With another anniversary of Roe v. Wade come more questions about what can be done to stop abortion.

This provocative essay by Sr. Bernadette M. Reiss, fsp asks questions some of us may not have considered:

How can the presentation of the Church’s teaching be balanced so that women would be more likely to come to us when faced with the prospect of an unplanned pregnancy?

Asserting that the woman who procures an abortion does bear moral responsibility could be balanced with the truth put so well by John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (no. 59) that there are many people responsible: the father of the child, parents, other family members, friends, legislators, doctors, nurses, etc.

What if, rather than the doctrine, the care and concern of the Church for a woman contemplating abortion were the starting point for every homily, every “Catholic” television or radio program, blog, etc.?

As long as our most concerted effort is focused on electing all the right pro-life candidates, the reality of abortion in the United States will not significantly change. But what would happen if the 51% of Americans who have now identified themselves as pro-life decide to become pro-active in the lives of the actual women they know who are pregnant and need help? What would happen if every parish bulletin listed the contact person for any woman who was pregnant and scared (and if that person were visible within the church community)? What if our focus changed from a debate about the constitutionality of abortion — which requires very little personal sacrifice on our part — to directly helping the women who may potentially have an abortion? What would happen if all of us were to recognize that we too may bear responsibility for someone who has chosen to have an abortion because all that a woman heard from us was our view about abortion itself and not about the woman caught in the middle? How will we get involved?

There are a lot of challenges here — read the whole thing and see what you think.

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