Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli
On July 1, 2015, American dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil, the African lion, a popular attraction in Zimbabwe. The killing of Cecil immediately sparked international rage. Politicians and celebrities raised their voices protesting this crime against animal life. Our government’s Fish and Wildlife Service not only expressed deep concern for the killing of Cecil, but also launched an investigation to see if any laws were broken. One Zimbabwe official has called for Palmer’s extradition to Zimbabwe to make him accountable for the death of the lion.
On July 13, 2015, the Center for Medical Progress began releasing videos of the abortion techniques used by Planned Parenthood to kill children in the womb, dismember them and sell their body parts. Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood detailed a “menu” of aborted baby hearts, lungs and livers that can be made available for sale. Another doctor reported that abortion providers know how to use a “less crunchy” method of killing the unborn child.
“Crunchiness” is the crude term to reference the skull-crushing and dismemberment by knife and suction of the unborn child! “Less crunchy” is longer and more painful for the living unborn child. However, it is more profitable for the abortion providers!
How different the outrage over the death of one lion from the reaction of some to the horrific revelations of the brutal killing of our unborn children! On July 21, 2015, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced plans to review the videos released by pro-life activists. She expressed her concern about their attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood’s procedures. She wants to see if they broke any law in filming the interviews for the video.
“Broke any law”? One wonders where sanity has gone. Babies being dismembered and their body parts sold! Is this horror not enough to make a rational person cry out in protest? And California’s Attorney General wants to discredit those who make such barbarism known.
The Center for Medical Progress has stated that it followed all applicable laws in the course of their investigative journalism on Planned Parenthood. And the pro-life group stands on its constitutional rights under the First Amendment. Nonetheless, on July 31, 2015, U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued a temporary restraining order blocking the pro-life group from releasing any more videos. It is more important, it seems, to guarantee and protect abortion providers’ right to privacy than the lives of the children they are ruthlessly destroying.
When will decent people cry “Enough!”?
Planned Parenthood is America’s premier abortion provider. In a single year, it aborts more than 333,000 babies. At least 40 percent of its billion-plus dollar annual budget comes from American taxpayers. In fact, to keep this profitable business in the black, taxpayers fund it to the cost of $1.26 million each day. On July 20, 2015, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said that the President does not believe there is evidence of Planned Parenthood acting unethically and he would not support legislation to defund them. How limp a response! Fortunately, not all Americans are closing their eyes to the horrors committed against our unborn children.
After 20 weeks, there is no doubt that the unborn child feels pain. Twelve states have already passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This law stops the brutal and painful killing of unborn children. It is compassionate legislation protecting babies five months in the womb from brutal abortions. On Jan. 6, 2015, Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee reintroduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) into Congress. The House had successfully passed the legislation last year, but it was stopped in the Senate. This legislation is a step in the right direction. But, it does not go far enough!
Nonetheless, in January, the Obama administration said in a press release: “The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose.” An assault on a woman’s right to choose? And not an assault on an innocent, vulnerable life in the womb that we should protect and cherish?
President Obama has also threatened to veto the bill, if it passes. Such an attitude is consistent with his previous statements. In 2013, he lauded Planned Parenthood. He said that he wanted God to bless them. All of this comes under the rubric of their providing for women’s health. The health and life of the unborn child matters little. That our country has come to this point should be a wake-up call.
On Nov. 15, 2014, Pope Francis said to doctors gathered in the Vatican that “We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment… (we’re) playing with life.” The Pope did not hesitate to call abortion sinful. Nor should we!
When God is no longer present in the public square and when individuals live as if there were no God, the very concept of sin vanishes. So does God’s authority to tell us what is right and wrong, what is good for us or what is harmful to us. The result of the removal of God from the public life of our nation has become all too painfully apparent in the videos exposing our country’s legally protected practice of killing its unborn, even painfully and barbarically without a qualm of conscience.
Nonetheless, God is always present to each of us. He is present to us from the very first moment of life in our mother’s womb. As Psalm 139 so beautifully says, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made” (v 13-14). The more we are present to God in our lives, the more our hearts will be moved with compassion and love for our children yet to be born. And, the more we will raise our voices against the killing of the unborn. They are, indeed, more valuable and precious than any well-loved animal. It is time to answer the cry of the unborn for mercy!