How Catholics Harm The Pro-Life Cause
& What Can Be Done
Using The Blessed Virgin As Our Guide
By Mary P.T.
Summary: How even solidly & unquestionably pro-life Catholics hurt
the pro-life cause and what can be done
Pro-Life, Pro-Life Culture,
Pro-Life Efforts, 'Pro-Choice', Anti-Life Culture, Abortion,
Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outside of Marriage, Unwed Mothers,
Fornication, Mothers, Motherhood, Fathers, Fatherhood, Unwed
Mothers, 'Single Mothers', 'Single Parent', Working Women,
Virginity, Abstinence, Marriage, Wedlock, Holy Matrimony, Purpose
of Marriage, Parenting, Gender Roles, Infants, Baby, Babies,
Unborn, Adoption, Illegitimate, Legitimization, Errors, Mistakes,
Solutions, Sin, Shame, Fear of the Lord, Hard Truths, Activism,
Activists, Procreation, Contraception, Contraceptives, Church
Teachings, Family Size, Life, Eternal Life, Blessed Virgin Mary,
Guide, Role Model, Standard
In my opinion, many Catholics - even those who are
solidly and unquestionably pro-life - hurt the pro-life cause. They
don't mean to, but they nevertheless do certain things that advance the
pro-death culture. The good news is that the situation can be changed.
The bad news is that many people will be offended by what I write.
Nevertheless, I beg of you to read on as I think we need an honest
discussion about some things. If nothing else, a reality check is past
due. Or maybe a bit of perspective.
Please note that I am not acquitting myself or
holding myself out as "better than thou". I have much work of my own to
do. Some things I have changed, others I need to work on. Please don't
be distracted with assigning guilt or making excuses or defending your
own (or another's) actions. Let's place truth as our number one priority
here... sorry in advance for any hurt feelings. Please though do put
that aside in order to consider whether or not what is said is true.
Please let truth be your overriding concern.
Also, before I get too far, please keep in mind
that I am NOT advocating that we curtail pro-life efforts (if anything
they need to be expanded, but rightly so). I pray daily for the unborn,
part of my phone bill goes to prevent abortion, I have graphic
anti-abortion cards to hand out, I speak out for the pro-life cause when
I have the opportunity, and so forth. I am solidly pro-life and I
certainly keep this in mind when I vote. So, please do not write me off.
Please try to understand what I am really getting at.
Further, I would like to point out that I may
speak in generalities - referring to average men and women of today (not
necessarily you personally) - and when it comes to abortion recipients I
am mainly focusing on largest sector of abortion recipients - younger,
unmarried women & teenagers. For other groups (e.g. lawfully married
women), some but not all things will apply.
In this article, I will make two main points:
1-Most Americans contribute to an anti-life
culture - even if they consider themselves "pro-life".
2-Pro-life efforts are in some ways harmful &
misguided and may be too narrowly focused on earthy life to the neglect
of true life (eternal life).
I will start with a little challenge, then I will
mention some things I think the pro-life side does that are harmful,
then I will end with a short discussion of what I think needs to be
done. I implore you to please read all the way through, again without
focusing on blame, excuses, getting defensive, and so forth.
The Challenge: So you think you're pro-life? How
pro-life are you really?
* Do you limit your own
family size to 2-3 children?
* If you were lawfully
married and found out that child number 12 was on the way, would you be
* Do you consider the "limit"
to your family size to be determined by yourself or by God?
* Have you ever told anyone
you are "done" having children? Have you ever asked anyone else if they
were "done" having children?
* Do you consider more
children as a burden or a blessing?
* Have you ever looked down
upon someone who has a large family?
* Do you consider your family
size to be naturally limited by the number of rooms in your home? The
number of seats in your car?
* Have you clearly taught and
reinforced to your children that the primary purpose of marriage is the
procreation and education of children? Do you believe it yourself? Did
you even know this was the primary purpose of marriage?
