By Clare Ruff
Clare Ruff has a BA in Theology
from University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX. She serves as Director of Events and Outreach for the Hosea Initiative and writes from her home in southeastern Minnesota.
By Julie Anderson
Member, Hosea Board of Advisors
“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
To be honest, my husband and I have been feeling a lot like Dorothy in the “The Wizard of Oz” due to a ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court.
During the 2015 session, the Kansas State Legislature (by overwhelmingly majorities in both chambers) passed The Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. Signed into law on April 7, 2015, by then-Governor Sam Brownback, now ambassador at large for religious freedom, the law banned dismemberment abortions except in certain situations.
Before going any further, it’s important to first understand dismemberment abortion.
Planned Parenthood describes dismemberment abortion (also known as dilation and evacuation or D&E) as an in-clinic procedure using suction and medical tools to empty the uterus. It’s typically used for a pregnancy 16 gestational weeks or later.
In other words, the child is dismembered while still alive, then extracted from the womb, one piece at a time. According to Kansans for Life, nine such abortions occur in the state every week. That’s nearly 170 each year!
The new law was the first such ban in the nation. Other states started drafting similar laws, using the Kansas a model or springboard. Unfortunately, the law never took effect in Kansas.
Almost immediately after the law’s passage, two abortionists, the father-daughter team of Drs. Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, along with the New-York based Center for Reproductive Rights, filed a legal challenge in a case known as Hodes and Nauser, MDs v. Schmidt, a case which wound its way through the various levels of the legal system, ultimately reaching the Kansas Supreme Court.
The doctors claimed that sections 1 and 2 of the Kansas State Constitution (and not the United States Constitution) recognize a “fundamental right to abortion.”
Like so many other state constitutions, the first section of the Kansas Constitution draws from our nation’s founding documents. In fact, the first section is taken almost verbatim from the Declaration of Independence and reads, “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Although the court heard arguments in March 2017, it took two years before the Kansas Supreme Court issued its final ruling in April 2019. Of the seven justices who heard the case, six agreed with the father-daughter abortionists. It’s interesting to note the justices took nearly 200 pages to explain their ruling, affirming the state constitution, drafted in 1859, contained not only a right to abortion, but “a fundamental right to abortion.”
Only one justice dissented, Justice Caleb T. Stegall. Perhaps he is the one who best understood what was at stake-the lives of innocent preborn children. He wrote, “In this imagined world, the Liberty Bell rings every time a baby in utero loses her arm.”
Currently, Kansas is poised to become an epicenter of abortion activity as a result of the ruling. The ruling threatens more than two dozen other laws enacted since 1997 which have allowed the people, through the state legislature, to regulate abortion and protect the lives of both women and children. Laws such as those which require a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion or parental consent in the case of a minor seeking an abortion have reduced the abortion rate in Kansas throughout the past 22 years by about 50 percent.
The other night, my husband asked me what I thought would have happened if any of the seven justices of the Kansas State Supreme Court would have viewed the1984 film, “The Silent Scream.”
Coproduced by Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, the father of the abortion industry, a man who repented of his ways and later claimed responsibility for 75,000 abortions, the documentary is not for the faint of heart. In it, Dr. Nathanson calmly narrates the dismemberment abortion of an 11-week-old baby. Near the beginning, he cautions viewers that, “We are going to watch a child being torn apart, dismembered, disarticulated, crushed and destroyed.”
As a result of Marc’s question, I started thinking. What if the justices had seen the film? Would they have ruled differently? How did they arrive at such a ruling in the first place? And if a court can issue such a ruling here in the heartland of the nation, what is to stop other courts across the nation from issuing similar rulings?
For the past several months, prolife advocates in Kansas have been working towards passage of the Value Them Both amendment. The goal is to place it on the primary ballot in August for Kansans to “reverse the ruling,” which resulted from the Hodes and Nauser case.
