By Mary J. McClusky
November 26, 2010
After experiencing two miscarriages, Pete and Alisha Arnold said they created the web site Birthornot.com and claimed they would decide whether to keep their unborn child or have an abortion based on the final vote count of visitors to their web site by December 9. Before the couple finally revealed the site was a hoax, comments on the site indicate that many took it very seriously. Its casual approach to such a life and death decision was shocking but believable to many. Over one million visitors voted and the controversial web site became an international story.
Stories like these detailing our culture's twisted views of unborn human life continue to become more and more disturbing. Yet despite a steady and often demoralizing stream of reports chronicling the downward spiral of our culture's regard for human life, unborn children always seem to find a way to voice their humanity from the womb.
Pete and Alisha's baby is so active they have named him or her Wiggles, and the baby seems to be trying everything to make the world take notice. In recently posted 17-week ultrasound photos, Wiggles appears to be waving and giving a thumbs-up sign. Ultrasound technology provides an increasingly clear and swift connection between a baby and his or her mother, even if she may be contemplating an abortion. Pregnancy help center directors say that up to 90% of expectant mothers decide not to abort after seeing such images of their child.
The stories of the Advent season and preparations for the coming of the Christ Child provide a welcome contrast to Birthornot.com. Through her humble acceptance of a challenging pregnancy and God's will for her life, the Blessed Virgin Mary provides an inspiring model for our own behavior.
There was no bed rest for Mary! Despite her own preparations for birth, Mary made the long journey to visit Elizabeth out of concern and loving support for her pregnant cousin. As John leapt within Elizabeth's womb at the sound of Mary's voice, he announced the presence of the Savior. The unborn child became a voice heralding the Good News of Christ's humanity and presence in the world, as well as the humanity of all unborn children who are Jesus' brothers and sisters. Like John, Catholics are called to courageously affirm and promote human life even in disturbing and difficult circumstances, and to seek and find a lesson of hope even when we hear the most depraved stories of attacks on human life.
In the Christ Child we see the hope and promise that each new human life called into existence by God can bring to this world â€“ only if each is given the chance to live out God's plan. The Advent season is the ideal time to reflect and pray on how to become a voice for the smallest of our brothers and sisters. All are called, like John, to proclaim the Gospel of Life with joy and enthusiasm. Look no further than the unborn themselves for examples of witnessing to life. Like Mary and Elizabeth, as well as the unborn John and Wiggles, may each of us find our voice, leading our culture into a greater awareness of the unborn child and the peace offered by Christ Jesus our hope.
Mary McClusky is Special Projects Coordinator at the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. To learn more about the bishops' pro-life activities, go to www.usccb.org/prolife.