prolife

5 Tips to Help Contact Your Elected Reps

Writing your elected officials is important because it allows you to explain how a particular issue affects you and to express your support or opposition to a proposed law, policy, or course of action. It provides accountability for the elected officials so that they know their constituents are aware of what they are doing and have a genuine interest in how they do their jobs. Here are five easy tips to help you contact your elected official.

(1) Be brief.

Elected officials are busy and get a lot of letters and emails. The best way to make sure your letter gets read is to keep it short and to the point. If at all possible, stick to one issue per letter.

(2) Be clear.

Identify yourself and any relevant organization with which you are affiliated. State whether they are your representative.

State your position up front and what you would like him or her to do; don’t make them guess what you are trying to say. letter_writingExplain what your understanding of the issue is.  If you are writing about pending legislation, be sure to include the bill or resolution number so they know to what you are referring.

Explain why the issue is important to you and how it will impact you, your family and friends, and your community. Support your position with facts as much as possible. Avoid “I believe” or “I feel” statements. If you are writing in opposition to legislation, offer an alternative course of action if possible.

(3) Be accurate.

Proofread your letter or email before you send it. Make sure you have their correct title and address, whether postal or email.  Include a way for them to write back or reply to you.

(4) Be timely.

The best times to contact your representatives are just before an election, just before an important vote, before or during a budget process, or immediately after the representative has done something you approve or disapprove of.

It does no good to send an email or letter after a vote has already taken place. Stay up-to-date on relevant legislation. The NCHLA has relevant Action Alerts as do local bishops conferences such as the Missouri Catholic Conference. Most also allow you to receive email notifications when action is needed, so sign up.

(5) Be grateful.

If at all possible, thank your representative for any past support in your letter.

Also, be sure to follow up, particularly if he or she takes the position you wanted. Regardless of whether your letter changed his or her mind, letters of appreciation go a long way in encouraging him or her to take a similar stance in the future.

Why We March

March for Life participants make their way up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building Jan. 25. The pro-life demonstration marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the nation. (CNS photo /Bob Roller) (Jan. 25, 2012) See MARCH-COLOR and MARCH-SPEECHES Jan. 25, 2013.

For the past 43 years, thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. on January 22 from across our nation to participate in the March for Life. People drive from two hours away and people ride buses for 14 hours. They will brave the elements to walk two miles from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Supreme Court. They will offer prayers. They will speak with our elected representatives.

Today will be no different.

Why?

We march because babies are dying of abortion every day. In the U.S., there are over 3,300 abortions performed each day on average. In comparison, there are approximately 44 homicides in the U.S. each day.

We march because we are missing our potential siblings, cousins, peers, teachers, coaches, and spouses. Abortion takes away a person who would have made a difference in someone’s life.

We march because we cannot pretend to be ignorant to what is happening in abortion facilities, including what has been revealed in the Center for Medical Progress videos.

We march because women are being hurt physically and emotionally from abortion.

We march because every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and has an inherent dignity from the moment of conception.

We march because abortion is not women’s health care.

We march because women deserve better than abortion….and so do men.

We march because we can change the hearts and minds of others in our country to respect all human life.

We march because we are the survivors of abortion. As survivors, we have an obligation to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves.

We march because every person matters.

For live coverage of the Generation Life pilgrimage to the March for Life sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis, visit genlifestl365.com or follow @GenLifeStl on Twitter.

Nine Days for Life

usccb-9-days-round-logo-gry-crcle-orgNext Friday, January 22, will mark 43 years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in our country at all stages of pregnancy. Since then, an estimated 58.5 million babies have been killed by abortion. Join us in nine days of prayer in a very particular way for an end to abortion starting on January 16 and ending on January 24. Prayers, reflections, and action suggestions are sent to you daily.

What’s With Nine Days?

The number “nine” recalls the nine days of prayer of the Apostles who gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem after Christ’s Ascension and before the coming of the Holy Spirit. This first “novena” was commanded by Christ who told them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father. (Acts 1:4)

By the seventh century, the Church kept a nine-day period of special prayer to prepare for Christmas. These nine days were symbolic of the nine months during which Mary carried Jesus in her womb.

We pray for nine days with a particular intention in mind because we hopefully anticipate an answer to our petition. The steadfastness to one particular prayer intention awakens in us an even greater desire for that intention and is a witness of our faith in God’s power.

Why Should I Join?

We know that prayer has much power to overcome great evils. Jesus Christ told his disciples that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) We can spiritually join together by uniting our prayers together during these nine days. Uniting together in prayer is really a mark of the universality of our faith.