* Do you insist that your
children evaluate their choice of friends of the opposite sex with
regard to their suitability for marriage or are their associations
simply based on who is 'cute' or based on fleeting 'feelings'?
* Do you raise your children
to be career oriented or is parenthood given top billing?
* Do you accept or fight
against the God-assigned roles for the sexes - e.g. obedience for women,
bread-winner for man? (Eph. 5:22-24, Gen. 3:17-19) Do you allow the man
of the family to look like a "TV dad" (e.g. a fool)? Does the woman "run
the show", contrary to Divine mandate (1 Cor. 11:3)?
* If you are a wife and
someone asks you what you do, do you say you are a mother or do you
mention some job title?
* If you are a husband and
someone asks what your wife does, are you proud to say she's a "full
time mother" or do you give highlights from her resume?
* Do you watch television
shows where they glamorize "single working mothers"? Do you allow your
children to watch them?
* Do you train your children
to be good fathers and mothers from a young age? How much effort do you
devote to this and how often?
* Have you ever asked a young
girl what she wants to "be" when she grows up? Do you praise girls who
aspire to lofty sounding careers? Please let's face facts. The bible
says that supporting the family is the man's job and that women are
saved through motherhood (Gen. 3:17-19, 1 Tm. 2:15). Furthermore, if a
married woman is healthy & fertile she should regularly be pregnant
which makes a career an unviable option. It's not fair to her, her
children, her husband, or to her employer for her to hold a full time
job and also try to be a full time mother at the same time. Children
can't wait until after 5 p.m. and employers can't allow weeks off every
nine months. And, most likely, by the time a woman has a certain number
of children it wouldn't make economic sense for her to continue working.
Therefore, most working women must artificially limit their family size
by contraceptives, NFP, abortion or a combination of things - they
sacrifice part of their family for their career. They do this even if
they consider themselves "pro-life." So, if you ask a girl what she
wants to "be" when she grows up you are helping to foster this
mentality. A woman simply can't have a large family and a career. It
just can't work. It's not possible. Days will continue to be 24 hours.
Children will continue to have many needs. Employers will continue to
demand a certain number of hours. There's just not enough time in a day
for everything, especially if a woman has many children. By accepting
and continuing in a career, a woman must necessarily limit her family
size. Therefore, why encourage your daughter who will (presumably) marry
to "be" anything other than a mother (assuming, of course, she doesn't
have a religious vocation)? If you do, you are implicitly encouraging
her to artificially limit her family size - to sacrifice her children
for a job. And this is "pro-life"?
* Women: Do you raise your
own children full time or do you pay caregivers to take care of them?
* Women: If you raise your
children full time, do you feel the need to explain this to others or
almost apologize for it?
* Do you promote education
for girls aimed at careers (e.g. advanced degrees)?
* Are you indignant - or
pleased - if a man makes more money because he has a family to support?
* Do you define success in
terms of parenting or in terms of your resume?
* Do you keep guard over your
daughter's purity, making sure all her clothing is modest and feminine?
* Women: Do you value your
femininity and dress modestly and femininely? Do you reject pants and
short hair? Would you prefer to look like a "sex object" or a mother?
Have you had plastic surgery? Do you dye your hair, wear high heels,
heavy makeup and revealing clothes? Are you "obsessed" over a few extra
pounds? Why is it that you'd rather be viewed as an object of lust than
as a modest mother like the Blessed Virgin Mary?
* Is your standard of womanly
beauty more conformed to immorality, "sleaze", and immodesty than
* Have you ever used
contraception? Did you know that artificial contraceptives - besides
being illicit - may be abortifacient and may lead to abortions?
* Even if you have not used
contraceptives, have you ever used NFP with a "contraceptive mentality"?
* Did you start your family
late in life? On purpose?
* Is your home affected by
broken families? Pregnancies outside of marriage?
* Do you reject as
inappropriate for women various activities traditionally reserved to men
(e.g. sports, military)?
* Do you present the Blessed
Virgin Mary as the proper ideal for women or do you look to some
celebrity, feminist, or career woman as the ideal?
