Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Like many Catholics, I have sat in the pews for years and listened to the priest talk about pro-life issues. Also like many Catholics, I dismissed the urgency of the issues because I personalized them. By that, I mean that I wondered why the priest was telling me about abortion. After all, I have never been involved in an abortion and no one in my family has, either. I reasoned that I cannot control other people; and, if they choose to get involved with abortion, then that would be between them and God. Then, I washed my hands of the whole topic and made it a nonissue for myself.

Does that sound familiar? Well, many people use this logic. It was only after I went on a spiritual journey over the past few months that it dawned on me how faulty – and indeed, dangerous – this thinking was. I came to realize that pro-life issues trump all others.

Several months ago, I learned about the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. I researched it and found that, believe it or not, infants who were born alive because of a failed abortion had been, in some instances, discarded and left to die. These were viable babies who could have survived with medical attention.

In Illinois, several attempts were made to pass a Born Alive Infant Protection Act, but a young state senator named Barack Obama had stalled the legislation. As chairman of the Health and Human Service Committee, he refused to push this common-sense legislation forward for a vote. He argued that he did not like the wording, yet made no attempt to have the wording changed.

The United States Congress eventually passed an identically worded Born Alive Infant Protection Act in August 2002 and President Bush signed it into law. That superseded the failed legislation in Illinois.

I wondered how, in this highly advanced technological society, we got to the point where not only did medical staff not know that you should not be putting an infant in a soiled-linen closet to die, but also our elected officials do not have the common sense to stop such a thing from happening.

It was not long after this that I learned that in Connecticut, an under-age girl can have an abortion without the knowledge of her parents or guardian. Under current state laws, a young girl would need a parent’s permission to have her ears pierced, get a learner’s permit or receive a Tylenol tablet from a school nurse, but in the case of abortion, no permission is needed.

I also found that Connecticut does not even require counseling for 16- and 17-year-old girls who are considering abortions. Are we so foolish as to think a 14-year-old could make such a momentous decision on her own without parental involvement?

On average, more than 100 under-age girls a year come to Connecticut from Rhode Island and Massachusetts to have abortions. Those states have strict parental consent laws. How could such things happen in Connecticut?

That is not all. A few months ago, I heard about the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). This act, if it became the law of the land, would force religious-affiliated hospitals and medical staff to provide abortion services, even if such actions violate their religious beliefs.

Recently, President Obama reversed the Mexico City Policy, which was first established by President Reagan. This policy stated that federal tax money would not be sent to nongovernmental agencies supporting and/or funding abortions in foreign countries. With this reversal, our tax dollars now can pay for abortions in foreign countries.

So, what started off as my personal indifference to the pro-life movement has led me to learn about infants who are discarded in hospitals, teenagers who have abortions without their parents’ knowledge, Catholic hospitals that are forced to provide abortion services and Catholic medical staff who are forced to participate in abortions.

May I ask what’s next? Maybe euthanasia for the old and infirm so they do not use up valuable medical resources is the next great idea. After all, we went from a woman’s right to chose in 1973 to discarding infants in the late 1990s.

You may be thinking, "This is insane! How did all of this happen?" It happened because of indifference. This is what happens when good people do nothing. This is what happens when good people put trust in others to do the right thing and then fail to notice what those entrusted people are actually doing. This is what happens when people tell themselves that they don’t need to be concerned about pro-life issues. This is what happens when rank-and-file Catholics give up, stop arguing passionately, concede defeat and go into hibernation.

Unless we want our children and grandchildren to be raised in an increasingly insane society in which values and rights (including those of the unborn) are trampled, we need to wake up. We need to engage in arguments about the pro-life cause.

Talk to your teenagers, talk to your spouses, talk to other people of faith and spread the word about this insanity. Expose it for what it is.

The passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973 ushered in an era of unprecedented irresponsibility. A country that does not respect life is on a very slippery slope. A country whose citizens don’t stop and think about morality is in trouble. A country whose citizens are indifferent about protecting the weak and defenseless cannot have continued success.

John DeFeo is a member of St. Mary’s Advocacy Task Force of St. Mary Parish in Milford.