The amendment would not ban abortions (as opponents claim), but would return the right to regulate abortion to the people through their elected representatives. Although more than 30,000 Kansans signed postcards of support, currently the amendment needs four votes in the Kansas House before it can be placed on the ballot.
While prolife advocates work towards that goal here in Kansas, I’d encourage you to understand the current situation in your own particular state. If a ruling such as the one handed down in Hodes and Nauser can be handed down here, I shudder to think how other state constitutions might be interpreted in view of “the law of the land.” If we don’t stay vigilant, all of us might be saying, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in the United States anymore.”
Julie Anderson is a member of the Hosea Board of Advisors, a freelance journalist of 20 years and a prolife advocate. She writes from her home state of Kansas. For her full bio, see hosea4you.org.
By Clare Ruff
I recently accompanied my husband on an international visit to Costa Rica. Dental tourism was our purpose, and we chose for our first few nights’ lodging a posada, housing only 25 persons at full capacity. This former grand-villa-transformed-into-B&B lent itself to a unique experience. The public living quarters, open-air courtyard, well-groomed gardens, romantic, Spanish architecture set the stage for meaningful human interaction unlike anything we had experienced when staying in larger hotels with hundreds of guests.
Daily conversations with travelers from every corner of the world were commonplace. Soon I noticed a theme emerge from the interpersonal connections, a golden thread crossing the vast range of age, culture and continents: a yearning for the transcendentals of life. [ In classic, philosophical terms, transcendentals refer to the true (verum), the good (bonum), and the beautiful (pulchrum), often described as unseen realities which are discovered from what is seen.]
The first day, an elegant octogenarian speaking English with a charming French accent announced to me that she had decided to extend her two week vacation an additional month. Her adult children back home in Canada would need to “stop fussing.” “I found a paradise I don’t want to leave!” she exclaimed sipping a glass of Argentinian wine while listening to classical music played from her travel-sized SOUNDBOT. She summarized, “This place feeds my soul and gives me peace.”
I mused: transcendentals!
The following day, a gentleman of 40 years chatted with me pool-side about his adventuresome travel from Africa to London and then the final twenty hours journey to the posada. He was eager for a listening ear to unload his travel story and his burdened heart. “Me Dad’s had a stroke, and work is HARD! I needed to renew. The beauty here is magical, no?” he gestured toward the horizon of palm trees and purple-hued, volcanic hills rejuvenating his spirit. Ahh, transcendentals!
Even the innkeeper shared his personal story of meeting his wife in France, starting a family in his native Norway before coming to Costa Rica. “I worked two jobs and long hours before realizing I had no patience for the very things most precious to me – my wife and children!” So, he restructured his life to provide for his family in a way that he never left “home” to go to work. Seeking the deeper meaning in life is also a quest for transcendentals!
Bernard Nathanson, M.D. had a similar encounter moving from what is seen to what is unseen after an ultrasound image of a 16-week-old baby girl in the womb allowed him to glimpse not simply MATTER (as in cells and human tissue), but what mattered, the hidden VALUE intrinsic to something.
It’s not unusual for an obstetrician/gynecologist today to see 3D, even 4D images via ultrasound. But, in 1973, when Dr. Nathanson first experienced what he called “a window into the womb”, real-time ultrasound was a new invention. The inventors demonstrated the remarkable abilities of the equipment to Nathanson because of his prominence as Chief of Obstetrics at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City.
What happened within a few moments changed Dr. Nathanson’s life. When he saw the child via ultrasound, what came to his mind was not faulty political rhetoric he fed to legislators, medical doctors and judges. His mind presented to him the horrors of the holocaust of World War II, and how those Nazis responsible for the mass-murder of the innocent, first stripped away the personhood of the Jewish people to justify the slaughter of the many. Nathanson then saw himself as the perpetrator of an equal injustice towards the child in the womb.
