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by Kathtyn Jean Lopez
“Nights of Rage” are how some pro-abortion activists described their plans for the days following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. By the time you read this, I hope we will know it was all talk from extremists. But in the weeks after the draft leak of the decision, there was violence. In a country of division, can we at least stand up against more violence — even beyond the violence of abortion?
For a half-century, the pro-life movement has been making the case for the humanity of the unborn child. We’ve prayed. We’ve peacefully protested. Most years, it didn’t really make the secular news, but we’ve marched on Washington every frigid January, begging the court to overturn Roe v. Wade. It hasn’t been fun, but every year we see more and more young people, filled with hopeful joy that this wrong will be righted.
Anyone who has ever seen a sonogram knows that there is a developing child in the womb. President Joe Biden recently made a slip and said that a woman should have a right to abort her child. It was unintentional on his part, I assume, given the left’s decades-long insistence on euphemisms when it comes to abortion. But let’s talk about the child, thank you. Let’s talk about abortion. Let’s talk about what it actually is: Not health care. Not freedom. Death.
And that violence that abortion insists on is manifesting itself in outbursts of violence on the streets and against pro-life women’s care centers. Graffiti. Firebombs. There are groups whose names I won’t mention because I don’t want to give them more attention. I’ve experienced one of them in New York. They taunt. They spit. They harass. They blockade. They don’t really want to have a conversation or debate. They want to drown out prayer. Heaven forbid a scared mom know that there are people taking the time to pray for her. If they don’t drown us out, sometimes a young mother stops to talk with a sidewalk counselor and reconsiders her abortion. If you’re actually pro-choice, that shouldn’t be the greatest threat there is: that a woman actually knows and decides she can be the mother she already is.
As we awaited the Supreme Court decision, 250 or so women met in Philadelphia. Some were young, some with more experience serving as mentors and spiritual directors. The gathering, an annual event called the GIVEN Forum, is an opportunity for young Catholic women to explore who they are in the light of God’s plan. It’s a radical concept in our modern world: that we have been made by a creator for a purpose, with specific gifts. And the fullness of joy and freedom comes in seeking that plan, doing His will.
These women know their lives cannot be remade in their own image, or any image the world insists on. They see people around them trying it and drowning in misery, and they want to help. Multiple times, a quote from Pope Paul VI, speaking at the end of the Second Vatican Council, has been repeated: “(A)t this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid mankind in not falling.”
My favorite line comes at the end: “Women, you do know how to make truth sweet, tender and accessible, make it your task to bring the spirit of this council into institutions, schools, homes and daily life. Women of the entire universe, whether Christian or non-believing, you to whom life is entrusted at this grave moment in history, it is for you to save the peace of the world.”
Why choose death when we are meant for life? Why snuff out the innocent when they deserve our protection? Why pretend that abortion doesn’t harm, when it in fact kills a child and often inflicts psychic damage on parents?
The end of Roe v. Wade isn’t the end of the world. It’s a new day where motherhood can get the attention it deserves. Celebrate life. Embrace it. Surround it with love and resources. That’s what creation has set up for us. The women at GIVEN have no interest in fighting creation. We’d be wise to support them — and do everything we can to support mothers and families, practically and as policy.
(Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book “A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living.” She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)