June 23, 2008

Go to www.priestsforlife.org/video/192 to view Jim's streaming video message

Dear Lay Missionary of the Gospel of Life:

Blessings! It is my sincere hope that you have registered for Father Frank’s conference call www.priestsforlife.org/conferencecall/index.aspx on Wednesday, June 25 from 9 to 10pm Eastern Time. Among the areas he will touch on will be the “Is This What You Mean?” project.

The following is an account of my attempt to implement this exciting project. While I believe that every encounter will be unique and probably a lot shorter than mine; it is my hope that the account will help strengthen your resolve to pose the question “Is This What You Mean?”

I recently had the privilege of implementing the “Is This What You Mean?” project when a Congressman of my state, a supporter of abortion/ choice, hosted a Town Hall Meeting.

While reading our local newspaper, my wife, Joy, saw the Town Hall Meeting advertised with an invitation to the public to attend and ask any question of the Congressman they desired. Joy shared the article with me and thought this would be a perfect occasion to try the project. Although the meeting had already begun, we prayerfully agreed that this was a golden opportunity to present the Congressman with both verbal testimony from doctors who do abortions, professional medical diagrams of two abortion procedures and to ask him the question “Is This What You Mean” when you say you support abortion/choice? I quickly gathered my Priests for Life abortion procedure diagrams with abortion testimony and we headed to the town hall meeting site.

As we entered the hall I quickly inquired, how does one get to ask a question? The answer: just raise your hand. Joy decided to stand, take pictures (a video camera should be included) and support me in prayer.

Although the hall was almost full, I was able to sit in the front row, almost directly across from the Congressman. While I felt a degree of anxiety, there was an overriding sense of the rightness of my purpose in attending and the privilege of being the “voice of the voiceless”. So, I prayerfully raised my hand and desired to have all the good will God could give me for the Congressman, for those in attendance and for the babies living, dead and yet to come.

He called upon me and I stood up. I sincerely thanked the Congressman for hosting the meeting and I thanked him for every good thing he had done to benefit our State. I then stated that his support of abortion and choice were well known and that my question would be to that end. I said that right before coming I had read testimony from doctors who perform abortions describing the procedure and I then began to read some quotes, including the following:.

Dr. Martin Haskell: … It’s not unusual, at the start of a D&E procedure, that a limb is acquired first and that limb is brought through the cervix… (I can sense and literally hear the rumblings of those in attendance). When you’re doing a dismemberment D&E, usually the last part to be removed is the skull itself and it’s floating free inside the uterine cavity…So typically there’s several misdirections, misattempts to grasp. Finally at some point either the instruments are managed to be placed around the skull or a nip is made out of some area of the skull that allows it to start to decompress. And then once that happens, typically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece… (more pronounced rumblings)

I then held up the two abortion procedure medical diagrams and proceeded to quote from them, e.g.: The body parts are grasped…the body parts (a leg and an arm) are pulled from the body…the remaining body parts are grasped and pulled out…the head is grasped and crushed in order to remove it from the vaginal canal…

I then looked straight into the eyes of the Congressman and I solemnly and deliberately said, so, my question to you Sir, is this, when you say you support abortion, when you say you support choice, (pointing to the abortion procedure diagrams) Is This What You Mean? Do you mean the same thing as these doctors who give testimony regarding abortion? Is This What You Mean by abortion? Is this what you mean by choice?

The Congressman’s response was to avoid dealing with the factual account of what abortion literally is as shared by authoritative sources (those who perform abortion and objective medical descriptions of the procedures). He chose to speak to the gathering (instead of me) about not wanting to make criminals of teenage girls who get pregnant and dealing with criminal penalties against doctors. He spoke in generalities regarding morality, religion and politics, helping women… I told him that he was not answering my question but he said that I had asked my question and that it was his turn to answer it.

To his credit he shared his support for the partial birth abortion ban (correcting an earlier incorrect assertion I made that he had not supported the ban). I asked him, why? Why did you support the Partial Birth Abortion Ban? He stated, because it was too much. I questioned, what do you mean by too much? There was a pause and I said, do you mean that partial birth abortion, where the baby is almost fully delivered, and moving in the hands of the doctor, who proceeds to stick scissors in the base of the baby’s skull, opens the scissors, sticks a suction device into the baby’s skull and sucks the brain out. Is that what you mean by “too much”?

He stated, there is no need to get so graphic. I replied, But that is what it is, and that is what abortion is. Is the dismemberment of the baby (pointing to the D&E) and the crushing of the skull, not too much? (more pronounced rumblings)

He then turned from me, continued to address the crowd and took another question.

I again took my front row seat and continued to pray silently for God’s presence, will and mercy. At the conclusion of the meeting I made my way to the Congressman, thanked him again for the public meeting, presented him with the abortion procedure diagrams, told him (with a smile) that I did not think he answered my factual questions regarding abortion, and I let him know that he had my support in any way we could unite in promoting the sacredness of human life. He thanked me.

Key Links for Lay Missionary Information:

-“Is This What You Mean?: www.priestsforlife.org/isthiswhatyoumean

- Jim Pinto posing the question to Rep. Artur Davis, (D.-AL.) www.priestsforlife.org/frontlines/trip-home.aspx?tripID=57 

-Fr. Franks June 25th Teleconference: www.priestsforlife.org/conferencecall/index.aspx

-Registration for MEV-Community Site: http://pfl-mev.org/user/CreateUser.aspx 

-Community Site: http://pfl-mev.org 

-Have you made your promises? www.priestsforlife.org/missionary/july07letter.htm 

-Local Gatherings / Life Cells www.priestsforlife.org/missionary/lifecellformats.htm 

I Hope to join you on the conference call this Wednesday night.

Jim Pinto, Jr. M.E.V.
Pastoral Associate: Priests for Life
National Coordinator: Missionaries of the Gospel of Life-Lay Associates
E-mail: Missionary@priestsforlife.org