Once Dr. Nathanson saw what was unseen, that is, the value intrinsic to the human child, he changed his position on legalizing abortion on demand, a legislative prerogative he and Lawrence Lader as co-founders of NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America) conceptualized and brought to birth in the United States in under five short years (1967 – 1973). Many do not know this dramatic reversal of Nathanson’s position as father of the industry of abortion happened just months past the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul directs his audience to, “Set your minds on things above, rather than on things that are of earth,” [Col 3:2] looking for the True the Good and the Beautiful, beyond what is seen with the naked eye to what is unseen. Yet, “unseen” does not translate to unreal or intangible as anyone who loves or hates or hopes or breaths can attest.
If our nation more readily acknowledged the hidden, yet intrinsic value of each child nestled in his or her mother’s womb and embraced these transcendental realities, legislative protection under the law for every child born or unborn would be non-negotiable.
Clare Ruff currently serves as
Director of Events and Outreach for
the Hosea Initiative, an educational,
prolife, non-profit, and writes from her
home in southeastern Minnesota.
By Julie Anderson, Member of Advisory Board, Hosea Initiative
The Latin phrase translates as “friend of the court.”
Online dictionaries define a friend of the court as a professional person or organization not involved in the legal matter at hand but one permitted by the court to advise it in some capacity related to the case.
On January 2, a “friend of the court” brief was filed in support of the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act known as Act 620, a law passed in 2014 in Louisiana which remains on hold as it winds through the judicial system.
Terry Beatley, founder and president of Hosea Initiative, is named in that brief.
In the brief, David DeWolf of Albrecht Law PLLC, along with Catherine Short and Alexandra Snyder, both of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, offer a summary of Terry’s book, What If We’ve Been Wrong: Keeping my Promise to America’s “Abortion King.”
The brief discusses Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D., as cofounder of NARAL now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The attorneys write, “After having performed approximately 60,000 abortions, Dr. Nathanson resigned from NARAL and wrote three books exposing the tactics used to promote legalized abortion, including his development, along with the help of a public relations firm, of the slogan, ‘My Body, My Choice.’”
Later, the same attorneys write, “Dr. Nathanson was the father of the abortion industry. It was his idea to meet the demand in New York by ambulatory centers. Walk-in and -out, same-day surgery centers were focused solely on abortion services and removed the hospital ‘monopoly’ and control.”
Besides legal documents previously submitted, the Supreme Court of the United States has scheduled the entire day of March 4 to oral arguments focusing on Act 620.
After reading the complete text, I learned the law passed the Louisiana State Legislature with wide margins of support. The House of Representatives voted 85-6 in favor of the law while the Senate voted 34-3.
Secondly, I learned the law focuses on “continuity of care,” relative to someone’s medical treatment. In Section I, the Act states, “a physician performing or inducing an abortion shall: (a) Have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced and that provides obstetrical or gynecological health care services.”
In other words, if a woman suffers a complication such as a torn cervix or punctured uterus, she can be treated by “the same doctor who knows the exact nature of the complication” and who “can help the patient in the hospital, improving the continuity of care.”
It’s surprising to me those in favor of abortion would not see the value of this law. Even Dr. Nathanson, “the father of the abortion industry,” prided himself on creating a safe environment for his patients. In fact, he saw it as a moral imperative.
In the Hand of God, he wrote, “Having now achieved the law, we had to make certain that it was not thrown into disrepute by clumsy practitioners little more adept than the illegals they would replace. In short, our greatest fear was that this unprecedented liberty might be jeopardized by a poor safety record. To that end, I organized and staged a comprehensive symposium on abortion on July 1, 1970, at New York Medical Center.”
Later, Dr. Nathanson recalled, “At St. Luke’s Women’s Hospital, with the aid of Dr. Harold Tovell, then the director of obstetrics and gynecology, and Avril Lawrence, the director of the operating room, we devised an outpatient, walk-in, walk-out-three-hours-later program that worked efficiently and safely for our first-trimester patients. Women seeking late abortions (after thirteen to fifteen weeks) still had to be hospitalized, since the procedures we used were more complex and dangerous.”
