To everybody who ever accused me of being "militaristic"…you were right.

A while back (too long ago) I said something to the effect that if people wanted to step up their action in face of this ludicrous past election they could ask me. If you’re a smarty like my sisters, you responded to my use of the word “ludicrous” with “Wow, how do you really feel about that?” In response: don’t ask me. You probably don’t have that much time)

Anywho, I got a response:

I’ll take you up on it. Can you point me to anything that documents a comprehensive Catholic strategy against abortion? I have always thought pro-lifers are too “all-in” on the Roe v. Wade thing (Though I’d vote against it eagerly if I had the chance) at the expense of a more balanced strategy. I’d like to see some thought about the most effective balance of social, economic, political, and theological things faithful Catholics can do to fight for the unborn?

So, in typical “me” fashion, I swiftly wrote a very wordy response…mostly. 

Needing to do a little research, I got distracted for about a month and a half, until I remembered what I’d been about and went back to finish. So, here’s my response. Considering the time lapse between the beginning and the end, feel free to ask me for clarifications. 🙂

——————————————-

I definitely see your point on being “too ‘all-in’ on the Roe v. Wade thing.” To clarify, I’m not actually too preoccupied with over-turning Roe v. Wade. Would I if I could? Sure…but that’s not my end goal. My end goal is to abolish human abortion by making it unthinkable. The battle is won not merely with laws – the battle is won when hearts are convicted of the truth that every human life has an intrinsic value. Overturning Roe won’t necessarily accomplish that. So – where do we fight? In the culture. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that she teaches us to engage the culture, and to win it back for Christ.

Based on the fact that America just re-elected the most pro-abortion president in our history, a man who, in fact, campaigned on abortion, a more balanced approach to addressing this issue with many Catholics is indeed called for.

Social – we need to be bold in reclaiming the discussion in the culture about abortion. Over and over I am astonished with what people do NOT know about abortion itself, whether they consider themselves pro-life or pro-abortion, or the completely nonsensical “pro-choice”. Everybody assumes everybody else knows what they mean. Re-start the conversation: don’t just let abortion advocates use their standard words or arguments, question everything.
    • Example: one of the biggest mistakes pro-lifers make is perpetuating the term “pro-choice.” That term is a load of garbage. Question it. “What choice are you talking about? What IS abortion? What do you think it does, exactly?”
    • Another example: most people have no clue how late abortions actually occur. I asked that question in a class once and had someone say they thought only in the first trimester. 
        • Okay, first of all: “Only” in the first trimester already destroys a baby who has a heartbeat, brainwaves, all body systems functioning, and the Juno-famous-fingernails. 
        • But abortions, in fact, can occur in the United States up until the day of delivery. Different states have different laws, but it is possible for a woman to obtain an abortion throughout her entire pregnancy. People need to know that. And they won’t, until we tell them.
    • To have these conversations with more confidence, we need to begin familiarizing ourselves with the tactics of the pro-abortion side. A couple of good fact-finders to follow: Live Action, LifeNews, or LifeSiteNews. They’re good at tracking and (and untangling) the numbers Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion advocates put out, so pro-lifers can be ready to respond.
    • Example: Planned Parenthood is known for skewing numbers and twisting truth. When they say, for example, that 3% of Planned Parenthood’s income is abortion, we shouldn’t just accept that. 
        • Our first reaction should be: “ONLY 3%? How much would be enough for you to be bothered by the fact that they make money by selling abortion to women who are so desperate they think they have no choice but to have their own baby killed?” 
        • Our second reaction should be: “Is it even actually 3%?” (Spoiler alert: it isn’t. Surprise, surprise. If you’d like, you can see a good breakdown.) 
    • To re-iterate: don’t let abortion advocates control the rhetoric any longer. The line in the sand is life or death – we have to make sure our language reflects that. BUT, we also must be sure we give the information in a charitable, calm, comprehensive way. Slamming people with the truth will not often cause conversions. Not every soul is as sturdy as St. Paul, we can’t (unfortunately for impatient redheads like myself) cause overnight conversions by knocking people off their horses. 

