By Rita Diller
I was blessed to make a pilgrimage to our nation’s capital for the first post-Roe gathering of thousands of pro-life warriors at this year’s March for Life to celebrate every baby saved and mourn every life lost to abortion. And while many at the March held to the idea that we can only win the battle against abortion through incrementalism—an unsound notion promoting laws that provide for many babies to be killed in hope of saving the majority—ALL was there to stand firmly as we always have: 100% pro-life, no exceptions. Because respect for human life demands it. All people deserve to be protected by law and respected from the very beginning of their existence.
We were reminded of this in the Mass readings on January 22, as the Gospel of Matthew unpacked Old Testament prophecy for us:
[T]he people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
It is clear that in our land, overshadowed by the legacy of almost 50 years of Roe—which led to the death of 60 million babies coldly and cruelly slaughtered under the guise of freedom and women’s rights—the blood of those children merits cries for repentance and forgiveness of such horrific sins and injustice. And if we repent and call on our Lord, He will, indeed, conquer the darkness.
We need a seismic shift in this hour of opportunity—a huge groundswell demanding the enactment of principled, life-protecting laws in all 50 states, and an affirmation that those human rights that already exist in our US Constitution apply to all people, born and preborn.
With the removal of a bogus Constitutional right to abortion, the overturning of Roe turned us toward the light. Though it did not stop all abortion by any means, the great news was that it put us one step closer to stopping all abortion through recognition and protection of the personhood that arises at the very moment of the creation of life.
In December, American Life League embraced The Virginia Rights Beginning at Conception Bill (HB 1395) as a model for legislation that protects human life without exception. “This bill addresses the fact that a human being is a person from the very first moment of his existence. Therefore, this person is deserving of absolute respect as a fellow human being who is innocent and therefore to be treated as such,” ALL president Judie Brown said in a press release. “Abortion kills an innocent person and is a crime; HB 1395 simply acknowledges this obvious fact.”
The proposed Virginia legislation is simple and clear in its language and intent, proclaiming that life begins at creation, and each person is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth of Viriginia at the moment of creation.
All those involved in the fight to stop abortion realize the battle is far from over with the death of Roe. Most realize that now is the time that we must take urgent action to bar the killing federally and in all 50 states. As Abraham Lincoln noted after the Dred Scott decision that opened the door to a split nation, with slavery legal in some states and illegal in others, “a house divided cannot stand.” And though he did not expect the nation to fall, he knew it would go one way or the other.
As Fr. Stephen Imbarrato pointed out in a recent talk, if you look at today’s maps that show states where abortion is restricted to one degree or the other following Roe’s demise, you see a nation divided by respect for life versus allegiance to abortion.
Today, the enemy has arisen with fire and fury, taking advantage of this moment in time to attempt to permanently enshrine abortion into the US Constitution and into all state laws.
On Monday, January 23—the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children—the scripture readings provided further guidance for us. We find the answer to stopping abortion and stopping Planned Parenthood in a few brief words spoken by Christ Himself:
How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
In the face of the upheaval surrounding Dobbs, we have seen confusion, infighting, division, and unrest among those who seek to further abortion, especially at Planned Parenthood. But we have also seen huge infusions of money—including a quarter of a billion dollars in a single donation—to bolster the enemy’s plans for killing babies and a scramble to unify pro-abortion forces in order to recover the status quo that existed under Roe v. Wade.
To stop abortion, it is necessary to “tie up” the demons that drive this carnage. And how will demons be tied up? Through unceasing prayer, which will inevitably lead us to unceasing, spiritually informed action that will result in the pre-Roe restoration of the right to life to all people, born and preborn. If we are to win this battle, we must create a huge groundswell for the recognition and protection of the personhood of everyone from the very beginning of his or her existence. We know it is God’s will that life will prevail. But we must renew our resolve to fight the battle with ferocity, and without exception, not counting the cost, until abortion is no more.