Finally, Dr. Nathanson also commented that, “Another of my duties as chairman of the Medical Committee of NARAL (I was also a member of the Executive Committee) was to inspect the existing abortion clinics in the area and pass on their safety and medical effectiveness.”
So, in closing, if Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the father of abortion industry, saw the necessity of medical and safety standards, I think it logical that today’s abortionists should have admitting privileges. He or she would be intimately familiar with the patient’s medical situation, and in the event of an emergency, valuable time would not be lost.
Finally, as I close this blog, I’d like to offer a few ACTION STEPS we can all take, especially as the Supreme Court gears up for this important case.
Firstly, we should study the works of Dr. Bernard Nathanson including his books: Aborting America, Hand of God, The Abortion Papers and the two films he produced: The Silent Scream and Eclipse of Reason. Become better educated as American citizens, and who better to learn from than the father of the abortion industry himself?
Secondly, mark your calendar and, if possible, plan to join Terry Beatley, founder of Hosea Initiative, on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 4 at 9:00AM. If you are unable to be there in person, join us in prayer.
The prolife movement needs YOU!
By Julie Anderson
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.”
If there is one thing that Hal David, author of the lyrics to hit song “What the World Needs Now is Love,” and St. Therese could agree on is the world needs more love.
As I lie awake recently, I thought about the lyrics to the song as well as the spirituality of my absolute favorite saint of all time, St. Therese of Lisieux, who did small things with great love.
By now, you might be wondering how St. Therese ties in with Hosea Initiative. Please allow me to explain.
Recently, Terry Beatley, founder of Hosea Initiative, sent me a text message and asked me what I thought the three most important things are that someone should know about St. Therese. Then, while at a parish centennial in my hometown, someone else asked me almost the same identical question. So, it got me thinking. What if St. Therese were living on earth today? What would she say to all of us? What answer would she give us to put an end to legalized abortion?
As I lay in bed, I thought about a podcast I listened to earlier in the day about St. Therese. The priest giving the talk shared that throughout St. Therese’s writings, you will find references to charity or love no less than 1,000 times! Clearly, she believed in love. In fact, love is what motivated her. It’s in love that she found her vocation.
In her autobiography, St. Therese writes about reading St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, saying, “I persevered in the reading and did not let my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will show you the way which surpasses all others. For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind.”
She adds, “Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love.”
I think the same could be said of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the cofounder of NARAL known today as NARAL Pro-Choice America. In 1996, he found the love of Jesus Christ. In doing so, he found his true calling in life.
During her presentations, Terry takes participants on a journey through Dr. Nathanson’s life from atheist to cofounder of NARAL to his resignation from the organization just two years after Roe v. Wade was decided by the United States Supreme Court. She talks about his spiritual journey, culminating in his baptism and reception into the Catholic faith, and she discusses his last message to America as well as her promise to spread it across the nation.
His parting message was, “Tell America that the cofounder of NARAL says to ‘Love one another. Abortion is not love. STOP THE KILLING. The world needs more love. I’m all about love now.’”
If Dr. Nathanson, the father of the abortion industry in America and the man responsible for teaching Planned Parenthood about abortion, found his calling in the love of Jesus Christ, then perhaps it really is that simple. Perhaps it’s just as Hal David wrote in the 1965 hit song, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” Or, put it another way, perhaps it’s by imitating St. Therese’s example of putting great love behind every deed, no matter how small, in service to our neighbor.
We invite you to take a further look at Hosea Initiative. With your prayers and financial support, we can continue teaching the message of Dr. Nathanson across America, sharing the beautiful love story God worked in his life. And, in each telling of Dr. Nathanson’s story, the love of Christ will grow throughout this great nation of ours, and maybe, just maybe, abortion will no longer be the law of the land.
By Terry Beatley
By Julie Anderson
I admit it. I love American history, especially anything to do with the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. I’m not alone in my admiration for the Great Emancipator. According to most historians and many polls such as one conducted in 2015 by the American Political Science Association, Lincoln is often believed to be the best American president.
