Wednesday 20th August 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Emerging Pro-Life Challenge

April 14, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON

There is a feeling of hope among pro-life advocates that after 41 years of battling legalized abortion, their efforts are bearing results. The Guttmacher Institute recently reported that the number of abortions in the United States decreased from 1.21 million in 2008 to 1.06 million in 2011, a dramatic 13 percent decline, while the number of abortions per 1,000 women fell to 16.9, a historic low. In addition, 87 abortion clinics closed or stopped offering surgical abortions in 2013, reducing the total number of such facilities in the United States to 582, which is 73 percent below a high of 2,176 clinics in 1991. A number of pro-life organizations think that abortion is a failing business.
While abortions are decreasing and children in the womb are being saved in significantly increasing numbers, there is a disturbing trend that may be the forerunner of increased abortions, but at earlier stages of pregnancy. There is a shift from surgical abortions to medication abortions, that is, through the use of the pill. While the number of abortions continued to decline from 2001 to 2011, medication abortions increased from 6 percent to 23 percent of all abortions in that decade.
Contraceptive pills operate in one or more of three ways. First, they attempt to prevent ovulation. If ovulation does occur, they then try to block the sperm from joining the ovum or egg. When this fails, the drug acts to prevent the fertilized ovum from attaching to the uterus. The earliest birth control pills, approved for use in the United States in 1960, operated to prevent ovulation, and secondarily to inhibit fertilization. These two effects are truly contraceptive, for the ovum is never fertilized. Although the Catholic Church disapproves of all contraceptives because they thwart the generative aspect of the conjugal act, these first two actions do not involve the destruction of new life.
The third effect — to impede the fertilized ovum from attaching or remaining attached to the mother’s uterus — terminates a life. That is abortion.
A fertilized ovum, called a zygote, is the first stage of human life. This simple cell has all of the genetic information and capabilities to continue developing through its embryonic and fetal stages into a newborn child, and then toward becoming an aged adult. This is a continuous progression, and the preborn stages only require nourishment and protection gained through attachment to the mother’s uterus. The process of life begins at fertilization; there is no scientific disagreement on this.
Organizations such as the Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood, as well as some federal government policies, attempt to finesse the fact. They state that pregnancy starts not at fertilization, but when the fertilized ovum is implanted in the uterus. The distinction between the beginning of a child’s life and the onset of a mother’s pregnancy is critical. It allows drug companies to claim that a drug which prevents implantation is a contraceptive since it prevents pregnancy, rather than an abortifacient that terminates a life.
In September 2000, the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone (previously known as RU 486) for abortions. The drug, taken as a pill, blocks the action of the hormone progesterone, which is necessary to sustain a pregnancy. The result is that the embryonic child is detached from his mother’s uterine lining and expelled.
Ella, a relatively new drug, has been included among the contraceptives to be provided to women under Obamacare-mandated health insurance plans. It has been approved for use, according to its manufacturer, in case of “birth control failure.” This “morning-after” pill acts to prevent the attachment of the fertilized ovum to the uterus and, thus, like mifepristone, is an abortifacient.
As medication abortions replace surgical ones and contraceptive drugs become more effective and even easier to obtain, more and more abortions will occur by simply “popping a pill.” There will be no need to go to an abortion clinic, face pro-life prayer warriors and counselors, possibly see graphic images or view an ultrasound picture, and undergo a surgical procedure. The woman will have less anxiety or feelings of guilt, as her actions will seem akin to taking an aspirin or a vitamin.
An unaddressed challenge for the pro-life movement is that many people who profess to be Catholic approve of contraception. A Pew Research Center poll conducted in March 2013, shortly after Pope Francis was elected, found that 76 percent of Catholics — with virtually no differences among men or women, young or old — approved of birth control. Even among those who attend Mass weekly, 62 percent thought the Church should allow it.
These findings were repeated in a global survey on social issues, commissioned by Univision and released in February 2014. It reported that four out of five self-identified Catholics in the United States support the use of contraceptives, while three out of four say that abortion should be allowed at least in some cases.
There is a significant discontinuity between the beliefs of the laity and the teachings of the Church. Catholics have not and are not being taught the Church’s position. But who will teach them? Not too many decades ago, Church teachings were presented in Catholic elementary and high schools by nuns, priests, and brothers. Today, that is not the case.
Catholic schools and religious teachers do not exist in adequate numbers. Despite self-identified Catholics in America increasing from 49 million in 1965 to 78 million in 2013, the number of students in Catholic elementary and secondary schools plummeted from 5.2 million in nearly 13,000 schools to 2.0 million in 6,800 schools in that same period. As for religious teachers, they are almost nonexistent. There were 180,000 nuns in 1965 and most of them taught; Today, there are 51,000 and most of them do not.
The pro-life movement is faced with a growing, significant challenge. As increasing numbers of abortions are done at earlier stages with pills, not only the hearts and minds, but the consciences of people must be formed to recognize the existence and dignity of the human person at the earliest stages of development and the evils of contraception and abortion in all their forms. This will be countercultural and not easy, but must be done.

