been, that Roe struck down the abortion laws of every state in the Union, and guarantees the right to an abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason whatsoever. This is important to understand, especially when demagogic public officials like the Governor of New York trumpet their desire to enact Roe into law.

Here in a very liberal state, it is sometimes easy to forget that abortion is not as widely supported in the rest of America. A new poll from the Knights of Columbus and Marist College demonstrates the depth of pro-life feelings in our nation. Only a bare majority of Americans (51%) call themselves “pro-choice”, while 44% say they’re “pro-life”. But labels are deceptive — they conceal the real pro-life majority. This can be seen when the poll asks more specific questions about people’s actual beliefs:

  • 76% of Americans support limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy.
  • There is strong support for this limit across the political and ideological spectrum — Republicans (92%), Independents (78%), Democrats (61%) and even those who call themselves Pro-choice (60%).
  • 63% of Americans would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and 60% oppose using tax dollars to pay for abortion.
  • 56% of Americans continue to believe that abortion is morally wrong, and 64% believe it’s immoral to abort unborn children with genetic ailments like Down syndrome — a position that even 49% of those who are Pro-choice agree with.
  • In a sign of hope for authentic conscience protection, 54% of Americans agree that medical professionals and organizations with moral objections should not be required to be involved in abortions or cover them with health insurance.
  • Abortion continues to be a major issue in how people decide to vote for President (42%), Congress (45%) and local races (38%).
  • And despite decades of pro-abortion propaganda intended to establish that abortion is a positive good, a strong majority of Americans (52%) say that abortion does a woman more harm than good in the long run, while only 29% have bought the lie that abortion improves a woman’s life.

It has proven frustratingly difficult to translate pro-life support in polls into public policy and judicial decisions. This is especially true in our current dysfunctional political system, especially here in New York. But what this new poll demonstrates is that however deeply embedded abortion may be in our law and society, the pro-life position is still strong in the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans.

The cause of life can never be defeated, because it is the cause of truth and it’s the cause of God. And so on this Friday, January 19, we once again march to give witness to our belief in the sanctity of every human life, confident that there are millions of others who can’t be with us but who share our beliefs.

The Resistance goes on.

The Higher Law and Our True King

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Every so often, there is a remarkable confluence of events that reminds us of God’s will and His activity in our world. In just the past few days, we’ve seen another example of that, one that reminds us of the dire consequences if we continue to forget that God’s law is the highest law and that Christ is our true King.

Last week, a federal District Court judge ruled that a Texas abortion law was unconstitutional. The bill prohibited “dismemberment abortion”, which is defined in stomach-churning terms as:

dismember[ing] the living unborn child and extract[ing] the unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps, or performs any combination of those actions on, a piece of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip the piece from the body.

This horror is known in the medical world as a “D&E” abortion — “dilation and extraction”. Such cold clinical terms are used to avoid acknowledging the reality of what is done to a living human being.

It should go without saying that any body of law that fails to protect human beings from this form of cruel torture — a practice once universally condemned as a crime against humanity when it was done in the death camps — is uncivilized and unworthy of respect or obedience. Sadly, in the Culture of Death that has perverted and desecrated America and our constitutional law, such a barbaric practice is not only legally protected but is held up as one of the highest values in our law. That a prestigious court would grant legal protection to an act of human vivisection is a symptom of a profound cultural and civic sickness.

This sad conclusion is made even clearer by the other event that happened in the last few days. Our liturgical calendar sets aside the last Sunday before Advent as the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe. It is worth looking back to the magnificent encyclical letter, Quas Primas, by which Pope Pius XI inaugurated this celebration.

