Working for the ProLife Cause

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A few women who consider having an abortion, seek advise from another woman: “What should I do, my friend?” And the other woman says: “Why do you want this child? You already have children. Go abort it.”

Some mothers that are foolish advise their daughters who might make a mistake and get pregnant: “We do not want to be ridiculed in society so go abort it.” The daughter goes and kills her child. Who has the responsibility?... The mother who gave her that advice.

See, what evil our words can cause. This is why we need to careful in what we say. The devil awaits to trap us and to influence us to sin.

Geronda Ephraim
translated from Greek from “The Truth About Abortions” published by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece



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“Geronda, can something be done so that the law of abortion is abolished?”

“The country, the government, and the Church have to become active so that people can be informed about the consequences that abortions have on the demographics. The priests need to explain what the Holy Gospel says and that abortion is against the commandments of God. The physicians also need to inform people about the dangers that women have when having an abortion. When a law - that is against the Laws of God - is approved, then God punishes the nation so that the nation repents.”

Elder Paisios of Holy Mountain

Translated from Greek, from The Life of Geronda Paisios the Agioreite, by Hieromonk Isaac, Holy Mountain, 2004



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How to Counteract Abortion in Russia: Recommendations of the Patriarch of Russia



January 16, 2011

His Holiness, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kyrill, sent a set of suggestions to the State Council to be reviewed at a meeting on the topic, “Government policies regarding the support of family, motherhood and childhood in the Russian Federation.”

The following excerpt from the Patriarch’s suggestions discusses how to counteract abortion:

1. To accept the departmental recommendation of the Ministry of Public Health, which makes the following tasks a priority for the doctor: keeping pregnancy and forbidding medical initiatives to terminate it; and making it mandatory to fully acquaint women with all negative consequences and risks of doing an abortion.

2. To put into practice at medical institutions, according to the example of foreign countries, a mandatory two-week waiting period after registering a document of informed consent—a document which a woman signs before an abortion. The document should describe in clear language what happens to the fetus and the woman herself during an abortion, and should also contain extensive information about the harm and all the risks connected with abortion.

3. To create a crisis pregnancy center, with a psychologist and representatives of traditional religions, at every maternity hospital.

4. To create a network of shelters for single mothers who are in difficult life situations. The government could provide facilities and resources to create such centers, and the Church could help prepare the workers, particularly charity volunteers.

5. To take surgical abortions (except cases of direct threat to the life of the mother) out of the medical insurance system.

6. To eliminate abortions done at the expense of taxpayers, including principled opponents of abortion.

7. To include materials which explain the process of the child’s development in the womb of the mother in educational curricula of secondary schools.

8. To give government support to the media campaign condemning abortions and explaining their negative consequences, and propagandizing motherhood, responsible fatherhood and having many children.

Translated from Russian from http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1386377.html



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We can save 100,000 lives a year! - An interview with Protopriest Maxim Obuhov, the head of the pro-life center “Zhizn” in Moscow, Russia



Interviewer: —Fr. Maxim, Vladimir Legoida’s recent statement about the possibility of offering material help to women who have refused to have an abortion has caused a large resonance in the Russian Orthodox Church. Please tell us, considering your long involvement with the crisis center: is financial support a good way to decrease the number of abortions?

Fr. Maxim: —Such a structure, which would take on itself the commitment to support those women who have refused abortion—there is no such structure and it is unlikely that one will be formed soon. It is very difficult to actualize the idea of distribution of money. There is an entire knot of questions here which are very difficult to solve, and not only financial ones, but organizational ones as well. It is very difficult to control the allocation of money both at the level of their distribution, and at the level of their use in the end, where parents could sometimes collect the cash, and then abandon their children and disappear. I would not give out money, but instead convince lawmakers to establish allowances of a minimal basket of groceries. In my opinion this is approximately 3000 rubles per person every month.

Interviewer: —You have a help-line at your center. How do women that call usually explain their desire to terminate their pregnancy?

