Abby Johnson used to be a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. There’s a scene in her book, “Unplanned” (Tyndale Momentum, $14.99) where she describes a nun weeping outside her clinic. It caught her attention because a religious sister in full habit wasn’t something they saw every day (or, in her case, ever). And it prompted the obvious question: What on earth are they doing within the walls of the clinic that would cause someone — and someone who dedicated her life to God and service to his created people — to weep?
If I didn’t already believe in guardian angels, the night of Jan. 22 alone would have convinced me. Moving around Manhattan while on the Freedom Tour — a memorial to those, including the unborn, who were murdered in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack — and looking up more than a time or two, somehow I never noticed the Freedom Tower lit up pink to celebrate abortion. It was as if my guardian angel had spared me from the sight.
That day — the 46th anniversary of when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion — New York delved deeper into the culture of death. There were cheers in the statehouse as the so-called Reproductive Health Act passed. Abortion is now fundamental to the Empire State, constitutionally enshrined, stripping protections away for babies who might survive an abortion.
For a number of years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had failed to get his abortion-expansion plan through. Now it’s law and his legacy with which he presumably wants to use to be the Democrat to take back the White House. Yet, if over a decade of Marist polling commissioned by the Knights of Columbus is to be believed, we’re a country that doesn’t prefer abortion — even if it appears otherwise in my home state — but a country that wants restrictions and isn’t even fully aware of the extent of abortion’s legality in the United States. So it would seem an unwise move for Cuomo, unless he’s betting on continued ignorance.
Had I seen the pink lights that night, I probably would have made a scene somewhere akin to that crying nun.
This Jan. 22 hit me hard, and I think that’s in no small part because I saw an advanced rough cut of the upcoming movie version of “Unplanned.” “Unplanned” tells the story of how a well-intentioned young woman bought into Planned Parenthood’s talking points about how abortion helps women, how it’s a choice, how it’s painless. But she came to know better by not looking away from what they were doing. It was an ultrasound-guided abortion with which she was called to assist that ended her time there. She could not unsee a baby in a mother’s womb trying to get away from the instrument of death that was coming for him.
On the evening of Jan. 22, I was not alone in feeling defeated. Cuomo, who is a son and father and purports to be Catholic, brought this about, and, ultimately, no amount of protest was going to change his mind. But we’re still here, all of us, who see the horror of such a law.
So what are we doing? What more can we do?
The governor may have the keys to the lights on the Freedom Tower, but we’re here to give glory to God, to protect the innocents, to help them flourish. This is our work. Now is our time, whatever the law. Whatever the sickness, we have a healer. We are his arms and legs and have his heart. Our job is to keep bringing him to people. Our job is to be his instruments to save lives and souls. This is life-giving. And this can bring an end to the ignorance.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review and co-author of “How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice” (OSV, $17.95).