The following is an article post from Regnum Christi, written on January 26th, 2018. To find out more visit their website here
So often when asked about how you live your pro-life convictions, a few responses come up. The main ones are going to events like the March or praying outside an abortion clinic, writing your congressperson, and helping the local crisis pregnancy center.
Regnum Christi members live their pro-life beliefs through their family witness, and by sharing the truth about the dignity of life and of the human person in the way they form apostles in all of their evangelization efforts.
There are so many other creative ways to be pro-life: here are 12 ideas we got from being together with the Church during the March for Life.
- Talk about It
Nicole of the Susan B. Anthony List mentioned how important it was to talk to your neighbors, “it doesn’t have to be hard; it doesn’t have to be intimidating. There’s a lot that people don’t realize: like Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton actually legalized abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy… Did you know that we’re one of seven countries in the world that allow abortion on demand after five months of pregnancy? The culture is pro-life… the vast majority of Americans are not OK with the status quo.”
Rehumanize International tries to present the pro-life message to people with different philosophies. C.J. Williams noted, “It is important to be able to speak someone’s language when trying to reach them with the principle that human life is intrinsically valuable.” She explained how not understanding them can sound by way of analogy, “You go to Mozambique and you speak English and they don’t understand you.”
Fr. Matthew Schneider, LC, noted that we can be pro-life on social media. He stated, “Most people are in the middle and can be moved. Stories move them more than arguments and are less confrontational. There are so many stories of great things those saved from abortion have done. Posting one of them starts a conversation without starting an argument.”
- Create an Environment to Help Pregnant Women and Moms
Several colleges at the Students for Life conference mentioned new initiatives in recent months to help support pregnant women on campus. At the Students for Life Conference, the biggest standing ovation was when Madeline Runkles came on stage. Madeline is the one who wrote a Washington Post opinion piece after feeling shunned by her Christian school for being pregnant and encouraging schools not treat young woman choosing life so harshly.
Emily at the University of Michigan spoke about an initiative fundraising for a scholarship for a new mother, which they are awarding to a woman giving birth in February. They’ve even arranged babysitting for the first 8 weeks when that mother has class from among the students in pro-life club. She values this, “Because it shows real compassion for real people who are struggling with real problems like child care and money.”
Colleen Connolly from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond explained how they helped change a student guide: “I was able to edit the official document that VCU health gives students on campus to women when they get a positive pregnancy test. This paper has… the three options of abortion, adoption, and keeping the child. What the paper didn’t have was a lot of resources that were pro-life, resources such as OptionLine to help them make this choice… There are a lot of options out there to help students make the choice for life. We just need to be more educated, be more passionate, and be more ready to have the resources on hand to let these women know they are not alone.”
- Showing the Value of the Disabled
Right now in the USA, 2/3 of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the womb are aborted. Some Down Syndrome parents and people with Down Syndrome Marched to show their beautiful lives. One group had two signs reading, “Celebrating the gift of Down Syndrome,” and “Abortion is not the cure for Down Syndrome.” Another group called Keep Infants with Down Syndrome (KIDS) had young people with Down Syndrome carrying signs joyfully.
Other disabilities also matter as this woman in a wheelchair held a sign, “Life is intersectional to all human rights!” Abortion can be targeted against the disabled, and is thus a form of discrimination. Another woman was shocked when her brother and sister-in-law had a test done on their unborn baby for a genetic condition she had and would have aborted if the baby had that condition. She continues, “[They] had nothing to say when I asked if they thought I should be dead.” Abortion creates an environment that devalues the disabled and valuing the disabled tend to reverse this attitude.
At the Rally and Mass for Life, just before the March, the Archdiocese of Washington concretely helped the disabled by having a sign language interpreter on the corner of the screen the whole time to help the deaf.
- Welcome Those Saved from Abortion in the Church
Several new programs have been designed to help Churches welcome mothers and children who might have considered abortion.
Care-Net runs Crisis Pregnancy Centers but wants to go further. Kathy LoBuglio explains, “Pregnancy is not a nine-month event. Crisis pregnancy centers are there to help women and men making pregnancy choices, to help them make a life-affirming choice. But many times women and men… are thinking about 18 years.” In response, she says, “The Church needs to step in and have a ministry for those people who are considering abortion. Then after they make that decision, the Church needs to be the organization and support structure for long-term discipleship.”