Fr. Maxim: —Personal unpreparedness for motherhood, psychological immaturity. Pressure from people close to them, including the father of the child and parents. Pressure from a doctor with the goal to force them to abortion. A difficult financial situation. Thousands of phone calls go through us. 80% of them are from suburbs. I assure you that by no means does everyone need charity. Rich people also go to get an abortion, very rich people go, and the middle class goes. Some people simply do not know either about the grants or about the maternity capital. Even those who have two or three children go for an abortion. And many are completely unaware that it is harmful.

Interviewer: —Do centers similar to yours exist in other places?

Fr. Maxim: —Yes. Our experience is starting to be repeated in many dioceses. However, right now there are only dozens of such organizations for the entire country. It is necessary that every diocese has a minimum of one organization that specializes in crisis pregnancy and the protection of motherhood. About 10% of women who go for an abortion do not want to do this. We could guarantee to save 10% of pregnancies in the circumstances of legal abortions. We do not have the possibility to outlaw abortions, this is not the will of the ruling elite; but we can decrease their number by 10%—and that is about 100 thousand saved lives a year. If we manage to decrease the number of abortions by 10%, we will bring a very significant contribution to improving the demographical situation.

Interviewer: —Why do we have such a small number of such organizations? Is this a lack of financing, or administrative obstacles?

Fr. Maxim: —There are many reasons. First, there are no laws that legalize such work. There are people who are ready to go work, to speak with a woman going for an abortion, but they are in a legal vacuum. They work not quite lawfully, because there are no corresponding standards and norms. Second, in addition to volunteer work, it is necessary to set a specific “waiting period.” It is necessary to give the opportunity to think to a woman who goes to an abortion after a consultation. This has a very powerful impact. This waiting period is also non-existent. And we do expect that they will pass this legislation. Besides, some kind of funding is necessary. That is only about a million rubles [about $30,000] a year for each region.

Interviewer: —How is your center funded?

Fr. Maxim: —It is funded by our parish, by many private donations. But, of course, our organization is an exception. As far as I know, such organizations work more effectively where they are supported by the local government – for example, when the government donates a room [for an office].

Interviewer: —How many people work at your center? Are they all volunteers?

Fr. Maxim: —They are both volunteers and paid helpers, about ten people altogether. We have a help-line for questions of crisis pregnancy; we have a social worker. We have a department that deals with education and outreach. We issue public service ads, leaflets, and posters. We maintain our website, www.abortion.ru.

Interviewer: —Why are there so few public service ads that explain the harm brought by abortions?

Fr. Maxim: —You know, we distribute very many leaflets and posters. We distribute the leaflets at conferences, at events, at medical institutions. Our public service ads are built on a positive image of the family and family values. On the level of street advertising, it works better ... to appeal to a positive image of the family, to positive emotions and family values, than to intimidate with abortion. We could frighten people with abortion and tell how dangerous it is, we could show results of abortion in the form of torn-off hands and feet, of a bloody mess. But the psychology of how people take in information is such that positive advertising works better.

Interviewer: —Your opponents accuse you, saying that after you talk women out of abortion, they are forced to give their children to orphanages. Do you somehow track what happens to women whom you helped refuse abortion?

Fr. Maxim: —We have never, ever heard a single rebuke from a woman for convincing her to leave her child. Those whom we convinced to not do an abortion did this consciously, understanding what they were doing.

Interviewer: —A question which many battle over, so far unsuccessfully: how to decrease the number of abortions in Russia, which has the leading position in abortion rates in the world?

Fr. Maxim: —In an absolute expression, there are more abortions in China. But in a count per the population we have more than in China. It is very difficult to count chemical abortions. Partially, it is necessary to stop the promotion of pregnancy termination. I hope greatly that the suggestions of the patriarch are heard, and government funding of abortions stops. The second thing is that in Russia, a practice has been established of coercing abortion. It goes on in the form of the doctor’s initiative. This practice must be stopped. We do not need to start any programs for this. We just need to stop this with willpower. Also, creating a set of consultation centers and crisis pregnancy centers should help.

Interviewer: —Do you hope that the number of such centers will increase someday?

Fr. Maxim: —Yes, absolutely. Decisions have been made at administrative level of the Russian Orthodox Church, but this is not so simple to organize. Work with crisis pregnancy is important, promising and necessary. Every crisis pregnancy center is, at minimum, one child saved a day!

