"Back alleys no more, abortion rights for
rich and poor."
This popular chant of abortion proponents expresses a common theme: Poor
women should be afforded equal access to abortion, and any restrictions of such
funding is a direct result of a lack of concern for the poor members of society.
Women are denied a "right," based on their economic class.
Abortion doesn’t eliminate poverty, however, it merely eliminates the poor.
Poverty is an institution in our country. It’s very existence is both
tolerated and condemned at the same time by abortion supporters, because instead
of solving the real problems of poverty, they seek to pacify any obligation to
the poor by providing them with abortions. If we argue that an impoverished
woman can’t afford to have a child because she does not have adequate housing,
food, or clothing, should we not provide her with these instead? How does an
abortion solve her need for shelter? Obviously, it does not. If we eliminate her
need for abortion, however, we also eliminate the "need" for public funding of
abortion clinics, and the millions of dollars that these clinics receive because
of the poor.
Abortion activists argue that abortion is necessary to improve the
socio-economic status of these women, but its effects do just the opposite.
Thomas Strahan, a researcher with the Association of Interdisciplinary Research,
recently reviewed over 26 studies relating to abortion's impact on the
socio-economic status of women. These studies show the following:
- - Women who have had abortions are at greater risk of suffering emotional
and psychological problems which may interfere with their ability to
concentrate, make decisions, and interact with others, thereby reducing their
level of job skills and employment opportunities.
- - Post-abortion women are more likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse,
often as a means of "numbing" negative feelings stemming from the abortion. This
will in turn effect their ability to function in the workplace and may inhibit
their ability to enter into meaningful relationships.
- - Women who have had abortions are more likely to become pregnant again and
undergo additional abortions. Nearly 50% of all abortions are repeat abortions.
These repeat abortions do not represent "satisfied customers." Instead,
post-abortion women often seek replacement pregnancies to make up for the
aborted child, but find themselves faced with the same social pressures which
led to the first abortion. There is also evidence that some women undergo repeat
abortions as an act of "self-punishment" or as attempt to "harden" themselves to
negative feelings stemming from their first abortion.
- - Compared to their peers, teenagers who have had one abortion are 4 times
more likely to have a subsequent abortion. Almost 20% of teen aborters have a
second abortion within a year, and 38% have a second abortion within 5 years.
- - Women who have had abortions are more likely to subsequently
require welfare assistance, and the odds of going on welfare increase with each
- - Women who have repeat abortions tend to have an increasing number of
health problems and greater personality disintegration, which increases the
likelihood of their needing public assistance.
- - Post-abortion women have greater difficulty establishing permanent
relationships with a male partner. They are more likely to never marry, more
likely to divorce, and more likely to go through a long string of "unsuccessful"
relationships. This inability to form a "nuclear family" reduces household
income and increases the probability that the woman and her children will
require public assistance.
- - Women who have had repeat abortions are more likely to desire
children and are likely to carry one or more subsequent "replacement"
pregnancies to term. This means that many repeat aborters end up becoming
unmarried mothers, the very fate they tried to avoid when they had their first
abortion. Only now, they also have to deal with post-abortion psychological and
As a Church deeply committed to defend both the poor and the unborn, may we
teach our people the connection between the two.
(For more info, visit www.afterabortion.org. Staff Outreach Assistant Jenn
Morson contributed to this article.)
There is a lot we can do to prepare our people for the upcoming
elections, while remaining fully within the legal requirements governing
institutions with a tax-exempt status. A few of the many ideas are summarized
1. Teach our people the content of the documents Living the Gospel of Life
(1998) and Faithful Citizenship (1999), both of which give guidance
in evaluating the moral framework in which elected officials are called to shape
policy and in which voters are called to participate in the political process.
The forms of such teaching can include:
a) The parish bulletin (see this newsletter for some examples);
b) Special adult education classes or guest speakers (We are willing to send
a speaker free of charge);
d) Brochures in the parish bookrack (We are glad to provide such material);
e) Copies of the above documents made available to the people (We will be
glad to provide some as well).
Some of the key points of such teaching should include:
a) The dignity of the human person as the key norm for evaluating any
candidate or policy;
b) The moral obligation to be involved in the political process, and
specifically the duty to vote;
b) Loyalty to moral norms has higher priority than loyalty to political
2. Conduct voter registration drives. Contact us for information on how to do
4. Cooperate to the maximum degree possible with groups attempting to educate
citizens on the positions of candidates. It is true that voter education guides
-- which inform people on the positions of candidates -- need to meet certain
criteria in order for parishes to use them, and diocesan attorneys can be
consulted about this. It is also true that undue fear or hasty decisions on our
part can discourage God's people who are trying their best to put their faith in
action. Let's be as informed and helpful as possible to those who may approach
Bulletin Inserts on Election Themes, Ascension,
- Our bishops offer us this perspective as we prepare for national
As Americans, as Catholics and as pastors of our people, we
write therefore today
Real freedom rests on the inviolability of every person as a child of God. The
inherent value of human life, at every stage and in every circumstance, is not a
sectarian issue any more than the Declaration of Independence is a sectarian
November 1998, n.6).
General Intercessions on Election Themes,
- That the Lord of all Nations will guide our national election process,
and inspire those who seek leadership with a willingness to protect and defend
all human life, we pray to the Lord.
- That Christians may take an active and informed role in the political
process, and reject cynicism and apathy, we pray to the Lord.
- That the Ascension of Christ, who brings our human nature to the heights of
heaven, may renew our respect for every human life, we pray to the Lord.