* Do you keep strict watch
over your children so that there is no opportunity for them to engage in
inappropriate relations with those of the opposite sex?
* Have you in any way
encouraged or supported in vitro fertilization? Did you know that many
tiny children die as a result of this procedure?
* How much do you support the
anti-life "single mother" culture? Do you congratulate fornicating women
on their pregnancies or attend baby showers for unwed mothers? Do you
use the term "single mother" even though there is no such thing as a
"single mother"? (All children require two parents to be conceived.) Do
you fight "single motherhood" as a "lifestyle choice" or promote it? Do
you consider it an aberration? Do you use the term "illegitimate" to
refer to children conceived outside of marriage (and therefore conceived
outside the law)? Do you consider the intimate actions of unwed mothers
* Do you use proper terms
regarding out of wedlock pregnancy (e.g. fornication) or do you
contribute to covering over the shame of such situations by being
"overly tolerant"? (Remember that shame teaches a lesson to them & to
others and serves to prevent future occurrences - there SHOULD BE a
stigma attached to this behavior, plus the Bible tells us to admonish &
rebuke one another - see Lk. 17:3, Rom. 15:14, Col. 3:16). So do you
praise unwed mothers? Would you not consider it a disgrace to your
family if an unmarried family member become pregnant or got someone else
* How much do you value
motherhood? Fatherhood? REALLY value them? Do your day to day actions
demonstrate the truth of this or do other things get in the way?
When you consider your answers to the above, do
you see any ways in which you contribute to the anti-life culture? If
so, you are not alone. Many staunchly pro-life persons unwittingly
contribute to an anti-life culture. These things may not be so clearly
anti-life as killing a baby directly, but they still add up to build the
culture which fosters the killing of children. If the culture didn't
exist, there wouldn't be the killing. The good news is you can change.
If you, by chance, are not yet convinced that the
above practices help build an anti-life culture, ask yourself: How many
abortions do you think there would be if all families accepted as many
children as God sent and if each child was welcomed with joy. If
everyone accepted that family size was solely determined by God. If all
women were as "proud as punch" to be called mothers and never wanted to
be seen in terms of wage-earning. If society valued women's
contributions through motherhood rather than valuing women based on her
appearance or her ability to earn wages. If children were taught from a
young age that the primary purpose of marriage was to procreate and
educate children. If all children were carefully taught from a young age
how to be good parents. If all mothers raised their children full time
and considered their success in terms of motherhood. If mothers and
fathers welcomed with joy many children. If all persons looked to the
Blessed Virgin Mary as a guide. If all mothers looked and behaved
modestly & femininely. If all parents kept strict watch over their
children so that they could not engage in inappropriate relations.
Probably if this was the case there would be very few abortions. And, it
wouldn't even require that the laws be changed.
Next, to move on to what I see as the second part
of the problem. Namely, I believe various pro-life efforts are in some
ways harmful & misguided. They can be too narrowly focused on earthy
life to the neglect of true life (eternal life). As mentioned earlier, I
am NOT advocating that we curtail pro-life efforts (if anything they
need to be expanded, but rightly so).
Also, I must remind you that I need to speak
frankly here and that I will use generalities. My intent is not to
offend, but to convey truth. Please put aside hurt feelings &
defensiveness for a moment in order to consider the truths of what is
Let's first start with some hard truths (these are
"generally speaking", of course):
* Pregnant unwed mothers are
undisciplined and, if minors, have gone unsupervised
* Pregnant unwed mothers have
fornicated or committed adultery
* Pregnant unwed mothers have
already "victimized" their children by conceiving them illegitimately
* Pregnant unwed mothers
seeking an abortion are either ignorant (if they don't know it's a baby)
or they don't care about killing their own child (if they did care -
REALLY care - they wouldn't do it, regardless of any other reason or
* Pregnant mothers seeking
abortion are not thinking about (or not thinking rightly about) God,
* Every pregnant girl is
someone's daughter. Such a girl may have been raised by a "single
mother" or by a married woman who works away from home. In any event,
her parents have failed to properly supervise her if she had the
opportunity to conceive a child outside of marriage ("Better
a...frightened daughter than any disgrace" as Scripture says -- see
Sirach 42:14 NAB Trans.). The girl is also likely to have invited the
promiscuous behavior by dressing immodestly - most likely with the full
knowledge of her parents (who probably paid for the immodest clothing).