Translated from Russian by Maria Larsen from http://za-zhizn.ru/node/307



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Answers to Complicated Questions on Abortion: An interview with Priest Igor Fomin

Father Igor Fomin is rector of the church of St. Alexander Nevsky at Moscow State Institute and the father of four children.



Interviewer:--In Russia, the life of unborn infants is protected mainly by the Church-Community Council on Bioethics under the Moscow Patriarchate, and by the pro-life center “Zhizn.” Are there any other initiatives in this direction that you know of, Batushka? In this area, can we apply the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good?”

Fr. Igor:--There are many organizations besides the “Zhizn” center and the Patriarchal Council on Bioethics; almost every diocese has organizations that deal with these questions.

I know of a movement in Petersburg--it is just an enterprising group of people, supported by a certain businessman; they do a lot. In the Nizhegorodsk Diocese, Father Michael Zazvonov actively participates in this movement. But it seems to me that the number of these centers is not so important. Try asking any priest his opinion on abortion, and you will immediately hear an unequivocal answer.

It seems to me that parishioners should ask their priest more often to clarify--perhaps from the ambo--questions on abortion and on the psychological pressure pregnant women get at counseling. Any priest would respond and take an active role; perhaps he might take the lead among others who are not indifferent. And much depends on parishioner's concern; that is how parishes become famous--when every member has his own job, his own initiative.

Usually a priest cannot be involved in everything: an orphanage, an antenatal counseling clinic, a hospital, an army--people must help him. Perhaps he can visit once a month, but it seems to me that parishioners should do the bulk of the work. Not only should they be obedient--they were told to, and they went and did it,--they must take initiative, they must not be lukewarm. People must each have their own work, and they must burn with that work. Even if they do something incorrectly, like Saul, the future Apostle Paul, the Lord sees their hearts, and will direct them to the right path.

Interviewer:--Perhaps there are parishioners who would take initiative, but they do not know that this is expected of them. Perhaps they have not read the literature from the Hierarchical Council with the appeal calling even laypeople to take active participation in such work?

Fr. Igor:--This is what we must discuss with parishioners and their priests. The words of the Apostle Paul are truly remarkable, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Yes, indeed, we must overcome everything with good….

Interviewer:--What can be done at first? If we cannot change the absurd legislation of abortion, perhaps could we at least make it so that abortions are done at abortion clinics, and not at perinatal centers and maternity hospitals, and not by the same doctors that examine pregnant women and deliver babies?

Fr. Igor:--It is indisputably evil that that by law, the woman has the right to make an abortion. But it seems to me that our society is not yet ready to just outright forbid it. Right now, it is necessary to at least raise the question to separate maternity clinics and these frightening places where they do abortions, to separate doctors that do abortions and doctors that deliver babies.

A person who has the blood of helpless infants on his hands cannot take into those same hands another future life, an infant who can feel everything. Children feel everything: your mood, the condition of your soul. They see that you need their love and concern, or that you don't. If you need it, they run to you; but if they see that you are irritated, that you are in a bad mood, they leave--they can even begin to cry.

How much more can they feel it if they are taken into the hands of a doctor, on whose very same hands, on whose soul lies another's life, another's blood? This all needs to be separated; but we must act gradually. We must at least outlaw advertising abortion, because what is this going on: you pick up a newspaper, and abortion advertisements are there; you go on the Internet--there are just millions of abortion advertisements there! We must at least outlaw this advertising of abortion.

Alternatively, we could distribute phone numbers of those organizations and centers that could offer social and psychological help to women who have considered abortion….

What could we do right away? For example, we could agree with the administration of a antenatal counseling clinic to hang up a little poster offering an alternative, truly joyful life without abortion…. This poster absolutely must have a telephone number which one could call to hear the other point of view, so that at least one woman going for an abortion would grab this “straw,” and both the child and the woman herself would be saved.

Igor Beloborodov and the Zhizn Center are undertaking a remarkable move. They made an agreement with drug companies to include an advertisement for the Zhizn Center, with the website and phone number, on the packaging of products that terminate pregnancy, which are sold in the drug stores. This is a remarkable initiative.

