EDITORIAL: The cause of life is gaining new followers and new momentum.
The Editors, Apr. 7, 2019
Poignant, angelic voices filled the halls of the Illinois State Capitol in a video posted to Facebook March 20. The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times.
The youth choir from the famous St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Chicago performed in 2017 a lullaby, Lully, Lulla, Lullay, arranged by Philip Stopford and based on the Coventry Carol. In the video, young singers formed a circle beneath the cupola and gave powerful witness to the cause of life. The video, produced by Crusaders for Life, resurfaced as heated deliberations continued over several fanatical abortion bills in the Illinois Legislature.
“Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,” they sang, “Bye, bye, lully, lullay. Lullay, thou little tiny Child; Bye, bye, lully, lullay. O sisters, too, how may we do, for to preserve this day. This poor youngling for whom we do sing. Bye, bye, lully, lullay.”
The same day the video was posted to social media, a crowd of some 4,000 protesters filled the capitol to protest the abortion bills and to have their voices heard. Such was the size of the throng that the capitol police temporarily restricted access to the building because it had reached maximum capacity. The protests and the choir’s video show that the pro-life movement in the United States is as determined as ever.
And there’s ample evidence that the pro-life cause is gaining momentum: More than 300 laws have been proposed on the state level across the country to curb access to abortion, and on the federal level abortion giant Planned Parenthood for the first time is facing competition from viable health providers who do not include the slaughter of unborn children as the bedrock of their business model (see page two story). But with these solid pro-life efforts underway, pro-abortion opposition is marshaling its own forces for a long and bitter fight.
The massively influential and well-funded abortion industry has reacted unquestionably — with both anger and panic — to the recent appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The fear that the recent additions to the high court might bring decisions that allow restrictions on abortion has sparked a wave of legislation that even many supporters of the “pro-choice” movement have found horrifyingly extreme. In February, the New York Legislature approved and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed one of the most brutal abortion laws in history, permitting abortion in the third trimester and writing into law what is tantamount to infanticide.
Similarly gruesome legislation has been proposed in Virginia, Vermont, New Mexico and Rhode Island, where, like New York, the Rhode Island Statehouse approved a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton and restrict all limitations on abortion after viability, essentially legalizing abortion up to the point of birth for any reason.
The Illinois bills, meanwhile, would strip away many of the medical regulations involving abortions, including a ban on partial-birth abortion, require private health insurance to fund abortions, and repeal both the state parental-notification law and the right of medical professionals to refuse to participate in abortions. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago wrote in a March 23 letter to the faithful of the archdiocese, “The end result is that an abortion could be obtained at any stage of pregnancy, including late term, for any reason and without any regulation. The law would no longer guarantee any modicum of humanity or compassion for any unborn person in Illinois, even if they are partially born.”
The new laws that will do violence to children, however, have also torn the mask away even further to reveal an industry that will tolerate no limits to the extermination of the unwanted.
The resulting conversations about abortion have caused many Americans to realize what actually happens in the procedure, and they have been left truly disgusted.
A new Marist poll released at the end of March found that an overwhelming majority of New York state residents oppose such abortion laws. According to the poll, 75% of New Yorkers oppose abortion after the fifth month of pregnancy, including 69% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 89% of Republicans. Nationally, a solid majority of Americans oppose third-trimester abortions (71%-25%), according to the same poll.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates, also sensing a new opportunity due to the Supreme Court’s composition, are trying every possible legal avenue to protect the unborn. Alabama’s legislature has taken up a bill that would ban all abortions in the state save for cases where the mother faces “serious health risk.” The Georgia Legislature also just approved the latest so-called heartbeat bill that would ban abortions after doctors are able to detect a fetal heartbeat, around six weeks into a pregnancy.
Other states have passed similar heartbeat bills, including Mississippi and Kentucky, while other states, such as Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas, are likely to pass them, as well, despite mixed views even among the pro-life community as to their legal sustainability and prudence.
And then there was the shocking success of the small independently made film Unplanned, based on the true story of former abortion facility director Abby Johnson, who had a dramatic change of heart (and career, as she now helps others who want to leave the abortion industry do so) after actually assisting a doctor with an abortion.
Despite little support from Hollywood and an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, Unplanned far exceeded its anticipated box-office prospects. Like the militant bills being passed by some state legislatures, the film has sparked conversation and given new opportunities for pro-life supporters to speak with charity and love to a culture that often misunderstands or has been misinformed about what abortion actually entails. Archbishop Joseph Naumann, head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote in an op-ed March 28 for The Wall Street Journal, “Unplanned wasn’t produced to shame women who have had abortions or to condemn those who perform them. It’s about redemption. Ms. Johnson herself had two abortions and is a beautiful example of how God’s endless mercy is available to all who ask for it. … Perhaps Abby Johnson’s courage in coming forward will change our nation from one that embraces violent, R-rated solutions for unplanned pregnancies to one that sees each human life as a gift to be celebrated.”
Yet we should not underestimate the reach and determination of the abortion industry. Twitter suspended briefly and without cause the account of the film Unplanned on the very weekend of its release, and, unsurprisingly, Hollywood celebrities called for a boycott against Georgia to punish the state for its commitment to life.
With each boycott, each maddened tweet and every new law that would enshrine infanticide and weaken further the search for the common good, more conversations will take place, and more eyes and hearts will be opened. Now, more than ever, men and women committed to protecting unborn children and helping women in times of crisis must stand together.
In the end, life will triumph.
Pray for the mothers making these fateful decisions, and pray for those who are trapped in the culture of death. Pray especially for the unborn children being lost every day. “This poor youngling for whom we do sing. Bye, bye, lully, lullay.”