Joining also helps you to remember to pray every day for an end to abortion! It can be easy to forget when you are busy with school, work, and daily activities. Having a reminder pop up in your email or on your phone is a great way to reinforce the commitment you have made – and it will hopefully start a new habit of prayer!

How To Join

Participating is easy. You can either download the app, join by text message, sign up for daily emails, or access the prayers and reflections online.

Make the time to join in this simple prayer and be amazed at what God can do through you!

How to Pray for an End to Abortion

John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York from 1984 until his death in 2000, was a long-time pro-life advocate. As he was praying to understand why efforts in the pro-life cause were not garnering the expected results, he came upon the Scripture passage: “This kind of demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Cardinal O’Connor realized the need to return to these spiritual weapons to root out the forces seeking to destroy life. Prayer remains critical to ending Planned Parenthood’s atrocities in our nation.

Power of Prayer

Prayer is the most important weapon we have to end abortion; we cannot underestimate the power prayer has. We see the example of Jesus in the Gospels who regularly prayed to the Father, particularly before his baptism and Transfiguration and before his prayerPassion. In prayer, we engage in a profound dialogue with God, uniting our will with His will. We place our trust in God, who knows us intimately and loves us beyond our comprehension.

Yet, it can sometimes feel ineffective against the tragedies we see in the CMP videos. It is easy to measure the effectiveness of prayer in earthly terms so that when we see another young woman entering a Planned Parenthood clinic, we feel defeated. However, we may be unaware of the effects our prayer truly has; there are countless stories of women choosing life for their child because of prayers that were offered for them, even if they didn’t know they were being prayed for at the time. Truly, we will not know the extent of how we have helped to save lives through prayer in this life.

“Teach Us to Pray”

So how can we be prayer warriors?

First, we can follow the directives of Jesus, who, when asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, told them the parable of the friend who asks at midnight for three loaves of bread. Jesus tells them, “If he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” (Luke 11:8) Jesus goes on to tell the disciples:

And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be open. (Luke 11:9-10)

We learn from Jesus that we must not become discouraged but rather be persistent in prayer. We know, in faith, that God grants what is good for us and if cannot answer us, it, too, is for our benefit.

For what shall we pray? We can pray to intercede for those who are at risk of abortion, the parents who are contemplating abortion, and those who work in the abortion industry. Numerous prayer resources for the cause of life are available. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat offers many pro-life prayers for individual or group settings.

Finally, borrowing from Nike: Just do it! Make time for prayer. Don’t get so caught up in “doing it right” that you don’t do it at all.

5 Important Abortion Stats

There is a lot of rhetoric about how many women obtain abortions but let’s take a moment to take a look at the actual statistics.

(1) Since 1973, an estimated 58,500,000 babies have been aborted in our country.

In the US this year, there will be over 1 million abortions. Planned Parenthood will perform approximately a third of those abortions, making it the largest abortion provider in the country. (Life Matters) The U.S. has the highest abortion rate among developed nations. (Guttmacher Institute)

black-baby(2) Abortion disproportionately impacts the African American population.

According to data compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, the abortion rate and abortion ratio were the highest for the African American population.

For every 1,000 African American women, there were 24.6 abortions obtained (referred to as the abortion rate). In comparison, for every 1,000 Caucasian women, there were 7.1 abortions obtained. Thus, the abortion rate was 246% higher for African American women.

For every 1,000 live births by African American women, there were 365 abortions obtained (referred as the abortion ratio). In comparison, for every 1,000 live births by Caucasian women, there were 114 abortions obtained. Thus the abortion ratio was 220% higher for African American women.

(3) Abortions are most frequently obtained by women 29 and younger.

Women in their 20’s account for more than half of all abortions: 33% of all abortions are obtained by women aged 20-24; 24% of all abortions are obtained by women aged 25-29. Teenagers obtain 18% of all abortions in the country. (Guttmacher Institute, Fact Sheet, July 2014)

(4) Approximately 21% of all pregnancies end in abortion.

(Guttmacher Institute, Fact Sheet, July 2014)

(5) According to the Guttmacher Institute, the reasons given for having an abortion were:

  • Responsibility to other individuals (75%)
  • Cannot afford a child (75%)
  • Having a child would interfere with work, school, or ability to care for other children (75%)
  • Do not want to be a single parent or having problems with their partner (50%)

Does Planned Parenthood Provide Health Care?