Interviewer:--Did the drug companies agree?

Fr. Igor:--Not all of them, but one did agree.... They also had the idea to stuff leaflets with their information into the packages, but they did not have the money--this is all done privately, with donations.

Interviewer:--Batushka, what should we do with such practices when gynecologists with their “counseling” push women to the decision to do an abortion? Such facts are horrifying. How can we protect pregnant women from such outrageous treatment--should we record such cases and report them?

Fr. Igor:--The psychological pressure on a woman to decide on an abortion--this is just outrageous, we must speak about this, we can't be silent. We approach this somehow “humbly,” but we forget that the Holy Scripture separates treatment of you and treatment of society. And in this case, they are not only offending you, they are offending everyone in such a situation.

For example, if I, a priest, am walking and someone spits at my cross, he is not spitting at me, but he is offending the Church in my person, and I cannot just humbly bow my head and walk past. If a woman comes to a counseling clinic and she is advised in a categorical tone to do an abortion and is frightened in every way, then this is not her personal affair, but an affair of how our society is treated. They want to abort all of our society, and we will just sit quietly and watch? Of course, we absolutely must speak about this. The more reports and complaints we make, the better. …

The remainder of this interview is regarding children with defects and can be read in Chapter 5: Abortion in Cases Involving Defects in the Unborn.

Translated from Russian by Maria Larsen from http://za-zhizn.ru/node/147



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The Story of Father Tanase, Father of 328 Children (Romania)

Transcript from a ProTV Broadcast in Romania which aired on Dec. 1, 2011



At Poplar Valley and Screzii Valley, father Nicolae Tanase has set the basis for a better, cleaner, and unselfish Romania. Leading Provita Association, father Tanase fights for life. For more than twenty years, he has cared for abandoned children, orphans, and teenagers expelled from state orphanages.

Thirteen years ago, during a broadcast at ProTV [Romania's most popular TV channel], father Nicolae Tanase was talking about an unbelievable project: a village of the orphans. Now, the Valley has filled up with houses and children: children abandoned in hospitals, orphans, children who were living on the street, children abandoned here by their mothers immediately after birth. Father Tanase gathered all in the camp in the Valley.

The story began in 1990. Father of six children of his own, father Nicolae Tanase has began a real war against abortions. The mothers whom he convinced to keep their babies would leave the children in his care. In 1997, the camp in the Valley had 30 places. Since then, more than 1600 souls have passed through the Valley. In a selfish world, in which we often pass by others without caring, it is hard to believe what's happening in the Screzii Valley. Here, “selfishness” was erased from the dictionary.

Only father Tanase knows how hard it is to feed 328 souls everyday and to dress and educate an army of people. He had to learn. The children are cared for, fed, and supervised with the help of the women from the village. Through his example, father Tanase has managed to change the mentality of the villagers and make them better people. In the '90's, the villagers from the Poplar Valley and Screzii Valley saw what father Tanase was doing and started to help him by receiving some of the children in their own homes.

Whoever is ready for work, has to work and produce. Father Tanase is the manager, the psychologist, the mother and the father of all these children. Even though the government has not helped, many generous people have helped and continue to help: with money, food, or construction materials. With his open, sincere, and stern spirit, father Tanase has a nice word for everyone. For the young men who are ready to marry, he bought land; for the girls, he's saving dowry.

There are children in each house of the camp. In one of them, are all the preschool children. The children get attached immediately to the new comers: they need love. When you look at them you begin to understand partly why father Tanase is doing all this. Each child has his or her own story: some have been here from before they can remember. From very young, they learn to be self-sufficient and to help others. Here, they are all one family. Some of them at some point are taken back home. Others stay, they go to school, to study. Until now, eight of these children have been admitted to University.

