Fr. Shenan J. Boquet
Evil thrives amidst darkness and shadows. Thieves operate under the cover of night. Bribes are passed beneath tables. Drugs are sold from cars with tinted windows in unlit parking lots. White collar crime is committed under the cover of the opaque complexities of high finance.
The way to fight evil is to cast light on it. Sometimes this is literal, as when a mayor installs bright streetlights in a seedy part of town, and sends the crooks and drug dealers scurrying away. Sometimes this is figurative, as when legislators pass regulations requiring greater transparency.
Abortion is an evil that thrives thanks only to shadows and secrecy – both literal and figurative.
The reason so many people have convinced themselves that the evil of abortion is no big deal, is because abortion takes place in the hiddenness of the mother’s womb, behind the closed doors of abortion clinic operating rooms. It is also cloaked by the dissembling language created by abortion propagandists to obscure the truth: “reproductive health care,” “blob of tissue,” “right to choose,” “evacuate the contents of the uterus,” “medical termination,” et cetera, et cetera.
In this darkness people do not see, or think, about the broken, mutilated bodies of the victims of abortion – unborn children.
The pro-life movement has made massive progress in recent decades in large part by successfully shining the light on the violence of abortion. Sometimes this has been effortless. The advent and widespread use of the ultrasound, for instance, has made it increasingly difficult for ordinary people to reconcile the pro-abortion movement’s talk of a “blob of tissue,” with the beautiful baby they are watching move about on the screen with their own eyes.
Other times, it has involved the courage and determination of committed pro-life activists, who have retrieved the bodies of unborn children from dumpsters behind abortion clinics, documenting the horrific evidence, providing the children with a dignified burial, and then sharing the truth with the world.
Occasionally, the truth has come to light simply by accident – or rather, thanks to the callousness and deceitfulness of the abortion industry.
Who, for instance, can forget the revelations regarding abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was found to have killed living babies even after birth, and who stored the intact bodies of his unborn victims in jars kept in his clinic? The coverage of Kermit Gosnell’s case may have done more to expose the humanity of the unborn child, and the evil of abortion, than anything else in recent years.
“I almost collapsed”: Discovering the Truth about Abortionist Ulrich Klopfer
Another similar case that, in my opinion, has not received nearly enough attention, is that of “Dr.” Ulrich Klopfer – an abortionist who died in September 2019.
His inglorious career, during which he aborted tens of thousands of children, ended in 2015 when state authorities revoked his medical license for failing to report the sexual abuse of minor girls, and for bad record keeping, among other violations.
However, perhaps the most shocking part of his story was what happened after he died, in 2019. That was when family members discovered the bodies of over 2,400 unborn children stored in Klopfer’s garage and car.
While news of the gruesome discovery made national news at the time, there are some extraordinary details that I only learned about recently. Perhaps most extraordinary of all is that the relative who discovered the remains – Klopfer’s brother-in-law, Mark – is a committed pro-lifer and believing Christian. In an appearance on the “I Choose Life” podcast late last year, Mark described what happened.
After Klopfer died, he said, Mark’s wife (the sister of Klopfer’s wife) went to the abortionist’s house to help clear out his belongings. As it turns out, Klopfer was an inveterate hoarder. Mark’s wife soon asked Mark to come and help. At one point, Mark decided to take a look at the garage. That was when he discovered the unthinkable.
“As we were digging through the second day, it was the evening, I opened up a cardboard box, and found some bags in there with liquid in it, and as I lifted the third bag out I realized what I was looking at,” said Mark. “I almost collapsed. It was beyond anything I ever thought. My son was with me and he came and saw it and he immediately wanted to leave and never come back.”
In some ways, the find did not come as a complete shock to Mark. His few encounters with his abortionist brother-in-law had always been deeply unpleasant. At a party for his sister-in-law, Mark says he heard Klopfer and some of his staff, “laughing and joking about a woman who they had done nine abortions on and how irresponsible she was and stupid and it just turned my stomach.”
“This was just business as usual for most of them,” he said. “It was repulsive. I mean, it put a chill up my spine like the very presence of evil was in that room. So very, very hard to get over that.”