Planned Parenthood says that it is “America’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care.” It claims to provide a wide range of safe health care options for women including offering contraception, reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood states that caring physicians, nurse practitioners, and other staff take time to speak with clients about their health concerns. But what does Planned Parenthood actually do?

Primary Care Services

Only a mere handful of Planned Parenthood clinics actually provide primary care services. According to Planned Parenthood’s own statistics, 0.37% of its customers received family practice services (primary care) in 2012. Moreover, unless a woman is getting an abortion, most never see a physician.

4058808950_77cc4e8618_oPlanned Parenthood’s reported adoption referrals has been at a ratio of 1 adoption referral to 201 abortions performed. From 2009 to 2013, Planned Parenthood has cut its prenatal services by more than 50%.  According to analysis by Americans United for Life, Planned Parenthood has decreased its prenatal services/ clients by an estimated 70% under Cecile Richards’ leadership. In 2013, abortions accounted for over 98% of Planned Parenthood’s”pregnancy-related services” (defined to include abortion, adoption referrals, and prenatal services).

Contraceptive Services

Planned Parenthood brags about how it reduces the spread of STIs and unintended pregnancies by offering free contraception. What many don’t know, however, is that these free condoms offered by Planned Parenthood received poor ratings from Consumer Reports in 2005.

Planned Parenthood also fails to explain to its clients that contraceptives work, at least some of the time, by killing a new human being.

Cancer Screening

Planned Parenthood and its supports have long claimed to provide mammograms. In her September 29, 2015 Congressional testimony, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards clearly stated that none of its affiliates, in fact, offer mammograms or have mammogram machines in its clinics.

Indeed, under Richards’ leadership, Planned Parenthood’s cancer screening, including breast cancer screenings have been cut by more than 50%, from over 2 million in 2006 to approximately 935,000 in 2013.

So What Does Planned Parenthood Do?

Instead of being focused on providing health care to women, Planned Parenthood has strategically sought to increase the number of abortions it performs. From 2005 to 2011, Planned Parenthood has gone from performing one out of every five abortions in the U.S. in a year to nearly one out of every three abortions. Planned Parenthood performs nearly 900 abortions every single day in our country.

Planned Parenthood is not a health care organization.

Hope and Mercy Beyond a Single Year

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matt. 5:6

Tuesday, September 1, brought us the ninth video from Center for Medical Progress, this time revealing a decade-long relationship between some Planned Parenthood affiliates with tissue procurement companies and more revelations about how Planned Parenthood received financial benefits from these arrangements. Most of us are probably sickened every time new revelations are made, and rightly so, when we consider the callousness with which people are discussing pregnant women and babies in the womb.

For some individuals, however, these videos may bring forth even greater angst because they touch on something very personal – a poignant reminder of their abortion. Imagine having to wonder if your baby ended up being dissected and sold or was discarded in a dumpster. It can be easy to be consumed by feelings of regret, shame, anger, and sadness.

perryville_oym_20140610_9137-300x200Hope exists, however. It comes in the merciful forgiveness of God. There is no sin so great that God cannot forgive if we but ask. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest, acting with the authority of Christ and the Church, is able to forgive sins, washing us clean. The Sacrament allows us to be reconciled with God and with the Church, offering peace and consolation.

Mercy, in a Christian understanding, should not be merely a passive reception; rather, we are called to be merciful to others. Think of the parable of the unmerciful debtor who, after having his debt forgiven in full, treated his own servant in the opposite manner. (cf. Matt. 18:21-35) As we have been shown great mercy by God who forgives us our sins, whatever they may be, so too should we treat others.

Statistics indicate that one in three women will have an abortion by age 45. For every child lost to abortion, there is also a father involved. Chances are that you will at some point encounter someone who has been directly impacted by an abortion. We should always be mindful of speaking about abortion and those involved in the abortion industry with charity as Christ would. Our ultimate goal should always be the salvation of souls. Our actions and words should reflect that. While we should not condone or participate in sinful action, we must always be compassionate to the people involved.

This is particularly true when we consider the issue of abortion. Statements like “I would never have an abortion” said in a moment of haste can do much to keep someone from seeking forgiveness and healing. Instead of talking about ourselves, we should focus what others need; particularly, compassion, love, and forgiveness. We don’t need to deny the truth of what abortion is, but we should be sensitive and charitable. We should offer resources to men and women who may have been affected by abortion.