To begin with, the Holy Father stated that “It would be a grave error…to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power.” (17)

He then recounted some of the consequences of this failure to recognize the authority of Christ as law-giver, judge, and administrator of all societies:

… the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. (24)

Does this sound familiar? The Holy Father was writing in 1925, in the aftermath of the devastating Great War, yet he could have been commenting on the catastrophe we see all around us today. He then went on to outline the benefits of recognizing our true King as the source of all law and authority:

When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony… If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent… Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished. (19)

It’s not popular to speak in these terms these days, because one is usually accused of being a theocrat or a religious fundamentalist. But it is nothing like that at all. It is a simple recognition that if our society were governed by the laws of God, then we would have true peace and justice. And no horror like a dismemberment abortion would be tolerated or even contemplated. But that is only possible if we recognize the authority of God’s higher law and Jesus Christ as our true King.

The Advent of our King and the Culture of Life

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

(Last night, I was given the “Our Lady of Guadalupe Family Life Award” at the annual dinner for the support of the Montfort Academy, the wonderful high school dedicated to classical Catholic education, in full fidelity to the Church.  I’d like to share with you the text of my remarks at the award dinner.)

I would like to thank you for inviting me here to this great event, and for giving me such a splendid award.  It is especially gratifying to receive an award like this from an institution that is doing so much to build and sustain a Culture of Life.  I often think that awards like this reflect more the generosity of the giver, than the merits of the recipient.  But I’m very grateful to you, and I’m also most grateful to God for the many opportunities he has given to me, to give witness to the Gospel of Life.  All glory to God!

I think it is particularly appropriate that we’re speaking of the Gospel of Life, and our efforts to create a Culture of Life, here in the season of Advent, on this great feast day.  We are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Kingdom of God, and the coming of our King — revolutionary events that have changed the world.  We are living in anticipation of our salvation, which comes to us through hope (Rom. 8:24) and fills us with great joy.

Of course, when we look around our world, many people are wondering if there is any evidence for that hope, or indeed any hope at all for our world.  There is reason for that concern — our society is in the grips of a culture of death, and is very deeply wounded.

We’re all aware of the threats at the beginning of life. Abortion on demand is the law of our land, we’ve seen the re-election of a president who is fully committed to an anti-life agenda, a Supreme Court decision upholding a health care law that institutionalizes abortion, and the spread of the contraceptive mentality that views children not as a gift, but as a threat to be suppressed.

At the end of life, we see continued threats, hidden behind jargon like “quality of life” and “medical futility” or a utilitarian calculation of the allocation of scarce resources.

The family and marriage, are under attack in our courts and legislatures, and we will once again be at the mercy of a Supreme Court decision on such a fundamental issue.

And, we are also aware of those among us who have been wounded — including millions of women and men who suffer in the aftermath of an abortion, as well as the victims of family breakdown.

Our society needs healing from these deep wounds.  We are seeking some relief, but it’s very hard to find because we are all too often blinded by our wounds.  I am reminded of the poignant World War One painting by John Singer Sargent, called “Gassed”, which shows a line of injured soldiers, blinded by a poison gas attack, stumbling ahead to find a medical station.

From all appearances, the state of our wounded world seems very bleak. And yet, and yet…

We know something that the world does not.  We know a truth that the world does not recognize, or has forgotten — a truth about the human person, about human society, and about our relationship with God.  We know that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and that every human person — and human society as a whole — has been sanctified and redeemed by Jesus.  This vision is attractive and compelling to people — because it is true.

We understand also that there is a law higher than any human law, a law that demands our obedience because it was written by God into our very nature.  This natural law offers us a vision of the common good and justice, that recognizes and defends human dignity, and allows for authentic human development.

In fact, we know that there’s a revolution going on.  It’s a revolution of life and love. We know that there is a King whose reign is on the rise.  We have a hope that the world can never thwart.  And we know that this revolution — and this King — will bring peace and healing to our world.

If we were to rely only on the media, we would be hard pressed to see this.  But we can see it, because of our unique perspective.  As the Letter to the Hebrews puts it, we are “strangers and exiles” (Heb 11:16), “for here we have no lasting city” (Heb 13:14).  Saint Augustine explained that we are citizens of the City of God, but we are still deeply engaged in the City of Man.  We may feel that we are in a kind of Babylonian captivity, but we heed the words of God through the Prophet Jeremiah, “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jer 29:7).

