An action plan, in the face of Gosnell and other atrocities

by Rebekah L. 

Editor’s Note: This article was first published at Family Missions Company and is reprinted here with permission.

I don’t usually write about controversial topics.  When it comes to confrontation in general, I run the other way.  And abortion is at the top of the list for controversy.  But the Holy Spirit and a no-nonsense homily have prompted me to speak up.

gosnell-questionWhen the Kermit Gosnell trial hit the social media world, I heard the facts: Third-trimester abortions.  Women abused and even killed.  Tiny spinal cords snipped. Jars of severed baby feet.  I was shocked.  At the brutality, yes.  But also at my reaction.  Or lack of reaction.  I skimmed my Facebook newsfeed, browsed the articles, and went about life as usual.  Then my sluggish conscience pricked me.  More like slammed me into a brick wall.  I had just read about the murder of innocent babies and five minutes later was skipping along to make lunch and run errands.  Why wasn’t my heart aching with sorrow and righteous anger?  How could I so casually hear such gruesome truths?  What had happened to me?

A Hard, Desensitized Heart

My heart had grown hard.  Desensitized.  Blinded to the reality of abortion.  Maybe you’re like me.  You tell yourself that pro-life ministry is great…for some people.  You believe abortion is wrong, but don’t join the active outcry.  When you’re really honest, you get a little fed up with all the pro-life emails and posts.  Your mind can’t process statistics like “over 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade” and “4,000 babies aborted each day.”

I remember the day I learned what abortion is.  My mom and I were driving home from dropping my brother off at soccer practice.  The spring sky was clear blue and the newly sprouting fields unfolded into the distance.  A beautiful day for such an ugly lesson.  “Sometimes when a woman is pregnant, she doesn’t want her baby,” my mom explained.  “A doctor uses metal tools or a special vacuum to kill the baby inside of the womb.  Those little babies are thrown away like trash.”  I felt like crying, throwing up, and hiding in a corner.  My palms poured sweat and my mind reeled.  Images of dismembered babies and bloody surgical instruments haunted my imagination.  Abortion was clearly evil.

The Heart of the Issue: LIFE

Somewhere over the years, the term ‘abortion’ became clouded.  It was disguised as a voting issue rather than an attack on the sanctity of human life.  I occasionally prayed outside abortion clinics and wore pro-life tee shirts because this was what ‘good Catholics’ did.  But my instinctive horror grew dull.  My heart began to atrophy.  The evil of abortion was hidden behind biased news reports and op-ed columns.  It was a social topic dictated by policies and legislation.  Pro-life bumper stickers and rallies.  Heated conversations between opinionated coworkers and friends.  This was a constant national debate that I was tuning out.

But abortion isn’t about politics.  It’s not a social issue.

It’s a moral one.

About life and death.

Good and evil.

The mainstream media turned a blind eye to the Gosnell case.  But how often have I remained silent about abortion?  Before we point fingers, let’s take an honest look into our own hearts.  What do we find there—stone or flesh?  I won’t have to answer for the media’s inactivity, but I will be held responsible for continuing in my sins of omission.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who bravely opposed the Nazis during WWII, wrote that, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Our Action Plan

In the homily that helped to awaken my lapsed conscience, Fr. Bryce Sibley outlines seven steps of action:

  1. Educate ourselves on the reality of abortion and contraception.
  2. Stop equivocating about semantics.  Call a spade a spade—abortion is bloody murder, not a right or a choice.
  3. Be passionately vocal, especially on social media.
  4. Get angry!  Anger is the correct response to injustice; it compels us to act. [Of course, violent action is never the answer.]
  5. Stop supporting pro-abortion politicians.  We need to be single-issue voters on the issue of murdering babies.
  6. Pray.  Laws will change only with the conversion of hearts and minds.  Beg for God’s mercy.
  7. Show genuine support for women.  Mothers who are pregnant, scared, and alone don’t need judgment or condemnation.  They need love.

Each of us has a part to play in the fight for life.  Some are called to counsel women outside abortion clinics.  Some can share their own stories of brokenness, healing, and forgiveness.  Others will enter the political arena.  Many battle the powers of darkness through prayer and fasting.  What will YOU do?  Everyone must defend life, especially in its most vulnerable form.  I’m still asking God to show me how I can join the fight.  The first step is allowing Him to change my heart.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  -Ezekiel 36:26

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