How do we work for the end of abortion?

In some ways, for me, this is an easy question to answer on a personal level. Work to  covert hearts. Love even the most vitriolic pro abortion activist.

Do, for example, pray respectfully and softly outside of abortion clinics.

Don’t shout or hurl accusations at clinic employees and volunteers.

Do offer women seeking abortions help and lots of love. Most women who turn to abortionists do not feel that they have a choice. Let them know that they do.  There are many groups and individuals who offer help.

Don’t force your pro life stance on anyone. Just pray and love them no matter what. Recognize that every person, including the mother, is a child of God.

Please leave signs with pictures of aborted babies at home. They do more harm than good. Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic turned pro life activist, makes it clear that such tactics served to harden her heart.  What began to change her was the Pro life protesters who prayed, and cried, and who addressed her with love and kindness.

But how do we fight for life in the political arena?  I don’t know. On the one hand there are very good and sincere people who think that we should work to reduce abortions. The Iowa Catholic Conference, for example, is working to push through a bill in the legislature that would prohibit abortions after viability.

There are several such initiatives being considered in other states.

It is, perhaps, a good short term strategy. But is it an effective strategy for the long term?

I don’t know. On the one hand it is pragmatic, and reducing abortions is a good thing. But are we conceding too much?

Francis Kissling,of the group Catholics for Choice (yes the name of the group is an oxymoron) has written an article for the Washington Post. She argues that the pro abortion movement is losing and, therefore, needs to change tactics.  Kissling makes the following point (H/T Jimmy Akin):

“We can no longer pretend the fetus is invisible. We can no longer seek to banish the state from our lives, but rather need to engage its power to improve women’s lives. We must end the fiction that an abortion at 26 weeks is no different from one at six weeks.”

Her last sentence in that quote is what is causing me pause. In supporting legislation which prohibits abortions at a certain week, are we giving ammunition to the argument that there is a moral difference between a first trimester abortions and second and third trimester abortions?

Catholics, and most pro lifers, do believe that human life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. There is no moral difference.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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