Abortions can be stopped and lives can be saved long before laws are changed. The children scheduled to die tomorrow don't have time for legislators to pass laws to protect them. This is one of the ways in which the pro-life cause reveals itself to be much more than a "political" issue. It is an emergency to which the People of God need to respond here and now, to save the lives of the most defenseless among us. It is a concrete demand of charity.
There is a simple way we can activate our parishes to respond: Spread the phone numbers at which people can find alternatives to abortion.
And one of the most effective ways to spread them is not only to put them in the bulletin but to put them on the bulletin, in other words, right there on the front cover along with the other standard phone numbers that we always want to make known to our people. After all, the need for abortion alternatives is not seasonal or occasional, and, as a matter of life and death, certainly has priority importance over other numbers.
Studies and the experience of those who work with women in crisis pregnancy indicate that most do not know that there are alternatives to abortion, and most would choose an alternative if it were offered. I have seen women walk out of the waiting rooms of abortion facilities simply because they saw someone outside holding a sign offering alternatives.
The irony of the rhetoric "freedom of choice" is that women get abortions precisely because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. A simple phone number on the bulletin can change all that.
Now which numbers do we use? Certainly, local numbers through which people can contact resources in the diocese or community are always valuable.
As a national movement, Priests for Life also makes known national hotline numbers that can connect people to help in any part of the country. The criteria we use for which numbers we publicize are that they are 1) toll-free, 2) accessible 24 hours a day, 3) available from anywhere in the country, and 4) serviced by a live person at all times. You may wish to call the number yourself to find further information in order to determine which you want to publicize.
We therefore invite pastors to put one or more of the following numbers somewhere on the cover of your bulletin as a permanent item:
Nurturing Network 800-TNN-4MOM
Pregnancy Hotline 800-848-LOVE
Bethany Christians Services 800-238-4269
Several Sources Foundation 800-NO-ABORT
America’s Crisis Pregnancy Helpline 800-67-BABY-6
We invite parishioners to make this option known to their pastors.
Furthermore, these numbers can be posted in the vestibule, distributed in our high schools and colleges, put in parish mailings, and displayed in the local press or cable TV bulletin board. There is hardly a simpler thing that can be done for the pro-life cause. Let's not put it off until tomorrow!