+    +    +

(The author is a visiting scholar in The School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Pope Francis profoundly saddened by death of three relatives in traffic accident

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has learnt of the tragic death of three of his relatives in a traffic accident in Argentina and is “profoundly saddened.”  The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi said the Pope had…Continue Reading

The present, future, and quality of Catholic online education

An interview with Patrick Carmack, President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, about Catholic online education, technology, and Great Books August 15, 2014 07:48 EST Patrick S. J. Carmack, J.D. is the President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, and the founder…Continue Reading

Pope makes silent anti-abortion statement in South Korea

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Pope Francis has generally avoided hot-button “culture war” issues like abortion, arguing that the church’s doctrine on the sanctity of life is well-known and that he’d rather emphasize other aspects of church teaching. But he made a strong,…Continue Reading

Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue Slams Islamic Caliphate Crimes And Barbarism

Caliphate militants are responsible for inhumane actions like public executions, humiliation of women, and terror towards Christians, Yezidis and members of other religions. The Vatican body calls on Islamic religious leaders and governments to condemn these crimes and prosecute their…Continue Reading

Incoming Roman Catholic Springfield bishop on gay marriage: ‘God made us male and female’

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, will be installed as the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, on Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral, with a public reception at…Continue Reading

Liberia: Nun dies of Ebola virus, two missionaries ill

A nun working in Liberia has died of the Ebola virus. Sister Chantal Pascaline worked with the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God. She died in Monrovia on Saturday. Two colleagues from the same order, Spanish priest Father Miguel…Continue Reading

Kurtz: New Catholic Teachers Shouldn’t Be Afraid

A group of about 750 Catholic school teachers, principals and Jefferson County school officials crammed into pews and chairs at St. Gabriel Parish in Fern Creek Friday morning for a mass service to ready the staff for the coming year.…Continue Reading

Send An Email Or Write A Letter To The Mayor Of Oklahoma City To Protest Black Satanic Mass At Civic Auditorium

Here is a copy of an email sent to the Mayor of Oklahoma City.  I think this man did a great job and we can use it as an example of what we can send.  Thank you to all of…Continue Reading

ISIS Closes In On Christians in Dramatic Overnight Development

Pope, Iraq’s Chaldean patriarch issue emergency appeals. ISIS, the radical Islamist group that forced Christians out of Mosul with the threat of death, has taken control of most of the villages of the Nineveh Plain, the northern area where Iraqi…Continue Reading

The IRS’s God Complex

The tax agency signs a secret pact with atheists, promising it will investigate 99 churches. Is the Internal Revenue Service a threat to religious liberty? As the IRS continues to come under well-aimed fire for harassing conservative groups, on Friday…Continue Reading

Archbishop Kurtz: Synod can be “a catalyst” for renewal

August 04, 2014 USCCB president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz will represent the US at the upcoming Synod of Bishops. The urgent challenges facing families—and how the Church can serve families better—will be the synod’s top priorities, he says. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz,…Continue Reading