Lined up, the children set off to go to school in the village. For the villagers they are “the children from the camp” or “father's children”. Without realizing, they take your hand and walk with you. They make you understand how life should be: walking together and helping each other. On their way to school, the children teach you a lesson they learned from father Tanase: without knowing you, they offer you their most precious asset: their love.

article source: http://stirileprotv.ro/stiri/1-decembrie/1-decembrie-povestea-parintelui-tanase-tata-pentru-328-de-copii.html



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Information about the Pro Vita Association (Romania)




Valea Plopului is a remote village about 70 miles north of Bucharest, Romania. This community takes care of about 220 orphans, handicapped children and children from families with financial hardships. The orphanage is a ministry of the Pro Vita Association, an orthodox, non-profit, non-governmental organization. The association's purpose is to put into practice an Orthodox Christian, pro-life, praxis.

Fr. Nicolae Tanase and his wife Maria founded the association. It's activities take place in the villages Valea Plopului and Valea Screzii, Posesti, Prahova. In Valea Screzii there are houses already sheltering tens of children. The association receives homeless or abandoned children, young people thrown out of orphanages because they are 18 years old, future mothers who have been sent away by their families because they refused to have an abortion, children kept temporarily because they belong to families with financial problems, and children abandoned in hospitals because they have certain deficiencies or who are on the way to recovery. Father Tanase has invited the members of the Valea Plopului community to take care of a child. Although some of the families already had up to 6 children, they found a place for helping yet another child. Because of this, the association supports them financially, with food, clothes and shoes for the children.

The older ones are involved in labor activities and have become reliable persons within the community. Children living in the parish house are taken care of by the staff of the association and volunteers. Some children actually return to their families. Some of the young people get married and are supported by Fr. Tanase until they can start a stable family themselves. Regardless, the association is in continuous contact with the persons it has helped.

The association receives no help from the Romanian state. It is the families in Valea Plopului who support these children. Because these villagers earn their living through agricultural activities and small crafts, their incomes are extremely small. Unfortunately, despite their goodwill and desire to help the children, the adults are often not able to offer the children an appropriate healthy meal.

With the income from the selling of religious objects (icons, painted wooden crosses made in their workshops) and some limited donations, Father Tanase has managed to acquire two peasant bread ovens, some animals, and two cars needed for the transportation of basic food supplies, construction material, and agricultural produce.

other online links to videos of the ProVita orphanage in Romania:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfYoeuTLO6Q (12 min; short movie about ProVita with English subtitles)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i14d2VMsVs (OCF coordinator asking for help for ProVita)



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“I read about Father Tanase, who cares for the unborn children. You should know that in the whole world, from all the orthodox countries, I have never heard until now about the idea of caring for the unborn children, of saving children who are sentenced to die in their mothers' womb. And I would like the Church to get more involved because this is not the government's duty. Saint Basil the Great had such an ample social action – it was epic: the first hospitals, housing for lost women, shelters for wandering children and so on. Those things are the root of the Orthodox Church and we have to follow the path.”

Father George Calciu



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PEFIP: Helping Families with Many Children (Greece)

pefip.gr

National Organization : Friends of large families (with four or more children)

*non-governmental organization

Mission: to help and provide support to those families with many children

Provide Clothing and Food and even Housing.

Job finding

Financial

Psychological and moral support



You can make donations in food, clothing, toys, or even donate property and houses.

Donations are Tax deductible. Monetary donations can be made to special bank accounts set up by the organization or mailed directly to pefip.

The organization has been awarded and praised by the University of Athens and by the Church of Greece . Between 1969-2009 they have supported an amazing number of 20,000 large families. They also publish a magazine and encourage families to have children and avoid abortions. They have written many articles against abortions.



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The Embrace: An Organization Protecting the Unborn (Greece)

unborn.gr



This organization provides support to unmarried mother, abused women, women that have been sold into prostitution. They help women decide against having an abortion.The women are provided, room and board, food, support (emotional), medical help, legal rights, education and job opportunities, reinstitution in society, seminars about children and breastfeeding, and first aid and of course priest is available at all times for confession.



