By Helen Cross, Editor of MCFL Magazine
With its leather chairs, dark wooden table curving into an impressive arc, and the podium proclaiming "United States Senate," the Caucus Room in the Dirksen Senate Building is an imposing venue. On a bright sunny, windless, and mild day in Washington, D.C. Prof. Michael Pakaluk of Catholic University of America began the MCFL Caucus by tracing the continuum from contraception and abortion using Supreme Court decisions in Griswold, Roe, and Casey. Contraception severs the unitive and procreative aspects of conjugal union. "If there is a 'right to contraception' then abortion is the sole solution when an unwanted child is conceived," Pakaluk said. (The complete text of Prof. Pakaluk’s text is available.)
Professor Dwight Duncan and nine pro-life law students from Harvard Law School have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of Massachusetts Citizens for Life supporting the plaintiffs in the case challenging California's law which requires pregnancy resource centers to post signs referring their clients to abortion providers. "The government is forcing people to say things they disagree with. This is highly illiberal in the classic sense of the word," Duncan noted. He said that Justice Gorsuch is a friend of Justice Kennedy, a likely swing vote in the California case. "We have hope that Gorsuch will help bring Kennedy along."
Richard Doerflinger, former Director of Pro-Life Activities of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained that pro-assisted suicide groups such as Compassion and Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) claim suicide as a free choice while studies repeatedly show it is not. "Assisted suicide for those with serious illnesses is chosen for the same reasons as the able-bodied: depression or other mental health problems, financial concerns, loss of autonomy, etc." This leads to having one class of people who will be given suicide prevention treatment, while another class of people will be dependent on a value judgment of someone who may think their life isn't valuable enough to save.
Karen Cross, Chair of the National Right to Life Political Action Committee, noted the life-saving power of laws restricting and regulating abortion, reminding the audience that "When we don't vote, babies die." The legislature in Virginia is only pro-life by a one vote majority, she said. With 34 US Senate seats and all 435 US House seats coming up for elections in 2018, voting for pro-life candidates is essential. She repeatedly asked: "Will you do what's right?" Cross said the debate engendered when proposed laws are being discussed have enormous educational value. "Make sure you ask candidates for office their opinions on life issues."
Professor Michael New of Ave Maria University said President Trump has proved to be a good ally for pro-life forces. Commenting on the push to defund pro-abortion giant Planned Parenthood, New said, "Big abortion needs big government. Studies show that when abortion funding is removed the number of abortions go down. Pro-life laws work. The money from the defunding of PP will go to qualified health care centers." The Hyde Amendment (restricting federal funding of abortion) has saved more than two million babies’ lives. "Abortion numbers are half of what they were in the 1990s. We've made real progress."
The MCFL Caucus has always served as a prelude to pro-life activism. Participants in the March for Life have time to lobby their representatives in Congress both before and after the March. It's especially important for citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to let their elected officials know how many people travel to Washington to demonstrate a selfless love and respect for innocent human life. Who are these people who travel long hours on bus travel through the darkness of night? Who donate their time, whether unpaid time off from work or who will need to catch up on homework or missed classes when they get home. Who come in all weather: blizzards, rain storms, cold, or just the gloom of a typical Washington January day. Who walk in the hundreds of thousands while garnering nary a mention in the mainstream press. They've been ignored for 45 years and are still coming. And in greater numbers every year.
Who are these people? They are us. The pro-life movement. We'll be back. Let your legislator know.