January 18, 2015
"Abortion On Demand: How DID That Happen?"
By Catherine Contreras, Respect Life Coordinator of St. Therese
The abortion lobby, their media lapdogs, and pro-abortion politicians have been able to continue the deception that there is a "right" to take innocent human life in the womb because of a scam perpetrated by the United States Supreme Court in 1973. On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all laws in every state that, in any way, had once protected the lives of developing unborn children. It effectively legalized procured abortion, in all 50 states, for the full nine months of pregnancy, even for social and economic reasons.
The highest court in the United States manufactured out of whole cloth a new, basic constitutional "right" for women to take the life of the child in their womb, grounding it in an interpretation of the "right to privacy". This manufactured right to take innocent human life in the womb utterly ignores the fundamental Human Right to Life which is inscribed in the Natural Moral Law and articulated in those words found in the Declaration of Independence affirming that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Beginning with the Right to Life.
The majority of the US Supreme Court, in an act of judicial arrogance, maintained that this so called "right" could be found in "the penumbra" (the word literally means shadow region) of the Constitutional right to privacy - which it had elaborated upon only a few years earlier. Now, that right to privacy was "broad enough to encompass a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy. "The Court stated that the law protects only "legal persons" and that "legal personhood does not exist prenatally." It attempted to prohibit any legal restrictions on abortion in the first three months, effectively jettisoning long entrenched precedent in both State and Federal Court Opinions and legislation. No restrictions from then on, until viability - except those needed to make the procedure safer for the mother. Abortion was allowed until birth if one licensed physician judged it necessary for the mother's "health" (Roe vs. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court 410 U.S. 113, 1973 and Doe vs. Bolton, U.S. Supreme Court 410 U.S. 179, 1973).
But didn't the Supreme Court say that abortion could be proscribed by States? "State regulation protective of fetal life after viability has both logical and biological justifications: and if a state is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may proscribe abortion during that period except when it is necessary to preserve the life or HEALTH of the mother." Hmm, that looks like it allows states to prohibit abortion after viability, right?
Not so fast! Here's, the scam. In Roe, the Court chose to omit any definition of the word "HEALTH." The same day they issued Roe, they also issued the "companion decision." That's where two or more decisions on a common subject are released which must be read together to get the full effect of the ruling. The companion to Roe is the case of Doe v. Bolto—and within it is found the definition for HEALTH: "...in the light of all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age-relevant to the well-being of the patient. ALL these factors may relate to HEALTH" (Doe vs. Bolton, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 70-40, IV, p.11). The "HEALTH" definition effectively makes abortion on demand, abortion for any reason, the current state of the law.
"Maternity or additional offspring may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by childcare. "There is also the distress for all concerned associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically or otherwise, to care for it. ”In other cases the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors that the woman and the responsible physician will consider in consultation" (Roe vs. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 70-18, p. 38, Jan. 1973).
The Supreme Court of the United States thereby created the illusion of a compromise by ruling in Roe that the states can prohibit abortion under certain circumstances unless the pregnancy threatens the woman's life or health. They then buried within Doe a definition of HEALTH so broad that it covers any circumstance in which a woman might be pregnant, thus making abortion legal all nine months. Legislation aimed at restricting abortion is often rendered meaningless with this expansive "Health" exception included in it. "Thus, the [Judiciary] Committee observes that no significant legal barriers of any kind whatsoever exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy."
January 20, 2015
A Rally Cry Was Heard in Los Angeles, California
“Build a Culture of Life! A Culture That Loves Life and That Defends Life!”
By Catherine Contreras - Respect Life Coordinator
The kind-hearted, ardent voice of Archbishop Gomez was heard by over ten thousand people at the OneLifeLA event this past Saturday: “Build a culture of life; a culture that loves life and that defends life!” OneLifeLA is the first-of-its-kind pro-life event in southern California—organized by local Catholic dioceses and pro-life groups—where participants were challenged to take concrete steps to build a culture of Life. No matter how little, how weak, how old or young, every life matters, and every one life is priceless. Simply put, the Mission of OneLifeLA is to unite communities and inspire positive action through an annual event that promotes the beauty and dignity of every one human life--from conception to natural death.
I remember attending meetings to plan this event last year and hearing the Archdiocese team share its mission with us. At first, I admit, I was skeptical about it as we are at a pivotal time in the building of a culture of life in our communities. There are approximately 220 abortions each day in Southern California. Just outside of Downtown Los Angeles is LA’s “abortion ground zero”—with NINE abortion facilities within one mile. So I asked Kathleen Buckley Domingo (the LIFE Coordinator at the Office of Life, Justice & Peace at Archdiocese of Los Angeles), “How was OneLifeLA going to address the many needs in the battle for Life and the enormity of the necessity to fight to end legal abortion, while also accomplishing the mission of OneLife?”
She responded, “Ending the horror of abortion is paramount. But trying to end abortion in isolation is a losing battle. When we talk with a young woman about making the choice for life for her unborn baby, we are starting too late. If she does not first value her own life, how is she able to understand the infinite value of the unborn life she is carrying? If a woman knows the pregnancy she carries is a baby, a full-fledged member of the human community, how could she possibly seek to end its life? For those of us inside the pro-life movement, no amount of economic hardship or domestic unrest can justify that action. But this is the wrong point at which to start the conversation. To many women and men in our culture, a discussion of the value of their unborn children’s lives is meaningless in principle. They have been brought up with the paradigm that life has no inherent value, but can only have value assigned to it. Women who choose abortion knowingly are doing so because the culture has given them permission to do so. In fact, they have been told that they alone are the arbiters of whether the life of their unborn child has value or not. What a responsibility! And this rhetoric, this cultural permission to deem some lives unworthy has huge ramifications in every social context.”
I have to agree with Kathleen. As a Counselor, and I’m sure many other Unplanned Pregnancy Counselors will agree, I feel that the unplanned pregnancy is part of a much larger problem; for example, fear of rejection from the father or from her family, economic hardship, isolation, emotional or physical abuse, etc. Mostly, the mom feels that she has No Choice but to abort her baby. She feels isolated from a solution to make a choice for Life. We—all of us!—have to change the conversation from moms saying, “I have no choice” to our saying, “We will help you make the choice for Life!”
In the battle for the dignity of every one life, ProLifers recognize the value and need for those who work in the many ministries serving life. What would we do without the collaborative efforts of Social Workers, Homeless Ministries, Detention Ministries, agencies serving the poor, the abused, the elderly, youth, the victims of human trafficking and foster care, and so many more? Yes, ending abortion is paramount, for without life no other rights or justice matter. That is why we continue our focus to end legal abortion.
As Archbishop Gomez reminds us, “God’s vision is whole, and it can never be partial. God cannot see some lives as worthy and some as less worthy. For God, every life is sacred and beautiful and filled with possibility—a life He chose to create, a treasure that is precious. So our vision, too, must be whole and never partial. Respect for life means that there are no exceptions to our love.” This is the vision for OneLifeLA.
In addition to presentations by public figures, OneLifeLA featured local stories of life-affirming courage in the face of difficult circumstances. These stories illustrate the beauty and dignity of every human life, particularly lives at their most vulnerable.
Actor and ProLife activist Eduardo Verastegui talked about the importance of choosing life, saying “Everyday women struggle with a pregnancy decision right here in our own neighborhoods and our own families.” David Bereit, National Director for 40 Days for Life, shared, “We are here at One LifeLA, and what I want you to know is that one life, your one life, can make a profound world-changing difference in the lives of those around you.” As most people in pro-life ministry and Unplanned Pregnancy Counselors will agree, just being there, being ready to offer love, compassion, and help when it is most needed, is a world-changing difference for those in need. My arms have hugged crying pregnant moms, uncertain of the future, crying dads whose babies were about to be aborted, whom they couldn’t save, crying post-abortive moms and dads, grandparents, friends grieving from their abortions, etc. I’ve also held crying moms in my arms, saying “Thank You for being there.” I’ve held precious babies, their little hands wrapped around my finger. All of us are called by God to help our brothers and sisters. How God calls us is unique to others, but as we read in Mass this past Sunday (1/18/15), “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Let us all listen to God
and His call to each of us, to help each one life have dignity and respect—from the womb to natural death.
Jessica Adair shared her story of facing an unexpected pregnancy that interfered with her career and life plans. Thanks to the unconditional support from a local pregnancy center, she and her husband chose life for their unborn child, their son. She said, “… seeing my baby’s heart, it hit home for me that he was very alive.” Kathleen Buckley Domingo, Life Coordinator for the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace, expressed that, “We really want people to walk away, clearly knowing what that next step is going to be in a culture of life.”
After the OneLifeLA presentation, I spoke with two national ProLife leaders—both of whom live in the Los Angeles area. I asked them what their thoughts were now that L.A. has its own Walk for Life. One of them, Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, the President of Hispanics for Life, as well as the co-host of Catholic View for Women on EWTN, said, “The OneLife LA event was an impressive witness of the pro-life heart that beats in L.A., a city devastated by the ravages of the culture of death. L.A. remains one of the top cities for abortion in our nation, and yet the thousands present at OneLife showed a renewed enthusiasm and hope for change in the tide. Many Spanish-language signs were visible among the many Latino families that attended the event from all over Southern California, a wonderful affront to the targeting of their unborn children by the abortion industry. A sleeping giant is waking up indeed! The walk culminated at a stage in Grand Park, a location directly in front of City Hall. With prayers, songs of life, and miraculous testimonies of the human spirit's will to live, we declared to our city officials that we are taking back our city, named after Our Lady Queen of Angels—taking it back for Christ, Our Lady, and for Life!"
The other ProLife leader, Kristina Garza of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, said, “The people of California are sending the rest of the nation a resounding message: We are against abortion and are ready for our state and national leaders to take action. We are tired of our people being targeted for extermination. We are tired of being ignored by our political leaders. We are tired of abortion."
Anne Hennessey, the Executive Director of the Right-to-Life League of Southern California, shared with me why it was important to the RTLLSC that they served as a co-sponsor of OneLifeLA: “Because this was the first-ever large scale event promoting the dignity of human life in Los Angeles, we saw it as a vehicle to build a culture of life in our little corner of the world here in Southern California. The number of people who gave up their Saturday to come and march in this event and listen to the speakers and attend the concert was inspiring. It was such a joyful event with so many people who value the sanctity of life. It was wonderful to experience this with all these people of one heart. I spoke with David Bereit as the event was concluding and he told me that of the three largest pro-life events in the country, California has two of them—one in San Francisco and the one here Los Angeles. So when people tell you in terms of life issues that California isn’t even on the map, don’t buy it. It is!”
Finally, I’d like to share the full transcript of the speech given by Archbishop Jose Gomez at the event:
“So my friends, we are being called to build a culture of life; a culture that loves life and that defends life. A culture where every human life is welcome and wanted and cared for. Every life, at every stage and every condition, from the moment life is conceived in the womb until the moment life reaches its natural end in death.
"Pope Francis tells us very simply and very beautifully that to be human means to care for one another. And he says that each of us has a duty to protect life courageously and lovingly in all its phases. This duty, my friends, to protect life begins with the life of the child in the womb. There is no one more innocent, no one more defenseless in our society than the unborn child. So we need to protect the unborn.
“That means ending legal abortion. It also means reaching out in love to support the mother who carries the unborn child in her womb. We have to do it. The duty to protect life means that we need to stand with all those who are suffering and exploited and vulnerable in our society, especially those who are elderly and terminally ill. We need to protect them against the false compassion of Euthanasia. Which suggests that the sick would be better off dead than to be loved and cared for. What a tragedy, isn’t it?
"So let us celebrate the beauty and dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death. Let us make OneLifeLA the reality of every day in LA and all of Southern California. Let us go out and tell our neighbors, our friends, the people we work with, that life is beautiful. That every life matters to God. That every human life matters to us. And here, in the City of the Angels, let us ask the Queen of the Angels, Mary the mother of Jesus and mother of us all, to help us all stand up for the beauty and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. May God bless all of you and your families.”
Let’s continue our common witness and our common work. OneLifeLA is a commitment to building a culture of life right here in LA!
January 22, 2015
Hey, Main Stream Media! Do Your Job!
By Catherine Contreras, Respect Life Coordinator of St. Therese
On the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States, it was interesting that almost every cable TV news channel has done a segment on whether the New England Patriots football team intentionally used footballs in Sunday's game that had less air pressure than required. That would have been cheating. Were they cheating? Geesh! That's their lead story??
Yet, in comparison, there was almost no reporting of the annual March for Life in D.C. This march drew over 500,000 people. Yes, over 500,000 people marched for life, peacefully witnessing to life. It was incredible to see so many pro-lifers stand for our weakest and most vulnerable on the anniversary of Roe v Wade in Washington, D.C.
In the good ol’ USA, this is the largest annual march. Yet almost no coverage! Again and again we see the media's unprofessional bias against people who understand that legal murder of innocent humans is wrong. A basic understanding of biology backs up the pro-life position. Whatever the mother is, that is what her offspring will be. What is offspring? The young of the animal. What does fetus mean? The young of the animal. If the mother is human, her offspring will be human. Killing innocent humans is wrong, especially baby humans.
Pro-life means loving both mother and child. Seriously, we can and we do help both mother and child. Ignoring the fact that women grieve after their abortion is not ProWoman. Denying the humanity of her child, her offspring is not ProWoman. Main stream media, please love women! Stop ignoring the many women who are grieving, sharing their stories of pain and regret from abortion. Stop withholding vital information from women about the truth of abortion trauma. Stop ignoring the women who are ProLife.
There is a new generation of ProLifers out there. They are the youth. They are vibrant. They are strong. They are growing in numbers every year! Why? They grew up seeing the Ultrasound images of babies in the womb. They grew up hearing the heartbeat of the babies in the womb. They are dedicated to the Truth of the Humanity of the Unborn and know that killing innocent human beings is wrong. They know that we can love both mother and child. And guess what, main stream media? They will be in the work force doing the job you have neglected to do.
We've all seen the stories and headlines when main stream media is against the murder of innocent humans. We've seen the leading story coverage of outraged people protesting in the streets against the murder of innocent humans. Well, what about the baby humans? Main stream media, what about the lives of these innocent humans? Over 500,000 people Marched for Life in Washington DC, but there was barely any coverage.
Click here (X) to see a short video of some ProLife Marchers from Louisiana at the 2015 March in Washington, D.C.