If people knew the truth about abortion, they would never buy into the pro-choice argument, according to the Rev. Frank Pavone.
"It makes people feel good to talk about choice, freedom and rights," said Pavone, of Port Chester, N.Y., executive director of Priests of Life. "Theoretically, we are all in favor of that. But when certain choices have so many victims we need to reevaluate. Is this the kind of choice our society should be allowing?"
Pavone says the answer is no.
The Catholic priest has made it his life's mission to end abortion. His interest in the pro-life movement began in high school. In 1993, after five years of serving a parish, Pavone was named director of Priests for Life.
He now travels the country, visiting as many as three or four states a week, preaching and teaching against abortion.
Pavone brings his ministry to Rapid City this weekend, with programs for both the public and local clergy. "I think of this as a ministry of encouragement," Pavone said. It's a ministry that "alerts people to the immensity of the abortion problem and encourages them with knowledge that there are things they can do about it."
For clergy, most of whom already embrace the pro-life ideology, Pavone offers support: how to effectively preach on the topic, how to counsel people contemplating abortion and those seeking forgiveness, and how to mobilize a congregation to fight abortion.
To begin his work, Pavone says people must become aware of the basic facts of what is happening. "That an abortion is performed every 20 seconds, making it the most common surgery in America," Pavone said. "... That abortions are legally performed in different parts of the country in the final months of pregnancy— and not just for health reasons.
"If we added up all the American casualties from all the wars we've ever fought, we would find we lose more American lives by abortion in one year than we have in all the wars we have fought since our country was founded," he said. "The more people know about what is actually happening, the more they reject the abortion ethic," Pavone said.
But that's only half the battle. Next they need to mobilize against abortion, he said. "The encouraging part is, people can save lives."
And it doesn't take a major crusade. In his presentation, he talks about the little things: reaching out to people in trouble, wearing pro-life pins and ribbons, participating in pro-life rallies, and writing legislators.
"This issue is a concern of everybody," Pavone said. "It involves the most basic question of all—the very right to live and the right to exist. I try to stress that. Sometimes people think 'this is not my thing.' But we need to resolve it or it will resolve us."
Program targets abortion
The Rev. Frank Pavone, executive director of Priests for Life, will present a public program on abortion Saturday, Jan. 4.
The program, "Encouragement for Troubled Times," is open to everyone. It begins at 2 p.m. in the St. Thomas More High School Commons.
Pavone's program will focus on abortion statistics as well as the many things people can do to solve what he views as "the single most urgent moral crisis in our nation."
Pavone also will give homilies at three Rapid City Catholic churches; St. Therese at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4; Blessed Sacrament at 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 5,: and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral at I I a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5.