* Pregnant unwed mothers hurt
the common good by burdening society with huge societal and financial
* The onslaught of pregnant
unwed mothers devalues life (which, besides encouraging abortion, also
Next, I realize that pro-lifers have to be tactful
and must be careful how they treat those they come in contact with.
Nevertheless, that does not give them a "free pass."
I find that pro-lifers seem to have myopic vision.
They have only two goals: change the law and prevent abortions. They
don't seem to fully appreciate that the law isn't what "causes" the
abortion but rather what facilitates it. If no girl wanted an abortion,
it "wouldn't matter" what the law was. Also, they don't seem to care who
raises the child - as long as it lives. They don't care if the child
will be "destined for heaven or hell" - as long as the child lives. They
don't care if the mother repents of her mortal sin - only that she
doesn't go forward with her evil plans. And finally, they treat the
mother who doesn't have an abortion almost as if she was a "saint"
simply because she "chooses" not to kill her child.
Of course their goal is good - saving children.
But that is only step one. In the long run, what good did it serve the
child if it's earthly life was spared but it ended up in hell? It is not
sufficient for the child merely to live out an earthly life - it is
imperative to also provide the child the best chance for eternal life.
Often, children saved from abortion are kept in environments not
conducive to the good of their eternal souls (e.g. in the hands of
selfish, fornicating, irreligious, over-worked women who have scorned
marriage). Therefore, there is a very real danger that these children
may live out a few decades on earth only to pile up sins and spend their
eternity in hell.
I also believe that focusing only on step one will
serve to foster more abortions in the future because the root cause of
the problem is not solved and because certain persons are "set up" to
repeat the same sins (e.g. children of these immature, fornicating
mothers may be predisposed to commit the same sins as they may tend to
be unsupervised & undisciplined). Instead, we need to shift the pro-life
goal from ending abortion through the law, or at the very last moment
(i.e. when the abortion minded woman is at the clinic) to making it so
all children are conceived inside of lawful matrimony, with any unwanted
children being adopted. This will naturally end abortion.
I believe other problems with today's pro-life
effort's include the following:
* There is no expressed shame
in many pro-life circles regarding pregnancy outside of marriage (if
there was great shame with this situation as there should be, women
would be more concerned about not getting themselves in this predicament
in the first place - you could say that shame would be a "natural
regulator" of their behavior)
* There is lack of sufficient
concern for providing a proper home for a rescued child (everyone
assumes the child will be "fine" with its unwed mother simply because it
gets born, but this is not necessarily the case)
* There is no evident concern
for the sin that caused this situation (the mother's sin is the "white
elephant" that no one seems willing to talk about, however a little
"fear of the Lord" might prevent her from repeating her sin). And, if
the mother does not repent of her sin, she risks her eternal life (1
Cor. 6:9 -10). Still, no one will warn her that she may go to hell for
her fornication (or for the abortion).
* There is little
appreciation for the fact that abortion minded women are poor candidates
for good mothers. Some may "rise to the challenge", but even so they
could surely never equal happily married women who conceive all their
children within the bonds of holy matrimony & welcome them & train them
to be "citizens for heaven" right from the very beginning.
* There seems to be no
concern over the burden unwed fornicating men & women put on society
(e.g. to care for their illegitimate, often undisciplined, children).
Remember that "society" is other people - hard working fathers of
families must pay for their sins.