They even provide godparents to baptize the newborn children and financial help to the mothers. (100 euro a month)

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The Evangelist Mark Orthodox Ecclesiastical Foundation for Applied Social and Educational Programs (Greece)



PO Box: 60060, Thermi 57001, Thessaloniki-Greece"
TEL: 0030-2310-462.744, 0030-2310-461.145 FAX: 0030-2310-463.455
e-mail: idrima-at-agmarkos.gr

"Evaggelistis Markos" is an ecclesiastical Foundation, under the blessing of Bishop Nikodemos of Kassandria, though not funded neither by the Greek Othodox Church, nor the Greek Goverment. "Evaggelistis Markos" is recognized by these bodies however, and operates on the basis of a board of which I've been named president. The Foundation was established by myself and Presbytera Stella by donating both property and buildings to establish this ministry. We direct the work of "Evaggelistis Markos" without salary. "Evaggelistis Markos" is supported through the donations of friends who are aware of the ministry, supporting it economically and otherwise.

Our goal is to assist pregnant women in crisis. Women in need coming to "Evaggelistis Markos" are offered shelter, food, medical care and emotional support at no cost. We endeavor to help her locate the father of the child, relatives or some other caring friend to be a support to her, according to her wishes. We help her find some sort of occupation in order to keep herself busy while she is awaiting the time of birth. We provide assistance and support for her at the time she gives birth and for a while thereafter. We try, whenever possible, to reconcile the unwed mother and the child's father and in some cases the two marry, providing a more stable environment for the upbringing of the child. In other cases, the mother may choose to raise the child on her own or with her parents' help or as a last resort, she may give the child up for adoption.

Sometimes we shelter pregnant women, either married or divorced, who have either one or two children who for some reason have no shelter. We endeavor to assist these women and their children by enrolling them in schools, locating employment, etc.

We have a great desire to help many more women, in particular to discourage them from submitting to unwanted abortions. This is our twenty-fourth year of service to women in crisis and we know from experience that protecting and helping these women is meeting a genuine need here. Our prayer is that the work will continue and expand.

We hope, therefore, that our ministry will gain more friends-people who will understand and appreciate this difficult work. Our earnest request is that if you wish to help us you can send your donations to the above address


Father Konstantinos Plevrakis



The Church of Greece has a committee that is assigned to support families in need. The website is iaath.gr

In their statement they provide support to women that have been abused and encourage women Not to have abortions and also support the family in general. They have assigned priests to each service provided.

One the homes they fund is CENTER OF PRENATAL CARE: THE MOTHER

In Thesaloniki, Greece www.kvmhtera.gr

They provide the same services as Saint Mark Ecclesistical Foundation



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It is past time for all of us to stand up and take care of the least of Christ’s brethren, for—in doing so— we are doing it to Him. However, if we choose not to stand up for His little ones in the womb, then we need to prepare to face the possibility of hearing these words of our Master on that fearful Day: Verily I say unto you, insofar as ye did it not to one of the least of these, neither did ye do it to Me. (Mt 25:40)

Therefore, I entreat all of us to do at least three things for all the pre-born babies in our land, the first one needing to be done daily, until we depart this life:

(1) Pray for God to give us the grace to be delivered from these satanic acts in which God’s children are legally killed. Let us also pray that, again through God’s grace and each day: one doctor will stop doing abortions; one mother will choose to allow her child to be born; one pro-choice politician will repent and become pro-life; and one pro-choice family member or friend will also repent and take up the banner of caring for these least of Christ’s brethren.

(2) Contact the pro-life group in your local area, and get involved in whatever we can with their efforts. At the very least, we should give them a donation to support their virtuous cause; but let us try to do even more.

(3) On [election day], vote only for the candidates—nationally, state-wide and locally, from President to the local director of parks and recreation—who are solidly pro-life. If you must vote for a pro-abortion candidate, it would be better for your soul to remain home on [election day]. Otherwise, if your pro-abortion candidate is helped to get elected through your vote, then you will become an accessory to every abortion that he/she votes to defend; and you will have to accept that you will have a share of their innocent blood on your hands as well.

