Sunday, November 01, 2009

40 Days For Life: Thoughts and Motivations

What an amazing time. 40 Days for Life has drawn to a close and now we give thanks and rejoice in the amazing strides made as a direct result of this campaign. 534 human beings saved! Eight health care providers and staff members left abortion clinics, citing an inability to continue to partake in the wrongdoing. Living proof (literally) of the power of prayer.

So on this brisk November night, we collectively caught our breath, offered thanks, and by candle light, joined together in song and prayer. This vigil has ended but there will be another. And another. You can count on it.

Of course, there was a bit of name-calling. Loser, psycho, freak, woman hater, nut bag, nut job, and whack job all come to mind. Par for the course, apparently. After a while, the shrill verbal assaults become minor background noise compared to the booming voice of prayer. When you know you're doing right, an angry shriek of contempt becomes small and irrelevant.

Still, by and large, reaction to the vigil has been overwhelmingly positive. Passing cars frequently honked as a show of support. Shouts of praise and encouragement were commonplace. It was clear by the number of people offering support that 40 Days participants were appreciated and welcome. We were clearly viewed as peaceful, unyielding opposition to the great evil occurring at Aanchor Health Services.

And let us not mince words. A great evil it is. This so-called "health center" offers suction abortion until 17 and 1/2 weeks gestation. 17 and 1/2 weeks! And it does so in a manner so cavalier, so brazen, it's nearly unbelievable. With soothing verbiage and evasive terminology, they avoid the brutal reality of their trade. I encourage even the most ardent abortion supporter to view their website and justify the unapologetic marketing of this heinous and unthinkable act.

A pre-born child, 17.5 weeks gestation.

As you might expect, many questions have been asked of me these past 40 days...Don't you have a better use of your time? Why are you so extreme? Why don't you people care about born children? Are you anti-woman? What about cases of rape and incest? What if the mother's life is at stake? Are you willing to take care of an unwanted child? Why are you pushing your religious beliefs on everyone else? How are YOU so sure of when life begins?

In summary, here is where I and millions of others stand. The words are my own:

**Human life is valuable, precious, and God given. Its value is not determined by age, ability or lack thereof, productivity or lack thereof, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, or even by behavior. Life has worth in and of itself.

**Therefore, life begins when it starts. At conception. All other determinations are arbitrary, subject to interpretation and error. The risk of using gestational markers to define what it means to be human is an absurd and arrogant exercise. Obama was correct when he said that asking him to define when life begins was a request "above his pay grade". It is for all of us. Therefore, we take no chances and accept this gift when it is given. If an error is to be made, let it be on the side of life.

**As a corallary, opposition to abortion is not based upon nebulous, vaguely defined motivations. Nor is it a matter of foisting obscure religious beliefs on our fellow citizens. It literally is a matter of life and death. As such, even our opposition must logically allow that we are compelled to act by defending innocents and seeking to end elective abortion.

**Abortion is harmful to not only the infant, obviously, but to all those involved, especially women. The guilt and regret associated with the act is often life long. Despite cultural norms, most women are innately aware of their responsibility to protect children, not dispose of them. Psychological pain is often profound, despite any initial relief a woman may feel in freeing herself from a perceived burden. Silent No More, an organization comprised of women who regret their elective abortions, bears witness to this reality.

**In the rare but often cited instances where rape or incest results in pregnancy, the child is blameless and innocent. One tragedy should not be compounded by another.

**In the equally rare cases where pregnancy puts the life of the mother in imminent, grave danger, she must defer to her conscience and act accordingly. In my opinion, God does not ask that we die in order to bear a child. We are permitted to defend our own natural life when it is truly at stake. Most religious leaders agree with this perspective.

**Adoption is a realistic and loving alternative for those unable to care for a child. An arsenal of resources exist to assist women in the midst of a crisis pregnancy. The Gabriel Project is but one among countless others.

**The right to unfettered access to abortion nearly eliminates the importance of fatherhood and the inherent rights associated with it.

**We wish no harm to those providing abortion. We pray for their enlightenment and for the conversion of their hearts and minds. Most importantly, we pray for their souls. However misguided, they too are in need of our compassion.

**When it comes to participating in this and other pro-life efforts, my time is always well spent.


Watch for the next 40 Days For Life campaign...returning to hundreds of communities across America during Lent, Spring 2010. Please join us.

40 Days For Life

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