* There seems to be little
concern that rescued children may be deprived of their father. It is
true that their father may be a "bum", but this does not change the fact
that children need both a father and a mother (e.g. a proper adoptive
* There seems to be ignorance
over what really causes the situation. Remember that laws won't stop
women from wanting abortions, but a change in the culture will help draw
them away from wanting such a horrific "solution" to their problems. In
fact, such a change in the culture would likely stop most women from
committing acts that would cause the creation of children outside of a
proper family that lead them to seek abortion.
* Not enough is done to
promote adoption - at best it as offered as "one of the options". In
fact, it seems as though many feel the unwed mother keeping her child is
a better solution than placing the child up for adoption to a loving two
parent family. Those familiar with the success of adoption know
otherwise. Blood is not important when it comes to matters of the heart.
A child NEEDS two loving parents. It is unfair - even tragic - to
deprive children of that.
* The pro-life effort often
furthers the message that "single-motherhood" is a viable "alternate
lifestyle". There is no mention of the harm such a situation does to
children. Pro-lifers seem to willingly promote situations in which a
child is deprived of a father
* Pro-lifers rarely seem to
put forth much effort to seek the legitimization of children conceived
outside of wedlock. Marrying the child's father is rarely given
importance. (Of course, in many cases it would be better to legitimize
the child through adoption than by marrying the unworthy father.)
* The "over-willingness" of
groups to financially assist, house and feed an unwed mother might
actually be harmful (in fact, a fornicating unwed mother will likely get
more help than an innocent windowed mother). Although help is generally
a good thing, sometimes it might be better if a woman wasn't shielded
quite so much from the consequences of her sinful actions. Certainly,
the unwed mother shouldn't be better off than a widowed mother who is
innocent. Further, smart unmarried girls may see that they can get all
the help they need just by getting pregnant and threatening to abort -
help that they wouldn't have gotten if they weren't pregnant. This may
encourage more unwed mothers. Frankly, in today's "welfare state", an
unwed girl could make a career out of her illegitimate childbearing.
This is wrong.
* There is sometimes given an
ill-advised message by pro-lifers that the baby will "heal" the mother.
But remember that it's not a baby's job to "heal" a mother - it is the
mother's job to provide a proper life for a baby. The mother needs to
heal the child that she wrongly created out of wedlock (e.g. by
legitimizing her child or giving it up for adoption). The child needs a
proper family from day one. It cannot wait around a decade or two for
its mother to "get her act together". The mother will be best "healed"
by Confession and by selflessly looking after the child's best interests
from this point forward (e.g. by placing the child up for adoption to a
* The bad message given to
abortion minded women that "It's not your fault." Of course, the truth
is that it is their fault. Becoming pregnant doesn't just happen. Unless
raped, their pregnancy is a direct result of their choice (i.e. the
choice to engage in intimate relations outside of marriage). Women need
to step up and take responsibility for their sinful choices, not be
given a "free pass" for them. They are not "innocent victims", but
trespassers of God's laws.
* Pro-lifers show little
concern for the fact that abortion minded mothers are probably the
"worst choice" for raising a "citizen of heaven". Not only are they
guilty of the mortal sin of fornication, but they are contemplating
murder. They are immature. They put their own needs above others,
especially their child's. They have shown no self-control. They make bad
choices. They have demonstrated poor morals & values. They apparently
have no regard even for the likelihood of contracting venereal disease.
They show no concern over the salvation of their child (they would kill
the child even without baptism). They apparently have no fear of the
Lord. They seem to have a poor religious formation and would most likely
be unable to provide proper religious instruction to their children.
