Defending Life Series 5 (2000)

Conversing about Abortion

There are many different pro-life activities, but one thing everyone has to do eventually is to talk to someone about abortion. In this program, Fr. Frank addresses the attitude we need to take when speaking to someone who disagrees with us on this issue. Among the points he makes are:

a) it is possible to change someone's mind about abortion;

b) the two big obstacles in the way are denial and pain;

c) the mindset we need to adopt toward the one who disagrees with us is, "Even though we disagree, you are not my enemy."

d) We should generate positive emotions when conversing with those who disagree.

e) Ask questions. It is easy for someone to say, "I don't want to listen to you," but it is rather hard for someone to say, "I don't want you to listen to me." When you ask someone to explain why he/she is "pro-choice," you force that person to do some thinking.

f) Keep a notebook of your discussions about abortion, so that if you don't know what to say the first time, you will be prepared when the next discussion happens.

In this episode, Fr. Frank also shows once again Dana's powerful music video, This is My Body, based on Fr. Frank's brochure of the same title. The video is available through Priests for Life.

Statistics on Abortion

Much can be said about the moral and theological aspects of abortion. But we have to be well-grounded in the statistics as well. In this show, Fr. Frank draws from a number of recent surveys, and from pro-abortion sources, to show basic statistics about how many abortions occur, why they occur, what people know about the current public policy on abortion in America, and how abortions are declining.

Fr. Frank also gives comparisons between the numbers of abortions and the numbers of those executed through capital punishment. For example, the numbers of executions in the US from the 1600's to February 1999 has totaled 18,910. The number of abortions in the US in a single week is much greater, namely, 26,271.

In this program, Dr. David O'Steen, Executive Director of the National Right to Life Committee, and Dr. Randall O'Bannon, who directs research and education efforts of the same organization, share their expertise about opinion polls on abortion and why much of the opinion poll news is good news for the pro-life movement.

Dr. Anthony Levatino

This program carries a powerful interview with a former abortionist from upstate New York, Dr. Anthony Levatino. He speaks about why he performed abortions, and about the fact that complications in pregnancy can be handled in many other ways without killing the child. He speaks about the viability of many of the children who are aborted, and explains one of the abortion procedures he personally performed numerous times: the "D & E Procedure."

Dr. Levatino shares the moving story about how he stopped doing abortions. He and his wife were seeking to adopt a child, and did so. Some years later, however, their adopted daughter Heather was struck by a car and died. Dr. Levatino, upon doing abortions after this tragedy, began to realize how terrible it was that he was killing other people's children, particularly when he knew the pain of losing his own.

He describes the efforts that he and his wife now make, by means of "Heather's Place," to fund pregnancy assistance centers.

Dr. Levatino also shares his expertise as a lawyer in discussing how easy it is, legally speaking, to obtain an abortion in America.

Eva Edl

This program carries the testimony of Eva Edl, who survived a Yugoslavian death camp.

From her experience of the horrors of that ordeal, and near starvation, she learned what it means to defend the sanctity of innocent human life.

Since her freedom, she has been active in the pro-life movement, has been arrested numerous times for peacefully blockading abortion mills, and proclaims the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ in the face of the culture of death.

Chris Godfrey

In this program, Fr. Frank interviews professional football star Chris Godfrey, who describes how his faith and pro-life commitment intertwined with his career with several professional teams, and his experience of winning the Superbowl.

Chris speaks about the work of Life Athletes, an organization he now directs, through which athletes speak to the young about virtue, abstinence, and respect for life.

The Life Athletes commitment is

1. I will try to do what is right, even when it is difficult.

2. I will give myself only to that special person that I marry as my partner for life.

3. I will respect the lives of others, especially the unborn and the aged.

4. I will not quit or make excuses when I fail; I will try again.

The program includes a showing of the new video produced by Life Athletes called That's Where I Live.

The National Pro-life Religious Council

Opposition to abortion is not only a Catholic position. In this program, Priests for Life is happy to introduce some of the key members of the National Pro-life Religious Council, an umbrella organization uniting pro-life Christians across many denominations.

Unfortunately, some of those denominations do not hold a firm position defending unborn human life. Yet within those denominations, there are pro-life organizations working to change that, and to bear witness to the Gospel's unambiguous affirmation of the sanctity of each and every human being.

In this program, you will meet some of those organizations. You will hear about their perspectives and activities to make their Churches more pro-life. You will hear their responses to groups like the "Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice," which maintains that being "pro-choice" on abortion is consistent with the Gospel. You will also have an opportunity to join these leaders in prayer.

Priests for Life is proud to be a member group of the National Pro-life Religious Council.

The Church and Post-Abortion Healing

If all the abortions stopped tomorrow, the Church's mission of healing will have just begun.

