“Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19)
Reflection: Do post-abortion healing programs and pro-life activism mix? Countless women and men say yes. Many activists, of course, have had abortions. They speak up for the children they once killed — and that is part of the healing. Many of those in need of healing begin that journey because their conscience is stirred by those who expose the reality of abortion.
Prayer: Lord, you inspire those who have found your healing to carry out your mission. Give fruitfulness to their words and words! Amen.
The Supreme Court could have settled the question of whether federal bureaucrats may issue punishing, perhaps incapacitating, fines to faith-based organizations that refuse to participate in what we believe to be evil. Instead, the justices sent all of the cases in Zubik back to the four federal circuit courts that heard them first. The high court also asked those appeals courts to step away momentarily and give the two sides time to resolve the case on their own.
What will the administration do now? The White House’s latest “accommodation” proposal for religious nonprofit charities, schools and other organizations did not satisfy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The proposal and each of its previous versions required faith-based groups seeking an exemption from the mandate to submit a form to an authority. Without this initiating action, abortion-causing drugs would not be made available to our employees. The basic requirement that we be complicit in the provision of abortifacients and other life-denying drugs, devices and procedures was a part of every government proposal. When we responded that we are forbidden by our faith to take part in this scheme—the government effectively retorted, “So what?
But both sides in Zubik have told the Supreme Court that a solution is theoretically possible.
For instance, the administration could, for once, actually listen to the Zubik petitioners—and to the scores of other faith-based groups that have lawsuits pending in lower courts—and propose a solution that does not hijack our health-insurance plans. The administration could, for example, make abortifacient/contraceptive coverage available to religious nonprofit employees through the ObamaCare exchanges, Title X (the federal program devoted to family-planning services), or separate arrangements with our own or another insurance company. In other words, don’t involve us, or the health-insurance plan we offer our employees, in the effort to expand coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.
The administration might be tempted to come up with a proposal that satisfies only those groups that have third-party insurance coverage—and not those that self-insure. This wouldn’t be acceptable, because self-insurers underwrite their own health-insurance plans and are, practically speaking, their own insurance companies. A government “accommodation” that offered as its only option a requirement that insurers of religious nonprofit groups offer the employees of those groups separate plans for abortifacients and contraceptives would still force self-insured religious groups to violate their faith.
“Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24).
Reflection: Sometimes there is a tension between those who work to defend the right to life, and those who work for “social justice.” Yet there can be no social justice without establishing the most basic justice, the protection of one’s life. If the right to life is not secure, neither is any other right.
Prayer: Lord, in you all justice is fulfilled and all goodness exists in its fullness. Enable your people who work for what is right to resist every temptation to minimize or neglect any aspect of the demands of justice. Amen.
“May he enable us to achieve what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21).
Reflection: The pro-life movement is not primarily a response to Roe vs. Wade. It is a response to Jesus Christ. This movement stands in the tradition of the early Christians who rescued abandoned infants from the streets, to those who established hospitals and worked to liberate slaves. Jesus Christ came to free the oppressed; his disciples do the same.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am grateful that in responding to you I stand in a great tradition of disciples who have served the oppressed in your name. Keep me strong in my response to you! Amen.
“We know through our decades of work with our Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign ministries that many women are coerced into abortion. Where is freedom of choice when women are forced by parents, boyfriends or husbands to end the life of the child they are carrying?
“And they shall name him Emmanuel, a name that means ‘God is with us'” Matthew 1:23.
Reflection: In the midst of the abortion tragedy, the Church does not point fingers of condemnation. Rather, the Church extends hands of compassion and help, to lift up out of despair those who are tempted to abort their children. The Church informs her people of the many alternatives to abortion, and says “I am with you, and will enable you to say yes to life.”
Prayer: Lord, so many are tempted to abort because they feel alone. May we reach out to them, that they may know that we and you are with them. Amen
“We are encouraged by today’s development. The Supreme Court could have ruled against us, but evidently the Obama Administration did not succeed in persuading them to do so. A split Court could also have let the lower court’s negative ruling stand, but again, they did not see fit to do that. Instead, the Supreme Court, upon receiving further briefings, vacated the lower court rulings, and offered the parties an opportunity to work out a mutually acceptable solution in the lower courts, that will both allow the government to pursue its objectives and allow us to practice our faith. We are committed to continuing that process in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.”
“There is one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, himself a man” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Reflection: Jesus is humanity’s only mediator with God precisely because he is both God and human, and his humanity comes from Mary. All her importance flows from her Son, and our worship of the Son naturally leads to honoring his mother. Marian devotion teaches us something about our pro-life commitment. Mother and child belong together. To hurt one is to hurt the other; to love one is to love the other.
Prayer: Mary, thank you for being the mother of Jesus, who now shares our humanity. Teach us to honor every mother and child. Amen.
“Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity” – Evangelium Vitae, 9
Reflection: If we ask, “How can we eliminate capital punishment?” The answer is, “Eliminate abortion.” After all, as long as we try to solve problems by throwing away the innocent, it is quite hard to convince people that we don’t solve problems by throwing away the guilty.
Prayer: Lord, we confess that so often we think that the way to fix people’s problems is to throw people away. Free us from that way of thinking. May we protect the innocent, and may we not fail to recognize the dignity even of the guilty. Amen.
“Former prosecutors testified before a Congressional committee today that there is ample evidence to warrant further investigation into the abortion industry’s longtime practice of harvesting and selling aborted babies’ body parts. I would add that there’s a moral imperative that our nation put a halt to this horrendous practice that exploits women and treats non-consenting humans like lab rats.”