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Rescue Those Condemned to Death

Proverbs 24:11-12 teaches: “Did you fail to rescue those who were being dragged off to death, those tottering, those near death, because you said, ‘We didn’t know about it’? Surely, the Searcher of hearts knows and will repay all according to their deeds.”

This is the battle cry for everyone in the pro-life movement who has prayed for the courage to never abandon the little ones for any reason, whether politics, popularity, or freedom is at stake. Speaking in their defense must begin with that commitment or it will ultimately fail. This is why we are publicly supporting, as we always have, those who bravely face the baby killers where they work, even if it means surrendering their personal freedom.

One of my heroines, Joan Andrews Bell, wrote while imprisoned in 1998,

It is my humble privilege to follow my conscience and my Catholic faith in defense of the innocent and the just. I will not cooperate with immoral, unjust laws corruptly and cowardly imposed on the American people for the sake of pretending to solve social and economic problems by murdering innocent children. To accept probation would be to accept the lie that I harmed society by trying peacefully, prayerfully, and nonviolently to save children from the brutal death by abortion.

Today, Bell at the age of 74 has once again spoken truth and has gone to jail, and she and others inspired by her remain standing in the gap for the little ones. The travesty of these twisted legal actions against rescuers inspired pro-life leader Lila Rose to say, “This trial has been a sham with a completely biased pro-abortion judge who has made a mockery of our justice system. . . . These activists are heroes, and the Department of Justice has acted capriciously and illegitimately.”

Indeed, the persistent actions of the government to hail down on pro-life free speech is beyond the pale, or at least it should be in a democracy. New York sidewalk counselor Debra Vitagliano was moved by what she saw going on around her. In response to her belief that preborn children deserve to live, she wanted to become a sidewalk counselor. But lawmakers would not hear of it, passing a law that made sidewalk counseling within 100 feet of an abortion business a crime, thus making it impossible for pro-life heroines like Vitagliano to be the voice of truth for expectant mothers whose babies were scheduled to be killed.

Vitagliano, according to the lawyers representing her, said, “I want to offer abortion-vulnerable women a message of hope and compassion, letting them know that they are loved and can keep their babies. . . . I am thankful for this outpouring of support for my ministry and sidewalk counselors across the country, and I pray that the Justices will take my case and vindicate my First Amendment rights.”

It is clear to us that this struggle by those who seek the right to speak in defense of the voiceless in public places would be comedic if it were not so deadly serious. We equate these free speech struggles to the condition on a battlefield where the commanders are working to kill and maim their own armies rather than confront the enemy and fight until justice is achieved for all people regardless of age, health, or place of residence.

The First Amendment to this nation’s Constitution is clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

But in the current bloody atmosphere of abortion on demand, it would be safe to say that freedom of speech is a casualty in the abortion war. And no, the Dobbs decision has not changed this, but recognition of the humanity of the preborn could and would if only spineless elected officials have the courage to act.

Rescuing those condemned to death is a privilege, and frankly, if I were not elderly and wheelchair bound, I would be standing shoulder to shoulder with them. The stakes are too high not to do all we can to restore legal protection for all innocent human beings.