I had a quick visit to the West Coast this weekend that included praying at a gravesite that contains the bodies of 16,433 children killed by abortion.
The prayer service was part of the National Day of Remembrance, a project organized by Priests for Life, Pro-life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-life Society. On this day, simultaneous memorial services are held at the graves of aborted babies around the nation.
The gravesite at which I prayed, located in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in East Los Angeles, is the largest of the mass graves of children killed by abortion.
In the early 1980's, a man by the name of Malvin Weisburg was operating an outfit called Medical Analytic Laboratories, and he was receiving from abortion clinics around the country the bodies of aborted babies for pathological analysis. When he was done with his work, the bodies of these babies, many of them decapitated by the abortion, and some of them weighing a couple of pounds, were put in plastic containers and ultimately stored in a large waste container that he was renting. In 1982, Weisburg failed to make proper payments on the container, and therefore it was repossessed by the company.
That's when workers discovered what was in it -- the bodies of aborted babies, totaling 16,433. The bodies were taken into the custody of Los Angeles County.
This made news and touched off a firestorm about what should be done with the babies. Pro-life people and public officials got together to call from the release of the bodies for proper burial. Meanwhile, pro-abortion groups, including the ACLU, went to court to block any religious service, or even burial, for these babies. They claimed that the 'separation of church and state' prohibited the state from facilitating a religious service. The court agreed. However, the pro-abortion groups wanted more, namely, to not allow a burial at all. They wanted the bodies cremated and thrown away as medical waste. And forgotten. With this, however, the court did not agree. Even the Supreme Court was petitioned in the matter, and in the end, after a three year battle, the babies were buried on October 6, 1985. Even President Ronald Reagan got involved, and wrote a eulogy that was read at the service, calling for an end to abortion.
For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a reminder of the humanity of the victims of abortion. When people forget, the abortion supporters win; when people remember, we win. That is why we need to keep telling the stories of these graves, and visiting them. And that is why we continue to demand that the bodies of the babies killed by abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia be released so that we can bury them.
Ironically, the 16,433 aborted children in Los Angeles could not be buried at the nearby Catholic cemetery; but who is buried there? The late term abortionist James McMahon. God help us.
Fr. Frank Pavone