© September 8, 1995
Pro-life priest predicts collapse of abortion industry
By Father Bill Pomerleau, Observer
CHICOPEE-The abortion industry will inevitably collapse under
its own weight as the philosophical contradictions, defections and greater
understanding of the harm that the procedure does to women mounts.
But once abortion is again largely against the law, the
church's work of healing will just begin, a noted pro-life priest told
anti-abortion activists here Sept. 8.
Father Frank Pavone told about 100 invited guests at the Elms
College Chapel that as more men and women like Joy Davis leave the "pro-choice"
camp, the tolerance of Americans for abortion will wane.
Davis is the former director of six abortion clinics in
southern states who switched sides on the issue. Along with other former
abortion providers, she now tells pro-life groups and the media how, when she
was administering the clinics, instruments were not sterilized.
Father Pavone, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, said
that abortion clinics represent "the most unregulated industry of a surgical
type in America," citing anecdotal accounts from various states. However, he did
not specifically charge that abortion facilities in Massachusetts were
unsanitary or directly dangerous to the physical health of a woman.
The national director of Priests for Life, like a growing
number of religious and lay leaders opposed to abortion, believes that those who
want to promote a pro-life message should not confine themselves to talking
about the harm that abortion does to an unborn child.
From a public relations point of view alone, pro-lifers should
speak of the harm that abortion inflicts on women, he told a group of interested
priests at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Springfield earlier in the day.
The young priest predicted that within his lifetime, American
society will once again reject the reasoning that an action such as abortion is
acceptable, not because it is right, but because it has been chosen by an
He cited the case of a pro-choice demonstrator whom he spoke
to last year outside a Little Rock, Ark., abortion facility. The man carried a
sign saying "Keep baby killing legal."
The pro-choice activist, like some on the other side of the
issue, acknowledges that a fetus is a human life. However, he actually believes
that the unborn child's life must make way for the "right of choice" in some
circumstances, said Father Pavone.
Once the reality of what this reasoning means sinks into the
American consciousness, U.S. society will once again turn against abortion. And,
like a post-World War II world that anguished over how the Holocaust could have
been permitted to occur, society will turn to the church to heal its guilt about
abortion, he added.
Father Pavone, who has become better known locally through a
lecture series now being shown on the EWTN cable television network, preaches
and speaks about abortion and euthanasia to a variety of groups.
However, his principal mission now is to assist his brother
clergy to be more supportive of the prolife cause.
Priest for Life, which was formally organized in 1990,
consists of about 950 priests and 2,000 lay supporters who receive literature
helping them to more effectively teach the church's pro-life message. Although
he participated in a Catholics for the Unborn-sponsored prayer vigil outside the
Hampden Gynecological Associates abortion clinic in Springfield during his
recent visit to the area, his group does not favor a particular strategy of
Father Pavone spends much time attempting to persuade priests
that they must be vocal about abortion despite their fears of alienating
parishioners or getting "involved in politics."
However, he also encourages lay people concerned about
abortion to have realistic expectations about the abilities, and schedules, of
"Don't approach your priest with the attitude that he isn't
doing his job. Rather, tell him that you value his leadership," he told lay
Committed lay pro-lifers should explain their activities and
motivations to their clergy, then suggest three or four activities which the
parishioners might sponsor. Giving the priest time to think about it, and
assurances that lay parishioners will do most of the work, will heighten a
priest's willingness to support pro-life activism, Father Pavone explained.
Priests for Life in