Recently, a book by noted American author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin titled Leadership in Turbulent Times got me to thinking what would Abraham Lincoln say about the abortion question. The same book also got me to thinking history does repeat itself albeit sometimes with different issues. In Lincoln’s day, the struggle was about slavery. In our time, the question is about abortion.
Although I cannot go back in time and ask Lincoln personally, I think his ability to reason through the slavery question would lead him to the conclusion that abortion is immoral for some of the same reasons that slavery is immoral.
Consider some of Lincoln’s words, written as the nation grappled with the effects of the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act which repealed the 1820 Missouri Compromise. The 1820 Missouri Compromise granted Missouri’s request for statehood as a slave state and drew an imaginary line. Territories north of the line would join the Union as free states while any territories south of the line would join the Union as slave states.
Thirty years later, another compromise known as the Compromise of 1850 admitted California as a free state but brought Utah and New Mexico into the country without any restrictions on slavery. That particular compromise lasted a mere four years.
In 1854, the lawyer Lincoln was on the circuit when he learned the United States Congress has officially passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The idea of the legislation was to allow new settlers in the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska, both of which are located above the imaginary line drawn by the Missouri Compromise, to decide the slavery question on their own. Known as “popular sovereignty,” the concept meant slavery was no longer on its way to extinction as Lincoln had hoped.
In his notes, Lincoln wrote, “If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B, why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A. You say A. is white, and B. is black? It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own. You do not mean color exactly? You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first many you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.”
In the fall of 1854, Stephen Douglas and Lincoln squared off in one of their famous debates in Peoria, Illinois. During the seven-hour political theater, the two orators debated the looming expansion of slavery caused, in great part, by the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
During his remarks, Lincoln took listeners back to our nation’s birth and stated that when the Constitution was adopted, “the plain, unmistakable spirt of that age, towards slavery was hostility to the principle and toleration, only by necessity.” Taking his arguments further, Lincoln told the audience that the word “slavery” was intentionally left out of the Constitution, claiming that the framers avoided the word “just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time.”
Continuing his arguments, Lincoln said the Missouri Compromise had somewhat contained slavery, causing it to be on the wane. Yet, the Kansas-Nebraska Act had altered the course of history. Lincoln argued with the line of compromise rescinded by the law, slavery has been “transformed into a ‘sacred right’” and was once again “on the high road to extension and perpetuity; and with a pat on its back, [the law] says to it, ‘Go, and God speed you.’”
Later, during the same debate, Lincoln made it clear he harbored no ill will towards southern states or those who lived in them.
“They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not exist amongst them, they would not introduce it. IF it did exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up.”
Consider some more of Lincoln’s own words from his “House Divided” speech delivered in 1858.
“I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South.”
Later in that same speech, Lincoln said, “This necessity had not been overlooked; but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "squatter sovereignty," otherwise called "sacred right of self-government," which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any oneman, choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object.”
In her book, Doris Kearns Goodwin writes, “By the fall of 1860, the slavery issue had smashed the Democratic Party much as it had shattered the Whigs. John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry had hardened southern attitudes; no longer supporting Douglas’s popular sovereignty, the southern wing demanded explicit protection from Congress to bring new slaves into the new territories regardless of the vote of the people.”
When Lincoln entered the White House in March 1861, less than two months after Kansas entered the Union as a free state, Lincoln told his secretary John Hay, “We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose. If we fail it will go far to prove the incapability of the people to govern themselves.”
I’d argue that we’ve seen a flurry of activity by abortion activists trying to expand abortion against the will of the American people. Just look at the Reproductive Health Act passed in New York or the radical pro-abortion positions held by most politicians, especially those running for the presidency in 2020 or the legislation promoting infanticide promoted in Virginia in 2019.