Besides the Sacrament of Reconciliation, there are so many free resources available in our Archdiocese for those who have been impacted by an abortion. In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Project Rachel (for women) and Project Joseph (for men) both offer free, confidential, and professional counseling sessions. Monthly support groups provide a safe place to share your struggles with others who are in a similar situation. Day-long and weekend retreats are offered for a deeper, prayerful healing experience. These resources are available to anyone, regardless of their faith tradition or how long it has been since the abortion occurred. Hope, healing, and forgiveness are available. Simply call 314-792-7565 or email projectrachel@archstl.org. National help is available by visiting hopeafterabortion.com or by calling 1-888-456-HOPE (4673).

Let us pray that all men and women who have been affected by an abortion may have the courage to confidently turn to the Lord for mercy and healing now, and for many years in the future.

The uneditted version of this post, by Stephanie To, first appeared in the Virtual Vestibule, the blog of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, on September 3, 2015. 

5 Things You Won’t Believe Margaret Sanger Said

Bio_Mini-Bios_Margaret-Sanger_SF_HD_768x432-16x9Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood with the intention of limiting births among those she considered unfit, including those who had physical or mental disabilities, African Americans, the poor, among others. Many would be surprised by some of the things Sanger wrote and said during her lifetime. Here are just a few quotes:

(1) “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin – that people can – can commit.”

Sanger said this in 1957 in an interview with Mike Wallace. The transcript of the interview is available here.

(2) Sanger deplored provision of assistance to women in slums to help with pregnancy and child-bearing, writing that it “encourages the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.” (The Pivot of Civilization, p. 34)

(3) “Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.” (Woman and the New Race, p. 82)

images(4) “Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods.” (“Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” published in 1919)

(5) “There is no doubt that women are apt to look upon abortion as of little consequence and to treat it accordingly. An abortion is an important a matter as a confinement and requires as much attention as the birth of a child at its full term…In plain everyday language, in an abortion there is always a very serious risk to the health and often to the life of the patient.”

Surprisingly, Sanger fully appreciated the dangers of abortion to the woman, as demonstrated in this short quote from her article “Birth Control or Abortion?” published in 1918. While there have been advanced in medical care since 1918, abortion remains a major medical procedure with the risk of serious, even fatal, complications.

Why We Need to Stop Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is the largest and oldest abortion business in America. It was founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger to promote eugenics through “selective breeding” so that only those who are deemed “fit” to reproduce would have children. Indeed, in a televised interview in 1957, Sanger stated, “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have diseases from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born.”

Planned Parenthood Is the Single Largest Abortion Provide in the US

From its founding by Sanger, Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. It has over 80 affiliates, with over 700 facilities across the country. Over 40% of Planned Parenthood facilities perform surgical or chemical abortions; those that do not perform abortions themselves refer women to nearby Planned Parenthood facilities that do perform abortions. Since 2004, Planned Parenthood “mega-centers” have opened in at least 19 cities in 14 states, with each of these mega-centers performing abortions, many of them open at least six days a week.

Approximately one out of every four abortions in America is performed at Planned Parenthood. In 2013, Planned Parenthood performed a whopping 327,653 abortions. Since 1970, Planned Parenthood has aborted more than 6 million babies.

Planned Parenthood Is Not Focused on Helping Women or Girls

plannedparenthoodtxUnfortunately, child sexual abuse, especially of young girls, is a huge problem. Instead of truly assisting women and girls being abused by helping them get away from their abusers, investigations have shown that Planned Parenthood facilitates the sexual exploitation of girls and women. By law, medical professionals are obligated to report situations where rape or statutory rape are suspected. However, Planned Parenthood staff repeatedly helped facilitate secret abortions for minor girls, encouraging them to lie.

The reason why Planned Parenthood isn’t interested in reporting cases of rape or sexual abuse? They stand to lose substantial income. With abortions costing from $300 to over $900, Planned Parenthood derives significant income from every abortion it performs.

Moreover, Planned Parenthood has vigorously fought even common-sense laws to protect the safety and welfare of the girls and women about whom it claims to care so much.

Planned Parenthood Spends Millions Lobbying Its Pro-Abortion Interests

In 2014, Planned Parenthood and its affiliates spent over $1.63 million in direct lobbying. Additionally, its affiliates spent $33.6 million in public policy efforts and its national office spent $18.7 million in building advocacy capacity according to its 2013-2014 Annual Report. In the same report, President Cecile Richards and Chair Alexis McGill Johnson touts: “Our advocacy work is unparalleled; we never stop fighting to protect access to safe and legal abortion and to advance women’s health, with Planned Parenthood organizations actively lobbying in state legislatures.” Planned Parenthood works hard to protect its business interest: abortions.