- That the Holy Spirit, who inspired the apostles at Pentecost to speak His
word, may make us advocates for the poor, the oppressed, and the unborn, we pray
to the Lord.
"Pro-Choice No Longer"
At the March for Life this year, Fr. Frank encountered a young woman who
had changed her views from pro-abortion to pro-life. Joan is a nurse, who was
raised a Catholic, but strayed from her faith when she went away to school and
encountered the feminist movement. "Part of my nurses' training was a rotation
in community nursing. We worked with poor women and pushed birth control on
them, as well as sterilization. I knew of no alternatives, and thought, it
[abortion] was never something I could do, but how could I possibly tell others
"I had never heard of places that pro-life groups had that offered help to
women. I didn’t know that services existed for clothing, food, shelter,
adoption, or help after pregnancy. I thought that those [pro-life] people didn’t
really care. This influenced my decision, because I didn’t know what else these
women would do who were trapped."
Joan began coming back to her Catholic faith, and started watching EWTN to
learn more about it. That is when she saw Fr. Frank’s Defending Life Series.
Listening to his program made her reconsider her views, but she still remained
undecided. One particular segment changed all that. "Father had a guest on who
was showing graphic photos of babies who were aborted. There weren’t many
images, but one had a baby’s arm next to a dime, and I thought, there is no way
I can continue to deny that is a baby."
Despite her training as a nurse, Joan said she was unaware of the stages of
development. "When you see how developed the baby is, and a description of how
old the child is, there is no denying it. Yes, you may initially be repulsed by
the picture, but it sticks in your mind. You think and you dwell on it."
"When a mother wants her child, she doesn’t refer to it as my fetus, she
says, ‘my baby.’ Pro-choice people dehumanize and depersonalize the association
between mother and baby. If these women could see what their child looks like,
what they are killing, I don’t think they would have abortions."
You are encouraged to remember the following intentions as you pray
the Liturgy of the Hours:
May intention: For post-abortion ministries that reach out to men.
June intention: That scholars may faithfully research and express the unique
dignity that belongs to the human person.
Tenth Anniversary Come Aside Retreat
"The call to do pro-life work at any level comes from God. A pro-lifer
must therefore remain rooted in God. Otherwise, the battle could destroy him."
Based on this reflection, Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life have been
promoting pro-life retreats around the country and the world. "A retreat is a
time to face God more directly. A pro-life retreat is a time to see in God the
call to do pro-life work, and to be sure that such work is leading one back to
God," Fr. Frank explained.
Priests for Life offers several types of pro-life retreats: for clergy and
seminarians, for leaders of pro-life groups, and for Christians who are striving
to be more active in the pro-life movement. Although Priests for Life has
sponsored pro-life retreats for clergy and laity since 1993, such activity goes
back even further.
The Come Aside Retreat, spearheaded by Fr. Mike Mannion, marks its tenth
anniversary this year. According to Father Mannion, founder of the event, the
Come Aside retreat originated from a conversation with Wanda Franz, president of
National Right to Life. They agreed that pro-life leaders needed a retreat to
focus on the spirituality of fighting abortion. Father Mannion says that this
retreat, "reaffirms a commitment to proclaim the pro-life mission with
conviction, yet compassion."
This year’s retreat will be held July 7-9 in Blackwood, NJ. The retreat
master will be Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. Past
masters have included: Father Benedict Groeschel, Molly Kelly, Father Tom
Cusack, Jean Garton, and Father Mike Mannion. To register, contact Sr. Roberta
Harding, IHM; Come Aside Retreats; 10201 Georgia Avenue; Silver Spring, MD
20902. Fax: Attention Sr. Roberta at 301-681-8793. More Info: Call 301-681-7634.
Priests for Life is calling on dioceses and pro-life organizations around the
country to organize retreats in their communities, and will be happy to help
with details. Contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY
10314; Tel: 888-PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; email:
firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.priestsforlife.org
Special Upcoming Events
On June 8-9, Voices for the Unborn, a national pro-life television and
newspaper apostolate, is holding a 24 hour cruise out of Philadelphia. "Winning
the Hearts and Minds of People through Unity" is the theme. Fr. Frank Pavone of
Priests for Life will be the principal speaker. Other pro-life leaders and
activists will join the event and will share some new ideas for promoting the
The cruise is a great opportunity to spend social time with leaders in the
movement. You are also welcome to share with those present your own materials
and ideas regarding pro-life activity. Mass, entertainment, and good meals,
including a midnight buffet, are part of the agenda.
Cost for an outside cabin: $150. Inside cabin: $125.
For information, call 215-355-5292, or write VFTU, PO Box 617, Feasterville,
Jubilee Year Pro-life Event in Rome: October 12-15
The Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates pro-life and
pro-family activities for the Church throughout the world, is preparing the
Third World Meeting of the Holy Father with Families. This event is one of the
key pro-life events of the Jubilee Year, and will be held in Rome from October
Structured much like World Youth Day, the event has two main parts: a
"Theological-Pastoral Congress" (Oct. 12-14), in which the theme of the event,
"Children: Springtime of the Family and Society," is examined by means of
workshops and talks by experts. This part of the event is especially helpful for
those who carry out a ministry of leadership in the Church on behalf of life and
The second phase of the event is a gathering with the Pope on October 14-15,
involving a festive celebration of prayer and praise, as well as a magnificent
The Committee on Marriage and Family for the United States Bishops has put
together a travel package in collaboration with the Catholic Travel Centre. The
itinerary begins with departure from New York on October 8, and return there
October 16. For more information: 202-541-3040; fax 202-541-3176; email: