“It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak “(2 Corinthians 4:13-14).
Reflection: A Virginia High School senior was told he could not wear a sweatshirt that read, “Abortion is Homicide.” However, after he sought legal help, the school allowed him to wear it. The best way to defend our free speech rights is to exercise them without fear.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, you inspire the faithful to speak courageously the words of life. Open our lips to speak boldly, even when that speech may upset others. Give us grace to defend our rights without fear. Amen.
“Prayer is at the core of the pro-life effort, and this case is no exception. This case, moreover, has the potential of protecting countless women and children from abortionists who are so unqualified as not to be able to get hospital admitting privileges, and from clinics whose standards cannot measure up to those of ambulatory surgical facilities,”
“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.
“Today I am especially proud to be a Staten Island resident, New York State is one of the most dangerous places in the country for unborn children, and Mr. Castorina clearly recognizes that things will only get worse under the bill. Four in ten pregnancies in the state end in abortion. Six in ten African-American babies die in the womb. Clearly New York does not need more abortion. What we need are more people like Mr. Castorina willing to go out on a limb to protect the unborn.”
“These commandments that I give you today … Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6,8-9). Reflection: Many states now have specialty license plates that have the words “Choose Life” above the plate number. Money raised from the purchase of these plates supports alternatives to abortion, and the pro-life message is spread on the road! Prayer: Father, in the most ordinary activities of life, we can spread the message of life! Give us creativity to see more of these ways, and courage and perseverance in using them! Amen.
“States promote life by discouraging smoking, illicit drug use, and drunk driving,” said Fr. Pavone. “Promoting an abortion-free society is entirely consistent with this ethic. Oklahoma’s Governor and legislature have performed a great public service by establishing these new life-affirming public information sources.”
“As for the saints who are in the land…in them there is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).
Reflection: God calls his people to work together for the cause of life and justice. Just as we cannot work in isolation from God, we likewise cannot work in isolation from one another. Every laborer in the Lord’s vineyard has something to learn from every other laborer, and together they lift one another up in times of weariness.
Prayer: Lord, you call us and form us into a community of life and of justice. Keep us working hand in hand, and in unity of heart, for the purposes you inspire. 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.
“And for this I pray: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and full insight” – Philippians 1:9
Reflection: After seeing photos of abortion, a teenager wrote, “I am a 15 year old girl… I have looked at most of your website tonight and I must say that I am astonished. I knew that abortion was basically murdering your fetus, but I had no idea it was such a cruel process. Your pictures gave me the best image of what really goes on in abortion clinics.”
Prayer: Lord, help your people to love their unborn brothers and sisters by growing in knowledge of what threatens their lives. Amen.
“I believe this new step of the Holy Father, in accordance with the advice he has received from his Cardinals, will strengthen the Church’s efforts to defend life and family at a time when these are more important than ever,” Fr. Pavone stated. “In particular, this step elevates and emphasizes the importance of defending life from evils like abortion. Whereas the Pontifical Council for the Family, where I served, was entrusted with fostering initiatives to protect human life from abortion, that role, in this new Pontifical Council, is now explicitly referenced in its title and is given its own “Section,” that is, an official division of the office, headed by an “Under-Secretary.” I know both from my own experience in working at the Pontifical Council for the Family and from my experience heading a worldwide pro-life ministry that has regular interaction with the Vatican that this structural change will make it possible for pro-life groups to have even more effective interaction with the Church on the global level, and for there to be even more mutual encouragement in the urgent task of defending what Pope Saint John Paul II called “the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life” (Evangelium Vitae, 20). We look forward to working with this new Vatican office.”