These positions fly in the face of the American public’s opinions about abortion. For example, a poll taken by Students for Life of America found that only seven percent of millennials share the positions touted by the major presidential candidates. Just seven percent. Yet, Planned Parenthood and proabortion candidates continue to push for an expansion of abortion without restrictions paid for by American taxpayers such as you and me.
It’s really nothing new. The abortion movement has never been the will of the people. As Hosea Initiative founder Terry Beatley writes in her book and accompanying materials, those who advocated for abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s did so knowing it was in direct opposition to the American people.
In Fact-Check: Who Was America’s Abortion King? Beatley writes Dr. Bernard Nathanson knew that, “Every revolution needs persuasive statistics to garner the support of more people, so Dr. Nathanson lied using a fake polling statistic that sounded impressive. He reported to the media that 60 percent of Americans wanted abortion on demand legalized.”
The reality was, Beatley writes, “Only one-tenth of one percent of all Americans in the late 1960s and early 1970s wanted abortion on demand legalized. The polling numbers were exaggerated 600-fold”
In the same fact-check book, Beatley also describes the strategy used by NARAL (now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America) to support proabortion political candidates, the same strategy which specifically targeted prolife Catholics and said they could be personally opposed to abortion but could support candidates in favor of abortion because every woman should have the right to choose.
For me, the question is similar to Lincoln’s arguments about slavery. Those who advocate for abortion want to talk about women’s rights, holding the position that babies have no rights nor do fathers. According to abortion activists, no one should be allowed to object to abortion whatsoever as it’s a “sacred right”, one necessary for women to live in freedom.
Yet, Lincoln warned the people of his time, and his words ring true today. We need to be careful about proclaiming our rights are superior. If we say our rights are more important than someone else’s rights, then what’s to stop someone else from doing the same to us and saying their rights are more important than ours?
Like Abraham Lincoln who held no ill will towards those who supported slavery, I hold no ill will towards those who advocate for abortion. I believe they need our love, support and prayers now more than ever. After all, love and prayers won the hearts of Abby Johnson, Norma McCorvey and Dr. Bernard Nathanson.
But also, like Lincoln, I believe we are at a pivotal time in our nation’s history. The question is: will we be a nation which cherishes and protects the lives of each and every single preborn child, or will be a nation that allows the death of preborn children for any reason with no one being allowed to object?
As I close this blog, I ask you to read and reflect upon the words of John Hancock, one of our nation’s founding fathers and the one whose signature appears most prominently on the Declaration of Independence, a man whose words Terry felt strongly about, enough to include them in her book. These words are but an invitation to join the efforts of Hosea Initiative in making America a prolife nation, a nation where each and every life is welcomed and protected by law.
“I urge you, by all that is dear, by all that is honorable, by all that is sacred, not only that ye pray but ye act.”
POSTED BY MARC & JULIE ANDERSON ON JANUARY 31, 2020 IN ARCHDIOCESE, LEAVEN NEWS (Original Source - The Leaven)
WASHINGTON — As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann has a myriad of ways in which he is trying to help build a culture of life throughout the nation.
There is one, though, that perhaps he enjoys more than others — that of being among the hundreds of thousands of young people who gather annually in the nation’s capital to march for the sanctity of human life.
As part of events surrounding the March for Life, the archbishop served as the main celebrant and homilist of a Mass for approximately 10,000 pilgrims from across the nation. The Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 23 as the opening of the National Prayer Vigil for Life.
In addition to the archbishop, three cardinals, 39 bishops and 303 priests concelebrated, including the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christoph Pierre.
In opening his homily, the archbishop discussed how the Supreme Court, with the twin decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, “established a so-called right to an inherently evil action — the killing of innocent preborn children.”
“The high court’s 1973 decisions opened the door to a moral Twilight Zone where evil is revered as good,” he said.
“The killing of one’s child is exalted as heroic and brave,” he continued. “Even the most modest regulation of abortion facilities for the protection of women’s health is vigorously opposed.
