I had the opportunity during a weekend retreat for men in Malvern, Pa., to have a conversation with a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper. He told me two stories that have stuck with me.
First, back in 1962, he and a number of fellow state police were sent to find and arrest a murderer. “We’re going to find this guy, and hopefully put him away for life,” one of the troopers said. Who was the murderer? It was an abortionist, a man performing what were then illegal abortions.
Fast forward to 1983. He said he and his fellow troopers were sent out on another assignment. They were to arrest priests and nuns who were picketing outside of an abortion clinic. Apparently, they had stepped off the sidewalk in front of the clinic and were being arrested for trespassing.
Aren’t those amazing stories? In 20 years time, the one who takes the lives of unborn, innocent babies is protected, and those who attempt to save those lives are arrested. Who could have seen such a sea change?
A Vietnam veteran once said to me: “You know, the Vietnam War was over when that one picture appeared on the front page of every paper in the United States. It showed a Vietnamese girl running down the street naked, her clothes burned off by napalm. That was the day we lost the war!”
A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why you don’t see pictures of abortions. If people actually saw what was going on in the abortion clinics of the world, especially in late term abortions, abortion would end tomorrow.
Consider, for example, the amount of media and press coverage that was given to the story of the doctor who was murdered – the doctor who performed abortions. His murder was a true tragedy. So are the deaths of thousands of unborn children each day. But you never see a front page story about their deaths.
I would invite all the mainstream media to do one thing. (I’m not sure how many of them read The Catholic Review.) I would invite each media outlet to spend as much time and print detailing just one late-term abortion as they spent on that doctor’s death. If the public really had abortion put in front of them on the front page of every paper and in the headlines of every television or radio news report, day after day, there would be a sea change against abortion. If “fairness” in reporting is to have any meaning, is it not fair to give a voice to those who have no voices – the victims of abortion?
Many people in the pro-life movement are very angry and upset today. I understand those feelings. I’ve felt the same. But we need to remember that the victory of life is inevitable. It took centuries to change attitudes against slavery. It took years to defeat the Nazis and decades to defeat atheistic communism. Remember, Christ has already triumphed over sin and death. We have already won the moral battle. Not a single person with any kind of conscience sees abortion as a good in itself. Future generations will look back at our generation and be appalled that some people thought that killing their own baby was a “right.”
Two very abridged stories in closing. A young lady, fully intending to have an abortion, walked into a pro-life pregnancy center and saw a little baby’s cap, made by 93-year-old Eleanor Lapinski. The young woman said: “That’s going to be my baby’s hat!” At that moment, she changed her mind about the abortion. She chose life instead of death. Our smallest gestures matter!
Finally, a guard at an abortion clinic quit his job. “I could take the protesters in front of the clinic. In fact, the more people protested, the more abortions they tried to perform. They wanted to “stick it to the protestors.” But in the back of the clinic, every day, there stood a priest silently praying his rosary. The people inside didn’t know what to do with prayer. Prayer changed me. I quit.”
Prayer matters most of all. Light has come to the darkness, and the darkness will not overwhelm it.