I was 25 years old, and Kevin was driving me back to the airport after I had spoken at his pregnancy resource center dinner the night before. To make conversation I asked him what I thought was a simple question. I was just naïve.
“How did you get involved in the pro-life movement?” I said.
He looked out the window for a moment and silently thought about the question. Suddenly, tears began streaming down his face.
Kevin had worked in a medical lab at a Catholic hospital. His job was to examine organs that were removed during surgery. One day there was a mix-up, and the Catholic hospital received a package intended for a secular hospital.
Kevin’s hands began to shake as he pulled out the package’s contents. Inside was a Ziploc bag that contained the remains of a small 12-week-old baby girl who was killed through a saline abortion.
Kevin began to weep telling me this but he said that was not the worst part. What got to Kevin was not the horrific contents of the bag, but how the bag was labeled. Stunned at what he was looking at, Kevin wanted to see what the official label said–everything that came through his office had to be labeled in medical terms. His heart fell when he saw the label on the Ziploc bag:
“Product of conception (POC)”
Kevin had grown up Catholic but had been away from the Church for several years. After this experience, he returned to his Catholic faith and vowed to live his life in such a way that he would see everyone as human and not a “product of conception.”
Kevin’s life had changed. It didn’t happen because of an argument about abortion or a political debate on TV. That certainly would have been easier and cleaner. It didn’t even happen because of what he saw. It happened because he made a decision after being confronted by the barbaric nature of abortion.
New York’s decision–and celebration of–allowing abortions on babies up until the day they are born makes many want to throw up. G.K. Chesterton said it nearly 100 years ago, but it applies today, perhaps, more than ever: “The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but much more in Manhattan.”
The outrage has been pouring out. It ranges from Protestants and Evangelicals calling out pastors who have been silent on abortion to Catholics who are calling for Gov. Cuomo–a public Catholic–to be officially excommunicated.
If Cuomo is not excommunicated, then, as a Catholic, I join many in wondering what one must do or publicly advocate for in order to get excommunicated. It can be both comical and scary to ponder.
Despite the outpouring of righteous anger at the further destruction of human life, the question remains, now what? So, we’re mad, disgusted, hurt, and outraged. None of that removes the fact that we are living in these times and, therefore, must make a decision.
New York has sent our country a barbaric invitation to recognize the humanity of the pre-born baby lost in abortion. And that baby at 39 weeks has the same value, dignity, and humanity at 8 weeks, 16 weeks, or 24 weeks. At no point do we increase in dignity during gestation; we simply grow. Once we dehumanize a person, we become very capable of killing her, and this new law puts that reality on full display.
My hope is that the widespread outrage is not lost, but channeled. I hope New York is the answer for many people in the years to come when they are asked, “Why did you get involved in the pro-life movement?”
Despite 46 years of legal abortion, there is more momentum in this beautiful movement, which gets younger by the day. Make a decision to do something as Kevin did. It is not enough to be outraged; we must fight cynicism and complacency and act.
Volunteer at a pregnancy center (pregnancy centers now outnumber abortion providers 3:1); participate in the largest spring 40 Days for Life campaign starting on March 6 (15 locations across NY state alone); go see the new movie, Unplanned, which graphically shows the nature of abortion, on March 29; support a pro-life legislative group; just do something.
It is never too late to help end abortion where you live. The cheers from the New York Senate are on the wrong side of history. Those cheers will be silenced by science, reason, and the faith of those who make a decision to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.