Vatican: The Sign Of Peace Isn’t A Liturgical “Good Morning”

Today the Vatican confirmed the authenticity of a letter on the “sign of peace” that was released by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and appeared on the website of the Spanish bishops’ conference. Catholic News Service reportedly…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope On Korea Trip: Memory, Hope, Witness

pope509

2014-08-20 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) Memory, hope, witness: these are the three key terms in which Pope Francis placed his recent visit to Korea, when he reflected on the trip with pilgrims and tourists gathered in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on Wednesday for the weekly General Audience. After renewing his sentiments of gratitude and esteem for the bishops…Continue Reading

Pope Holds Press Conference On Flight Back From Korea

pope508

2014-08-18 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) From the possibility of the unification of the Koreas to the idea of “just war”, from the situation of persecuted minorities in Iraq to the Pope’s upcoming journey to Albania: on the flight back from Korea to Rome, Pope Francis answered questions put to him by journalists travelling with him aboard the papal plane. In…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Strange World Of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of 900 of the best quotes from The Birth Control Review, organized by topic, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +    +    + Introduction About 25 years ago, I bought a complete set…Continue Reading

Christians In The Mideast… Experience A Modern Calvary

By JOHN J. METZLER PARIS — The headlines seem from another era, if not century: that of Christian persecution by militant Islamists in the Middle East. Yet the modern political responses to this age-old conflict appear ambivalent about what’s emerged as an organized attempt by the militant Islamic State to impose a caliphate both on…Continue Reading

America’s Question: Cut Or Crash?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY On the last day of July, with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives serving as copilot, President Barack Obama flew the United States past a dubious fiscal landmark on our way toward what increasingly looks like a crash landing. That day, the federal debt hit $17,687,136,723,410.59 — an increase of roughly $7…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Loss Of Non-Negotiable Truths

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Non-Negotiable: Essential Principles of a Just Society and Humane Culture, by Sheila Liaugminas (Ignatius Press, San Francisco: 2014), 158 pp., $17.95. Available through www.ignatius.com. To make sense of the moral chaos, divisive political issues, and culture wars precipitated by the sexual revolution of the 1960s, it is essential to begin at the…Continue Reading

Jesus And Jeremiah Speak To Our Times

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. The commentary below is reprinted with permission from…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Memorial Of St. Alphonsus Liguori… Marian Catechists Strive To Imitate The Mother Of God

By RAYMOND CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: Raymond Cardinal Burke is the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. He delivered the homily below on August 1 at the Marian Catechist Consecration Weekend, held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, Wis. (The readings for August 1, the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, were: Romans 8:1-4;…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… How Catholics End Up As Practical Protestants

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the business of making Catholics, of proclaiming and calling all to the fullness of saving truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our mission to those who doubt or refuse some of our teachings is to call them to that fullness, whether Catholics already in our pews or Protestant brothers and sisters…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned…Continue Reading

I Believe — We Believe

By DON FIER Over the past three weeks of this series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), we have been reflectively examining the characteristics of the indescribably wonderful gift of faith that Almighty God has so generously availed mankind. As so adeptly summarized in the Compendium of the CCC, we know that faith is “the supernatural virtue which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Over the years, we have tried to correct columns in the Boston Herald by Margery Eagan because they have greatly distorted Catholic teaching. Now we learn that the longtime Herald columnist has joined the anti-Catholic Boston Globe as a writer for its new Catholicism website, Crux. According to the press release from the Globe, Eagan will focus on…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius X

By CAROLE BRESLIN This month the Catholic Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X who had so many things in common with the last few Popes. Like Pope Francis, he had a special affinity for the poor — especially since he came from a poor family. Like Pope John Paul II, who updated the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Maximilian Kolbe

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the Final Discourse, our Lord speaks to His disciples at the Last Supper about union with Christ, union with the Father, and the coming of the Holy Spirit with the theme of love woven throughout the night’s sharing. “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading