I was listening to President Joe Biden’s inaugural address about unity and tolerance when I got a phone call from a dear friend. There was a young woman with a 1:30 appointment at the abortion clinic where I try to pray the Rosary daily. Would I go there and remind her, when she approaches, that she is loved and there are people who want to help? And not just any people.
I recently did my official video training with Sidewalk Advocates for Life to be a sidewalk counselor. Should I ever have the blessing of offering options for life to a woman walking into an abortion clinic, for her and her baby, I plan to hail an Uber for the two of us to the Visitation Mission of the Sisters of Life, right near the tip of Manhattan. These women of God are beacons of faith, hope and love, seemingly bursting with joy in the most comforting and welcoming ways. They love her, and they want to help her.
I arrived outside the clinic at 1 p.m. and I stayed until a little after 2 p.m. She never showed up. But many young women did. Girls, really. So young and so scared, some of them seemed. Two seemed like they were being pressured by their boyfriends. One seemed to perk up when a dear Fellowship of Catholic University Students missionary offered her “help and free housing” — he had a Sisters of Life brochure in his hand, but her boyfriend would have nothing of it, clear from his glare at her.
We argue about abortion as a political matter. Defund Planned Parenthood! And, of course, I want to — but that’s not happening anytime soon given it’s in the majority in Washington, D.C., now. As important as the law is, with Biden promising to meet the demands of the abortion industry, there’s so much beyond politics that can be done.
I fear we have become comfortable with abortion. Even those of us who oppose it. Do we wake up every day and beg God to work miracles of life during the day? Do we pray for scared pregnant women as we pray for our own intentions? How many people even know that the Sisters of Life exist?
If you are pregnant and alone, if you are being pressured to get an abortion, they will help. They have a network of co-workers they can tap into, wherever you are. We need to support them, because they are instruments of God’s healing grace, not only for individual lives but for our nation, for our culture.
There is this poison in our midst that infects everything. That violence this summer? The violence at the U.S. Capitol? It can all be traced back to abortion. Pope Paul VI, unfortunately, saw it all coming and his warning wasn’t heeded. People in the Church resisted his prophetic words about what contraception would do to the human person and our relations with one another. It’s not just about sex. It’s about our very souls and the soul, so to speak, of our land.
There is something appropriately distinct about the March for Life largely going virtually this year. It’s almost a half-century. We march every year, and there is something almost too familiar about it, as hopeful as it always is. This year, the silent screams beckon: What more can we do to help make abortion implausible? How can we nourish a life-giving culture?
Joe Biden’s unity words seemed a bit of a lie as he couldn’t get through his first week in the White House without reiterating promised extremes on abortion. Not surprising, but disappointing all the same. But we can do so much more for life. Go to sistersoflife.org and be inspired. Find your local women’s care centers. Pray. Every day, do something to help a culture of life and civilization of love grow. Leaving it all to politics is a cop-out.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and editor-at-large of National Review.