“Abortion is described by early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul as ‘the ultimate exploitation of women.’ But in this ethically topsy-turvy Twilight Zone, it’s now hailed as the cornerstone of women’s rights.”
And discipleship in the face of that, he told the gathered youth, is not always easy.
Archbishop Naumann delivers a homily to thousands at the Vigil Mass before the March for Life in Washington, D.C. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MARC ANDERSON
"[Jesus] told his first disciples that in order to follow him, they must be willing to take up their cross,” said the archbishop. “We must be willing to follow Jesus all the way to Calvary. It takes heroism today to stand for the sanctity of human life.
“In this cultural, moral Twilight Zone, to stand for the sanctity of the lives of unborn children, you may face ridicule and social exclusion. You may be penalized in the academy and the workplace.
“If abortion extremists achieve their goals, you and I can face fines and even imprisonment to cooperate with the intrinsic evil that is abortion.”
There are signs of hope, however, that the pro-life ethic is gaining traction in America.
“Thankfully, not everything is doom and gloom. In these early days of 2020, there are signs of hope. Despite a biased, secular media, decades of persistent pro-life educational efforts have resulted in our nation’s youth being more pro-life than their parents,” the archbishop said, to a round of applause.
In two months, on March 25, he said, we will celebrate the solemnity of the Annunciation.
“It also marks the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul’s landmark and prophetic encyclical, ‘The Gospel of Life.’ St. John Paul did not make reference to any Twilight Zone episodes, but he did caution us about what he termed ‘an extremely serious mortal danger: that of confusion between good and evil, precisely in relation to the fundamental right to life.’”
Pope John Paul challenged Catholics to protect human life and the dignity of the human person wherever and however it is attacked.
“Wherever life is threatened or the dignity of the human person is diminished, we must, as individuals, and as Catholics — as a church — rise to the defense of those who cannot defend themselves,” wrote the pope.
Archbishop Naumann celebrates Mass with fellow bishops and priests at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the evening before the March for Life. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MARC ANDERSON
The archbishop also shared news from a meeting with a different pope — his recent “ad limina” visit with Pope Francis — a trip he made in the company of 14 other bishops from Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. In their meeting, Archbishop Naumann told the pope that the United States bishops had reaffirmed protection of the unborn.
“I told him that we received some criticism, even being accused of insulting the pope. Pope Francis appeared stunned and asked, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because we called the protection of the unborn a preeminent priority,’ And his immediate response was, ‘It is the preeminent priority.’
“Pope Francis said that if we do not defend life, no other rights matter. The Holy Father said that abortion is, first, a human rights issue. Of course, our faith enlightens and motivates our concern for the unborn, but protecting the lives of unborn children is not about our religious faith but upholding the most fundamental of all human rights.
“Pope Francis was aware of this March for Life in the United States and was delighted to the know the anticipated large numbers of pilgrims, especially the participation of so many young people.”
Archbishop Naumann talks with students from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas during the March for Life in D.C. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MARC ANDERSON
At the beginning of the meeting, Archbishop Naumann said, the Holy Father asked the conversation be kept confidential so everyone could speak freely.
But then “the Holy Father urged me, and I daresay, ordered me, to please tell the pilgrims at the March for Life — and the entire pro-life community — that the pope is with you.
“He is praying for you,” said the archbishop. “He supports you. He encourages you to persevere. The Holy Father asked me to especially thank those who work in our pregnancy resource centers for helping women with difficult pregnancies for being part of these islands of mercy.
“God and 14 other bishops are my witnesses that Pope Francis was passionate in the support of the church’s pro-life efforts.”
“My friends,” the archbishop said to great applause, “the successor of Peter has our backs.”
By Julie Anderson
On Dec. 9, just one day after the Hosea Initiative presented its first Courageous Life Witness Award to Secretary Ben Carson who accepted it on behalf of President Donald J. Trump, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear a challenge to a Kentucky ultrasound law. Some might see these events as unrelated, but with God there is no such thing as a coincidence and everything that happens here on earth happens for a reason, if only we have the eyes to see it. Allow me to explain.
In declining to hear the case, the Supreme Court offered no comment; so, because the Court took no action, it leaves the law in place.
To understand the law myself, I went out and found the actual text of the legislation as signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin.
Kentucky’s Ultrasound Informed Consent Act was passed in 2017. As listed in statute KRS 311.727, before performing an abortion, the law requires physicians or qualified technicians to perform an ultrasound and describe images obtained during the ultrasound to a woman thinking about abortion. It also requires doctors to listen for and amplify the heartbeat of the unborn child. Critics of the law say it forces women to look at the images and listen to the heartbeat at a time when they are most vulnerable; however, that’s not the case. A close read of the statute reveals this important section:
“When the ultrasound images and heartbeat sounds are provided to and reviewed with the pregnant woman, nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the pregnant woman from averting her eyes from the ultrasound images or requesting the volume of the heartbeat be reduced or turned off if the heartbeat is audible. Neither the physician, the qualified technician, nor the pregnant woman shall be subject to any penalty if the pregnant woman refuses to look at the displayed ultrasound images or to listen to the heartbeat if the heartbeat is audible.”
So, it’s clear the law does not force women to look at the screen, view the images or even listen to the heartbeat. It allows for an informed choice. That’s all. Proponents of the law also argue (correctly) that women sometimes often regret their abortions. In fact, according to the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, more than 6,000 women have joined the campaign to share their stories of heartbreak and regret in an attempt to educate others and prevent them from making such a life-altering choice. According to the same website, nearly 700 men have also joined the campaign, saying they regret the ways in which they participated in abortion, whether it be encouraging their girlfriends to have abortions, paying for them, and, in some cases, just simply, not speaking up to protect the lives of their unborn children. In other words, these individuals have changed their minds about abortion.
These individuals are not unlike Dr. Bernard Nathanson. He, too, changed his mind about abortion. And what changed his mind? Technology. Technology that was brand-new in 1973, the very year my husband and I were born, the same year Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court.
In her book What If We’ve Been Wrong, Hosea President Terry Beatley describes Nathanson’s “eucatastrophe moment, a term that J.R.R. Tolkien coined to depict ‘…the sudden happy turn in a story which pieces you with a joy that brings tears …it produces its peculiar effect because it is a sudden glimpse of Truth …’”
Working as chief of obstetrics at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City, Dr. Nathanson was not prepared for this “radical and revolutionary Scottish invention.” During the one and only interview she had ever had with him, Dr. Nathanson told her, “Terry, the bombshell was real-time ultrasound. It made everything come alive.”
Later, in the same chapter in her book, Beatley shares another quote from Dr. Nathanson.
“As a result of all this technology-looking at this baby, examining it, investigating, watching its metabolic functions, watching it urinate, swallow, move and sleep, watching it dream, which you could see by its rapid eye movements via ultrasound, treating it, operating on it, I finally came to the conviction that this was my patient. This was a person! I was a physician, pledged to save my patients’ lives, not to destroy them. So, I changed my mind on the subject on abortion.”
In other words, Dr. Nathanson had more information. Prior to the advent of real-time ultrasound, he did not have the full picture. He did not have all the information to make an informed decision, and that’s all the Kentucky law is about-providing information. We live in an information age, and shouldn’t we provide women all the information they need to make a truly informed decision about abortion?
I do not think it’s any mere coincidence the Supreme Court declined to hear the case on Dec. 9, just one day after the presentation of the first Dr. Nathanson Courage Life Witness Award. After all, God’s timing is never our own. The case was declined on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated this year on Dec. 9 instead of Dec. 8 due to the fact that Dec. 8 fell on a Sunday. The feast marks an important milestone in the life of Dr. Nathanson for it was on that feast 23 years ago that Dr. Nathanson was baptized into the Catholic Church. Who could script that beautiful ending to two years’ worth of litigation? The answer, of course, is simple. The answer is God.