By Mary McClusky
recent "traffic light moment" reminded me of a few important truths about our
efforts to end abortion.
was sitting in my car at a red light early one Saturday morning, just after the
Women's March and the March for Life both took place in Washington, D.C. I was
pleased to see a man in the car ahead of me pass a Styrofoam cup of steaming coffee
out his window to a man in the street asking for help. Then I was doubly
pleased to see two "Hope After Abortion" magnets on his car—one in English, one
in Spanish—featuring the national toll-free helpline to diocesan post-abortion
healing ministries. This charitable man was pro-life and advertising Project
wished all the women at the Women's March who had shouted, "My body, my choice"
could see this fellow. So often, abortion is seen as exclusively a women's
issue. While it impacts women in an often deeply painful and unique way, it is
important to remember that abortion is a human rights issue. Abortion causes the
loss of a child who has both a mother and a father, grandparents, and perhaps
siblings who may grieve for that child. And abortion may be chosen because a woman
feels that she has no other choice due to lack of support from the father of
the child or those around her.
God's creation of each of us "in His image" (Gen 1:27). This doesn't mean we
look like Jesus, or that God looks like Charlton Heston. The phrase refers to
how every human being is made to be in loving relationship with others. Human
love mirrors the Divine Trinity as a community of love.
At a recent bioethics workshop, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, encouraged an "alliance between the sexes" as "the most effective response to ideologies of separation or indifference. The
alliance of masculine and feminine must again take hold of the tiller of
history, of statecraft, of the economy."
hit the nail on the head. Division and apathy should no longer dominate the conversation
about abortion. Identifying ourselves first as members of the human family
allows us to work together better as women and men, as friends, spouses, or members
of communities to welcome children in danger of abortion. When we focus on
mutual cooperation and support, we build healthier families and communities
that welcome unborn children and help expectant mothers in need of assistance.
These stronger communities are also better equipped to serve all those in need—as
exemplified by the generous man I saw at the red light.
do we see this image of God working in our culture to increase respect for
life? When men, women, and families participate in the March for Life together.
When parishioners cooperate to assist an expectant single mother. When youth
groups sponsor fundraising drives for pregnancy care centers—just to name a
designed each of us, male and female, to do this thing called life
together. Individualism and isolation weaken families
and communities. When do we see a culture that cherishes each person, made in
God's image? We see it when women and men work together as members of families
and communities to end abortion, heal wounds, and welcome human life.
Mary McClusky is Assistant Director for Project Rachel
Ministry Development at the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops. For confidential help after abortion, visit www.hopeafterabortion.com