They are either very ignorant if they don't know they are carrying a
child or quite gullible. Not a great choice for raising a child. Yet,
pro-lifers will encourage these unfit, ill-equipped mothers to raise a
child on their own - even with no father - if that is her choice. Once
again, by raising the child on her own, the selfish mother shows more
concern about herself than the ultimate welfare of her child. She
apparently has no concept of true, sacrificial love (she's only
interested what she wants - the rewards she'll receive from motherhood -
and not really what's best for her child - e.g. to be raised by a
loving, mature two parent family). And, the pro-lifers are complicit in
this by encouraging her to "go it alone". They do not seem to appreciate
that children of these ill-equipped women will be deprived of their
birthright - a father - and may be "predisposed" to repeat the sins of
their parents (this may be furthered by the fact that no parent will be
available to educate or supervise the children since fathers usually
aren't around so mothers have to work full-time). They do not seem to
realize that this unfortunate "single-parent" situation also serves to
aggravate the problem in the long run (it fosters a new generation of
unsupervised girls seeking abortions) or that it jeopardizes souls.
Spiritually, this setup is very dangerous for the eternal life of both
the child and the mother (who will be called to account for her
parenting). To quote Scripture: "For what doth it profit a man, if he
gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?" (Mt. 16:26
* Pro-lifers almost
"canonize" abortion minded women who change their mind. Then, they allow
her to almost wear her "single motherhood" as a badge of honor. In fact,
some use it as sympathy ploy. No one seems ashamed of it.
So, what can be done? First, and foremost begin in
your own home. Stop contributing to an anti-life culture. ALWAYS keep
the Blessed Virgin Mary as your role model and guide. Follow the laws of
the Church. Value parenthood. Dress modestly, act modestly. Base your
standards of success and beauty on interior factors - not careers or
physical appearance. Wholeheartedly reject the "single mother"
lifestyle. Use shame as a tool wherever appropriate. Do not look at
career women as the ideal. Do not train your daughters to become wage
earners. Do not glamorize working mothers (who are really "part time
mothers"). Do not limit your family size. Don't contracept. Women: Be
full-time mothers. Act and dress femininely. Keep strict guard over your
children. Train your sons and daughters to be good mothers and fathers.
Praise other full time mothers (don't insultingly call them "stay at
home" mothers!) and large families. Cherish the God-given roles of
husbands and wives. Women, obey and let your husband take charge. Men,
support and love your family. Again, always use the Blessed Virgin as
* Be less afraid of offending
people and more honest about the realities concerning unwed mothers
(e.g. the shame, the unsuitability to raise their children, the heavy
costs to society, illegitimacy, failed responsibilities, guilt, sin, the
final judgement, etc.)
* Shift away from the
"Band-Aid solution" of making abortion illegal to preventing children
from being conceived by unwed mothers in the first place (e.g. through
* Teach and reinforce the
primary purpose of marriage
* Value virginity highly and
encourage your children to do so. Help them understand that once
virginity is lost, it can never be recovered
* Encourage your children to
be very careful who they choose to marry. Don't permit relationships
between those who are not "marriage material"
* Have and promote a strong
sense of sin and a healthy fear of the Lord
* Fight offensive billboards,
television & radio shows, commercials, movies, etc. which perpetuate the
anti-life culture (e.g. by portraying women as "sex objects",
encouraging sin, glamorizing working women, etc.)
* Watch your own children so
that they can not engage in sinful actions resulting in pregnancy or
invite such actions by their immodest dress
* Promote motherhood and
fatherhood as sacred responsibilities which are entrusted only to
* Courageously & fearlessly
reject the "single working woman" and "career woman" mentalities - take
every opportunity to point out how this harms children - as well as
adults - and perpetuates the problem (remember that such arrangements
leave no parent around full-time for religious education, proper
supervision, etc. and forces even married couples to be closed off to
* End ignorance of things
divine and educate others on Church teachings
* Show more concern about the
environment a child will be raised in. Focus not just on temporal
aspects, but - even more importantly - on spiritual aspects
* Promote adoption to those
who are unmarried and to others who are unfit to raise children. Help
them realize that this is the truly loving thing to do for their
* Have a stronger focus on
heavenly life than earthly life
* Work towards making all
children conceived only within the bonds of lawful matrimony.
* Promote the Blessed Virgin
Mary everywhere as the proper role model for all persons
And, finally, remember that whatever can't be
accomplished by our external actions may be accomplished through
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