The truth of abortion is so grisly it can strike us silent and motionless, especially in light of recent revelations such as those from the Kermit Gosnell trial and undercover Center for Medical Progress videos.
After reading things like Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer’s book “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer,” which is out January 24, how can you continue to lead a “normal” life?
It’s important to reaffirm the importance of vocation. God did not intend us all to be Sisters of Life or Priests for Life (or even Lila Rose, for that matter), any more than he wanted us all to be Saint Teresa of Calcutta. But there is still much we can do within the confines of our own calling, whether as mother or father, teacher, doctor, lawyer, or writer. Here are ten ways to promote life that can fit a wide variety of time constraints, skill sets, interests, and temperaments.
1. Volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center
Crisis pregnancy centers provide the best hope for stopping the scourge of abortion. Centers like the Women’s Care Center, where I served as a board member and treasurer for many years, operate on the idea “save the baby by loving and serving the mother.” While serving as an officer or a board member requires a more substantial time commitment, one I no longer can make now that I am married and have a child, there are many other opportunities to volunteer.
Some possibilities: Offer to answer hotline calls. Volunteer to teach a parenting class or to babysit during parenting classes. (Yes, crisis pregnancy centers offer continuing support for both the mother and the baby.) Stuff envelopes for a fundraising appeal. Or volunteer to serve as a witness during ultrasounds—something some states require, as I learned recently from an “ad” in my parish bulletin seeking help for a couple of hours per week.
Not sure what you can do? Contact your local center and ask if it needs volunteers. If so, find out how you can help. Consider offering to take on special projects, such as assisting with a capital campaign. This approach limits the length of your commitment and allows your service to ebb and flow with the rest of your life.
2. Donate Clothing to a Crisis Pregnancy Center
Time or temperament may limit your ability to volunteer with a crisis pregnancy center, but you can always donate your children’s used clothing and gear, such as swings or high chairs. Rather than price it, pack and then drop off the items at the local center.
3. Host a Baby Shower
Consider hosting a baby shower for the local crisis pregnancy center, joining with your friends for fun and a good cause: collecting items new moms need. Or if someone offers to host a baby shower for you, consider asking the host to include a note asking guests to bring a bag of diapers for the local center.
4. Advise a Student Pro-Life Organization
Here’s another opportunity, especially good for teachers or parents of school-aged children: Help students organize a pro-life club, and volunteer to serve as an advisor.
5. Educate on Social Media
This may be a good option for those with babies or younger children. Don’t start a “screaming” match about abortion, but post or share links of stories that illustrate the humanity of the unborn—operations on children in utero, or the baby born at two pounds heading home from the hospital. Or when a new crisis pregnancy center opens, post the link with a few words on the good it does. You never know whom you might reach.
6. Chaperone for the March for Life
Many churches and religiously affiliated high schools participate in the annual March for Life on Washington DC in January. Offer to chaperone for the trip.
7. Distribute Voter Guides
Offer to hand out voter guides at polling places on Election Day. I encountered one such volunteer for the first time just this last election. As I walked in to vote he said, amidst the “Vote X for school board” chorus, “Would you like a Right to Life voting guide?” I did! I had looked up information before hurrying out to beat the rush, but couldn’t find positions for a few candidates, and the guide answered my remaining questions.
8. Support Fundraisers
Financial assistance for those time-strapped provides another option, even if it is only a few dollars to support a student raising funds to attend the March for Life, or to purchase a rose on Mother’s Day to support the local crisis pregnancy center. Or make a quilt or carrot cake for an auction or bake sale held by a local pro-life group.
9. Light a Luminary
Remember the unborn by lighting a luminary on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This remembrance raises awareness and spurs conversations. Again, you never know whom you might touch.
While there is much we can do to support life practically, our silent prayers may reach more. Pray: For the unborn, their mothers, those fighting to help both, politicians and abortionists, and for those who aborted. Don’t just make the daily petition among the many other requests. Bang on God’s door. Beg him to enter the heart of the young woman who has an upcoming appointment for an abortion, or a family member pressuring her to abort. Entreat our Lord to enter the heart of the abortionist, turning it to love and life.
Praying may feel the least satisfactory because we won’t know how God answers our prayers, but it is the most powerful.