Often people are coming from a place of deep hurt, and sharing the truth with compassion, gentleness, conviction, and out of concern is more effective.

Economic – if abortion is going to be unthinkable, then we need to get people actually thinking about it again. Pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood have sunk their roots so deep into society that often it feels like they’re “everywhere”. 
    • There are groups who have taken the time to list companies who regularly give/partner to Planned Parenthood on a boycott list. Click here for an article on how to get the list, and some information on how the list works
    • But don’t just boycott – tell them you’re boycotting. I understand not everybody feels they can avoid every single one of these companies 100% of the time. But I do encourage you to at least pick a few, have a letter/email/phone speech prepared, and start letting them know every time you don’t patronize the business. And let your friends know why you’re not going. When they start getting the feedback consistently, they will begin to reconsider. Companies don’t often persist in partnering with things their consumer base considers culturally unacceptable. We need to make sure they know we’re not okay with them giving to abortion providers. 
    • On the flip side, it’s good to be aware that many pro-life organizations barely make it financially. God always provides, but He typically seems to like using His people to do it. Look around for a solid pro-life action group, maternal assistance program, your church’s Gabriel Project, or life-affirming business to financially support. Maybe even send letters to their competitors letting them know who you’re supporting and why. 
    • One great example of this is the Komen/Planned Parenthood fiasco. For more information on that, check out http://www.plannedbullyhood.com/. When we want to support a cause, like breast cancer awareness, there are organizations who are free of abortion provider ties, you just have to look (or know who to ask!) For instance: http://www.theibcnetwork.org/.
    • Finally, there are serious economic ramifications of abortion which most people either do not take the time to consider, or have seriously misunderstood. We need to brush up on that information and be ready to share it as well: http://www.movementforabetteramerica.org/economicimpact.html

Political – whew. This is the work that never seems to be done. The SBA List sent an email the day after the election stating they believe Romney failed to win over a larger base because he focused on economic issues, instead of taking a firmer stance on issues such as abortion. This is a sound opinion based just on my own experience, I know of MANY pro-lifers who refused to vote AT ALL because of the way Romney handled it. I definitely disagree with the choice not to vote, and as one bishop I know put it: “The moral teaching of the Church is that when we are confronted with two evils and our failure to act would result in great harm to ourselves or others, we must choose the lesser of the two evils.”
    • However, this refusal to vote is a good reminder that we need to get active with our politicians, telling them again and again until it sinks in that a 100% pro-life stance is needed. To quote Marjorie Dannenfelser of the SBA List: “Polling this cycle and historical voting trends show that the pro-life issue isn’t only the right thing to do, but it is the winning thing to do politically. I’m afraid Mitt Romney and his team failed to recognize this. We will need to work on this too.”
    • We as Catholics especially have a serious responsibility to take a firm stand on the Life issues. Abortion is NOT one issue among many issues. Abortion is THE issue. A truly heroic soul, Rich May, gave countless presentations on the importance of this in Catholic social teaching throughout our own Archdiocese in the months leading up to the election. If you want more information from Rich, email me or comment. I’m sure he’d love to help out with clarifying this.

Theological – easy one. I found three pieces of counsel on this one:
    • “A soul arms itself by prayer for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray…There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer.” -St. Faustina
    • “He who prays most receives most.” -St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
    • “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” -St. Augustine

In other words:
    • Pray.
    • Pray More.
    • Pray Harder…and then get to work.

Work in our parish Respect Life groups, supporting them and our Archdiocesan Respect Life activities, and immersing ourselves in the solid formation the Church offers those seeking to form their hearts and consciences in Truth.

And here again we have a tremendous advantage as Catholics: Church teaching. For example: papal encyclicals. I always feel like there’s a little knife in my gut that twists when a Catholic tells me they’ve never read Humanae Vitae. Of course, I only read it less than two years ago, but it was a game-changer. People need to take in the tremendous beauty of that truth, soak it up…and then pass it on.

And then pray hard some more.

If you really read all that and made it this far – you deserve a smile. Look, here:


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