Embrace Grace lives by its slogan, “No single woman should walk alone.” Jessica Russo explained their mission: “We exist with the mission of equipping the local Church to love and support single and pregnant girls.” They organize a 12-week program about identity and value that culminates in a baby shower for the new mothers.
- Promote Fertility Awareness
Dr. Robert Motley, MD of FACTS (Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science) notes how so often the discussion about fertility treats it as a problem. Many physicians are taught to assume Fertility Awareness (also known as NFP) is ineffective: however, they’re basing this on published information that’s 40 years old which wouldn’t fly anywhere else in healthcare. FACTS found many of the current methods are quite effective – well over 90% – in real use, which is similar to oral contraceptives. He suggests women get informed about the methods to be educated consumers who can either get help or a referral from their doctors.
- Treating Everyone with Dignity
Bridget who’s currently at Franciscan University of Steubenville noted, “One thing that I think is important for us as pro-lifers is by visiting the elderly in nursing homes and caring for their life and their dignity.” Bridget was part of Challenge earlier and this is often an apostolate young woman in this youth ministry engage in.
Laura Kiziort with the American Life League gave a simple way to be pro-life: “I think you can be creative with pro-life if you treat other people in your own personal life with respect and dignity. That might mean cooking for a single mom or helping out a large family with their laundry and cleaning… If you pray at an abortion clinic that’s great; but then if you go home and treat your brothers and sisters with disrespect, you’re not being pro-life.”
- Defending the Status of IVF Embryos
One of the new frontiers of pro-life legal action is what happens to frozen embryos when a couple who’s done IVF breaks up or similar. Embryo defense is trying to get a law passed to require consent of both parents before destroying embryos created via IVF. The current law allows one party to kill “their portion” of the embryos, even if the other party objects. Sasha McQueen explains: “Embryos should not be considered property and right now they’re considered property in all the states except Louisiana.”
- Focus on Virtue
Marriana Leach of The Culture Project, a program based on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, noted the importance of virtue. She exclaimed, “Virtue is what we need to restore the culture.”
Kimberly Bowler of Pure in Heart America in Boston spoke about virtue too: “Our mission is to proclaim the virtue of chastity and to uphold the sanctity of human life for all ages.”
- Provide Medical Help Including Perinatal Hospice
Save the Storks provides mobile medical units that provide pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Since they are redesigned buses, these 54 units can park outside a high school or on a college campus to provide woman with the tests they want, while offering them pro-life resources to help save their babies.
A creative form of medical help that is perinatal hospice, which is for families with children who won’t survive long after birth. A woman from Tepeyac OB/GYN explains their program: “We allow woman to have time with their baby whether it be minutes, hours, days or weeks.” She says, “It honors times between moms, and whole families, and their babies who have been diagnosed less than ideal outcome.” She went on to explain how they do a studio photo shoot and how they offer a stuffed animal that has the babies heart rate recorded to be activated by a press.
- Art and Music
Rebekah Martinez recorded a pro-life musical track called “We Stand” about the fight to help women who feel alone. She thinks music is a wonderful way to spread the message because, as she says, “People listen to this music; they hear it and they hear the message.”
Mark from Exodus Forty explains their evangelization through apparel. “The way we decided to attack what it is to be pro-life is to go to the youth,” he said, “Our idea is using the apparel that we as young people just love to walk around with.” They had a wide variety of clothes with Christian and pro-life messages artfully printed on them.
- Targeting Pregnant and Abortion-Minded Women Online
Online our messages often go out haphazardly to everyone. However, the Human Coalition has discovered how to target women who might consider abortion through search engine marketing. Lauren Enriquez explains, “Human Coalition is a technology-driven pro-life non-profit and our goal is to rescue children by extending compassionate care to their mothers.” They find these women online then give them individual help.
- Help Those in the Abortion Industry Get Out
It can be tough for those in the industry to get out: if your last job was nurse at an abortion clinic, it’s harder to be hired than if you were a nurse at hospital or family doctor. And Then There Were None helps those in the industry get out. Nicola states they’ve helped 419 abortion clinic workers quit in 5 years. She explains, “We offer financial assistance, emotion support, spiritual support… We have resume services; we serve as their job hunter so we don’t stop until we find them a job.”