A New Year’s Prayer

By Kathryn Jean Lopez Published on January 3, 2024

I hate that politics and media are the main venues for discussing abortion.

As you may know, if you’ve read my column before, ending abortion is a priority for me. As we see headline after headline about abortion — which I’m aware I’m adding to, here — I wish we could focus not only on the resources available to help young mothers, but the help available to women dealing with the repercussions of having an abortion.

Adoption should be considered a noble option. There’s a lot of pushback about that, too. Women shouldn’t be compelled to have babies to provide for couples struggling with infertility, some say. I agree. If we are raising the possibility of adoption to a woman who is already pregnant, however, we are discussing not ending a life, but providing one, for both the child and the adoptive parents. There is no question that birth mothers are extraordinarily self-sacrificial. They are heroines. To courageously continue a pregnancy and let your child be raised by another mother, in another family, should be honored as the beautiful choice it is. We — everyone in a birth mother’s life — should also make sure that is also a choice. It’s painful and must not be coerced.

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A New Year’s prayer of mine is that those of us who disagree on abortion could come together to make sure that women don’t feel that abortion is their only choice.

As for the mainstream pro-life movement, our whole point has always been that there are two patients who need to be cared for in a pregnancy, who should be loved and treated as people.

The Cruel Reality

We lived through a pandemic in which we were repeatedly told to follow the science. When it comes to abortion, we are certainly not doing that. Perhaps your daughter sent the latest sonogram of your grandchild by email. Maybe she and her husband have a printout on their refrigerator. This technology is nothing new, and quite clear. When someone who is pro-life tries to advocate for the voiceless unborn, it is because of that obviously developing life, not because we want to insist women be birthing vessels.

If you’ve ever spent time outside an abortion clinic, you will see too many teenage women going in for and coming out after abortions — some of them surgical, some of them in progress, by pills. Most abortions in America today happen via pills. A longtime prominent pro-life advocate has been predicting for years now that the abortion clinic will become a relic, due to the increased viability of chemically induced abortions that can be carried out at home.

“Unplanned,” a movie released a few years ago about a Planned Parenthood director who left the industry, was rated R because of blood — primarily in a bathroom during a chemical abortion. That reality is cruelty to women. And a prompt for our consciences.

We Must Do Better

We need to do better for families and single moms after children are born — this is also a place where people who differ on abortion policy can meet. We also need to insist that children not languish in foster care. This, too, should be common ground beyond the same old ideological silos.

For now, as a year ends and another begins, I want to emphasize that it’s a shame that this all gets debated in public and isn’t more of a neighbor-to-neighbor story of love and support — and that the positive messages of the fight are getting buried in rhetoric and controversy.

 

Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York, and is on the board of the University of Mary. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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