From this perspective, we can see the revolution of love in so many places:

  • At the March for Life, with thousands of young people who are unashamed to announce that they are pro-life and proud.
  • In the movement to embrace and promote chastity, where happy, joyful young people openly live lives of purity and beauty.
  • In the opinion polls, which show a genuine shift towards pro-life positions.
  • In legislatures around the nation, passing pro-life laws to protect women and children.
  • In the explosion of pro-life apostolic work, particularly the assistance given to women in crisis pregnancies, those with adverse pre-natal diagnosis, and those suffering in the aftermath of abortion.
  • In the growing numbers of  pro-life lawyers, doctors, and other professionals, who are making their profession a vocation.
  • In the dedication to prayer as the heart and soul of all of our efforts.
  • In the new, openly pro-life religious communities (like the Sisters of Life), which are booming.
  • In the revitalization of our Church, particularly in the renewal of traditional liturgy and devotions, and a new commitment to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • And, of course, in the enterprise that you are all engaged in — the revival of authentic Catholic education, in all the richness of tradition, which answers the hunger for truth and fosters a love of fidelity.
  • In all these areas, and in many more, the Culture of Life is being built.  We argue, we convince, we give witness, we serve, we share, we suffer with, and we pray.  We work for the welfare of this great nation.  And we point out to our world the path to the healing it so desperately needs.  Of course, this is not easy — it is a struggle, it’s hard work.

    This struggle is nothing new.  Our revolution began in an ancient society immersed in death and sin, which was yearning for redemption and healing.  It started in a small family home in Nazareth, where a young woman said “yes” to that strange and fearful message from an angel.  It followed our great King as he healed and preached the truth, as he made his way to Calvary.  It burst forth from the empty tomb and caught fire in the upper room.  It spread through homes and families across the world, inspiring ordinary people who have struggled with all the difficulties and trials of their own times.  It strode bravely into the arena where it shed blood and inspired poetry.

    Our revolution has always been opposed by the forces of the world.  But through it all, it has brought healing and peace to the suffering of every nation and has boldly held aloft the standard of our King.

    That standard has now been passed to us. We may be strangers and exiles in this land, but the battle has been joined — in our families, in our marriages, in our parishes, in our schools, in our communities, in our voting booths, in our legislatures, in our courts.  In our hearts.

    Advent is here.  Our King is at hand.  Where else would we rather be, except in this struggle, in this time, at the side of our King, at the side of our Queen?

    All glory and honor to our King Jesus Christ, now and forever.  Amen.

    Be Thankful for a Growing Culture of Life

    Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

    (I was asked by to contribute my thoughts to a forum on National Review Online, about what we have to be thankful for in the current political and cultural climate.  Here is what I submitted.)

    In the aftermath of the elections, many of us who are engaged in the struggle to promote a Culture of Life are having a hard time seeing any cause for thanksgiving.  A committed anti-life Administration was brought back into office, the defense of authentic marriage suffered a setback, and many commentators are suggesting that the Republican Party jettison its pro-life, pro-marriage positions.  On the world stage, peace seems more elusive than ever. In such an environment, can we see anything to be thankful for?

    While our modern media tends to concentrate on the big picture, the reality is that a true Culture of Life is the product of a myriad of decisions made on the personal, individual level.  When we look there, we see hope.  We see fewer abortions taking place in America, as more individual women and men choose life over death, and more families support and welcome them.  We see more women and men speaking out about the pain of their abortions, and the healing they’ve experienced through ministries like the Sisters of Life.  We see more young people standing up for purity and virtue, like the Generation Life missionaries in the Archdiocese of New York.  We see young adults at Pre-Cana classes choosing to get married, instead of conforming to the emotional dead end of the hook-up and cohabitation mentality.

    Such small steps are invisible to our media culture, but plain to see for those who look in the right place.  By the grace of God and the cooperation of everyday people, a Culture of Life is being built within the ruins of our age, one heart and one life at a time.  That gives us great cause for thanksgiving.

    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.