Mark himself knows the horror of abortion on an even more personal level. When he was a teenager, his girlfriend aborted their child. According to a report in The Journal Gazette, “The guilt and shame of that early experience led [Mark] to abuse alcohol and drugs, he said, before he became a Christian at age 19.” According to Live Action, Mark and his wife have long prayed outside Planned Parenthood facilities, and counseled abortion-bound women.
Mark says he found the media attention that followed the discovery of the children’s bodies hypocritical. “Why? Why? This happens on a daily basis in this country 2,000 abortions and then you find 2,000 in a garage [and] it’s a big deal?” he said. “All of a sudden the news media is all over it! Well, where are you every day when [abortion] is happening?”
People have wondered why Klopfer would have kept the remains of the children he aborted. According to Mark, it was simply because he was too “cheap” to dispose of the remains legally. Klopfer’s abortion facilities, too, were filthy beyond belief, as Mark soon discovered while helping clear them out.
Live Action reports: “A year later, it’s hard for anyone in the family to get through the day without thinking about what they discovered. They have dealt with depression, nightmares, and a sadness that in the United States something like this can happen. However, the experience did renew Mark’s dedication to the pro-life movement. He said that people need to know the reality of what abortion is.”
Says Mark, “This is the darkest side of humanity that’s out there.”
Personally, I see God’s hand in the fact that it was Mark, a committed pro-lifer, who first discovered Klopfer’s horrific secret. Mark and his wife were able to supervise the investigation and recovery of the aborted children, and to ensure that the children were given a proper burial in a cemetery in South Bend, Indiana. In recent months, they have been sharing their story more widely, shining a light on the truth about the violence and evil of abortion.
90,000 Children Saved
Even as I was pondering this horrific story, I came across another, very, very different story. The Prestonwood Pregnancy Center, located in Dallas Forth Worth, Texas, is celebrating 30 years of operation.
According to Prestonwood, they have served some 100,000 clients over the years, and some 90,000 women have chosen life for their children. One of its locations is right across the street from a Planned Parenthood facility.
Leanne Jamieson, executive director at the center, told CBN, “When that young woman or couple walks in through the door of our center, we see it as a divine appointment. And in our experience, they also are often broken and looking for hope.”
“They found themselves in this circumstance and it really often reveals other areas of their life that they are struggling in and we are really good listeners and we are really there to help them problem solve and navigate their situation. I tell our volunteers and our staff if you are a good listener then God is going to open that door.”
If Klopfer and his gruesome abortion practice represent the darkness of evil, Prestonwood represents the power of light – the light of hope and truth. As Jamieson points out, so many men and women choose abortion out of fear. Those who come to their pregnancy center are looking for hope – and are finding it.
All across the world, countless pro-life pregnancy centers and sidewalk counsellors are going out to meet women where they are, bringing them the hope and the light of Christ. Unborn children are being saved. Lives are being changed.
“The Great Campaign in Support of Life”
We cannot offload our responsibility onto others. We must get involved.
As Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed in Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus’ message,” and “it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture” (no. 1). The saintly pope further stated that “What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life” (EV, no. 95).
We cannot end the evil of abortion with a wave of our hands. I believe this evil will never end until every Christian and man and woman of good will consider it a personal responsibility to do whatever is reasonably in their power to protect life. Because the darkness of abortion is so deeply embedded in our culture, we cannot expect a mere change of the laws, or the correct public relations “strategy” executed by large pro-life organizations, to loosen its stranglehold. What we need above all is conversion of heart, on a societal scale. And unless people like you and me are out there, nothing will happen to eradicate this deep-rooted evil that plagues our societies and cultures.
We have the power – through God’s grace – to help dispel the gloom and darkness of evil by being Christ’s light in the world. One fearful mother at a time, one unborn child at a time, one heart at a time, we can expose the truth, save lives, and move our country and world towards life.
We are being given such a moment. This year’s 40 Days for Life Campaign begins Wednesday, February 17, and we can join hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers all over the world in proclaiming the Gospel of Life. HLI is a huge supporter of 40 Days because they provide a straightforward, but amazingly powerful, way for ordinary pro-lifers to get more intimately involved in the fight for life. In this campaign, hope is enkindled, and lives are saved and transformed. Click here to find your local prayer vigil!
Will you join this battle for life, or be content to sit on the sidelines?
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at hli.org/2021/02/personal-encounters-shed-light-on-abortion.