In this segment, Fr. Frank speaks with some of the experts on post-abortion harm and healing.

Fr. Mike Mannion has been a trailblazer in this area, formulating and carrying out pastoral programs to welcome back and provide sacramental healing for those who have been guilty of an abortion. He joins us for this segment.

Olivia Gans was one of the first women to speak out about her abortion experience, and founded American Victims of Abortion. She shares her perspective on this program.

Dr. Wanda Franz, Ph.D., is the President of the National Right to Life Committee, and is also a developmental psychologist who has done research in the area of post-abortion trauma. She shares some psychological insights in this program.

Finally, Fr. Frank shows that the pain following abortion is not limited to religious believers, as he shares testimony from a pro-life atheist.

Doing Something About Abortion

In this episode, Fr. Frank is joined by Priests for Life Director of Special Outreach, Janet Morana, to discuss things people can do in their own communities and parishes to stop abortion. Resources for the clergy are mentioned, such as Fr. Frank's new booklet on how to preach about abortion.

A key idea now being promoted by Priests for Life is to place on the cover of the parish bulletin a phone number providing alternatives to abortion. Many national and local hotlines exist for this purpose. Putting the number on the bulletin is easy and long-lasting.

Various types of public witness are discussed on this program, including a brief summary of what Courts have consistently upheld as Constitutional regarding protests and prayer vigils at abortion mills.

In this segment, we also hear from some of the other full-time Priests for Life priests: Fr. Richard Hogan, Fr. Denis G. Wilde, OSA, and Fr. Peter West. Included also is commentary from some of our Jewish brothers and sisters who are fighting to defend the unborn.

To show the breadth of the pro-life effort, Fr. Frank also quotes from a pro-life atheist.

The Breast Cancer Link

What is the single most avoidable risk factor for breast cancer?

In this segment, Dr. Joel Brind, Ph.D, demonstrates why the answer to that question is abortion. Any woman, no matter how old she is or how many children she has, if she is pregnant and has an abortion, her chances of breast cancer will be higher than if she carries that child to term.

You will learn about the biological basis for this risk, as well as the efforts to make it better known by means of published research and legislation. Find out how the "pro-choice" community has reacted to this information.

Nobody who claims to be concerned about "women's health" can reasonably ignore the information contained in this program.

Dangerous Clinics

Has legalizing abortion made it safe?

Thomas Strahan, JD, who edits the research bulletin for the Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change, explains why the answer is no. The manner in which abortion is practiced in the legal facilities in our nation is a far cry from what Roe vs. Wade ever had in mind.

This program also features segments of an interview with Mary Spaudling Balch, the State Legislative Director for the National Right to Life Committee. She speaks about how unregulated legal abortion facilities are, and how easy it is, from the perspective of the law, to obtain an abortion.

She also reminds us of the critical importance of working for legislative reform on a state level, not only on the federal level, if the rights of the unborn are to be recognized.

Priests and Abortion

In speaking to the clergy about his launching of the abortion-rights movement, Dr. Bernard Nathanson summed it up this way: "We would never have gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful, and strong!"

Priests for Life exists to help the clergy to become more united, purposeful, and strong in pro-life ministry. This program examines how you can help to do that.

It contains words of encouragement for priests, spoken by their brother priests and also by the laity, including a post-abortive woman who explains why the pain of her abortion is no reason for priests to be silent about it.

The segment also describes some of our resources, such as the pamphlets How to Encourage your Priest to be Actively Pro-life, and A Letter to My Priest.

Help in Dying

Those who promote euthanasia and assisted suicide speak about providing "help in dying." This is smooth language which ignores the distinction between assisting person who is dying and causing the person to die. After all, Mother Teresa provided a lot of people with "help in dying." She did it by enabling them to experience the love of God, and the love of other people, who reminded them that their life did not lose its value and dignity when it was afflicted with pain and helplessness.

This program uncovers some of the common myths behind the "right to die" movement.

It also describes in simple terms the basis of the Church's teaching on euthanasia, and includes a powerful testimony from a disability rights activist, Mr. Robert Provan.

Political Responsibility

The Church does not set up the voting booths. But when Catholics go into those booths, they do not cease to be members of the Church!

This program examines some of the basis of our political responsibility, and how that relates to the most basic of all rights, the right to life. Recent statements of the US bishops, of the Holy Father, and of concerned citizens provide the framework for these reflections. Opinion polls are examined to show how voters are thinking about abortion, and experts such as Dr. David O'Steen, Executive Director of the National Right to Life Committee, are interviewed.

Fr. Frank also shows that being pro-life does not require membership in any particular political party, as he shares a segment of an interview with a representative of Democrats for Life of America.

Priests for Life
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