Fr. Demetrios Carellas, from his article In Protection of His Innocents



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I ask you to commit to one concrete way you can help defend His innocent ones: Whether in the effort to block FOCA or other legislative efforts; to volunteer at a local pregnancy help center and offer hands-on kindness and love to real women in crisis; to pray for and console the women who have already aborted children; to speak up in your parishes and communities (“Blessed are those who so do and so teach...”); to donate money and time in whatever way possible; to offer support to families you know who have adopted children—and recognize them to be the heroes that they are. Most of all, I ask every one of you to search your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into His Truth, and to protect you from the deception of the evil one. If every Orthodox Christian in the United States took this approach, is it not certain that God would fill our hearts—and purses—with everything we need to accomplish it? The Lord already said yes to this: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.”

Fr. Seraphim Majmudar, from his article The Thoughts of My Heart



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The Orthodox Church in America strongly reaffirms the Orthodox Church’s opposition to abortion in all cases; commends the efforts of Orthodox bishops, clergy, and laity to bear witness to the sanctity of life in the public arena, especially noting in this connection the work and witness of Orthodox Christians for Life; and commits the Orthodox Church in America to continued witness on behalf of the God-given sanctity of life;

The Orthodox Church in America recognizes that opposition to and condemnation of abortion is not enough, and that the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Christians have a moral obligation to work for the creation and maintenance of Orthodox adoption agencies and for the facilitation of adoption procedures for families to consider adopting a homeless or unwanted or disabled infant, regardless of the child’s racial or ethnic background in the realization that the Church as a whole and the parish community in particular is called to give active material and spiritual support to those who accept the responsibility of adoption;

This Council affirms and supports the work of the Orthodox Christian Adoption Referral Service and encourages parishes and members of the Orthodox Church in America to give their material and moral support to this organization;

This Council recognizes and affirms spiritual, pastoral and educational efforts towards moral persuasion, directed to the father as much as to the mother, to help stem the present hemorrhaging of unborn and unwanted human persons and lives.

WE HEREBY PROCLAIM the Sunday in January falling on or before January 22 each year to be called Sanctity of Life Sunday in all churches of the Orthodox Church in America, and that on this Sunday a letter from our primate be read in all churches, and special petitions be taken at Liturgy, proclaiming our respect as a Church, for all human life.

excerpts from a statement of the All American Council of the Orthodox Church in America - 1989



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Becoming a Pro-Life Persuader

by Frederica Mathewes-Green



The abortion battle has been dragging on for over twenty years, beginning sometime before Roe v. Wade, when individual states first loosened their laws. I have only been working at this for about seven years, and so my perspective is perhaps fresher. It seems to me that what we have been doing, frankly, isn't working. For all the energy, money, prayer, and sacrifice we have put into this cause, still a million and a half babies die every year. We may be encouraged by slight drops in the numbers of abortion and approval of Roe v Wade, but about four thousand unborn children are still dying every day.

As a nation we seem to have hit a deadlock over the issue of making abortion illegal. I believe it should be illegal, because it is violence against children, the smallest members of our human family. But sometimes it seems to me that the political discussion of abortion is overwhelming the moral discussion. The abortion issue has become something like a football game, where yards gained by one side are yards lost by the other, and neither side is ever going to be willing to give up the fight. This polarization makes it less likely that we can arrive at a resolution; even a great victory, like a Human Life Amendment, would immediately be attacked by our opponents, and they wouldn't rest until they tore it down (just as we haven't rested in combating Roe v. Wade, though it's now twenty-four years old).

I'd like to suggest some things we can do to break through that deadlock, by discovering latent consensus, enunciating points of agreement, and building on them. The immediate goal is not political victory, but persuasion; speaking realistically, final political victory may take decades, and cannot be won without persuading our opponents as well as the "mushy middle." I can start this discussion of persuasion by talking about what persuaded me. At one point in my life I was thoroughly pro-abortion.

Back in my college days I was your basic bad-tempered, male-bashing, hairy-legged women's libber. Part of this package was being, not merely pro-choice, but actively pro-abortion. Abortion, I believed, was essential to liberation. Men were able to compete in the workplace, to succeed and get ahead, because they were not hampered by pregnancy and child-rearing. Women wouldn't be able to enjoy the same success without the same freedom.

Then in 1976, a few years after Roe, I read an essay in Esquire magazine titled "What I Saw at the Abortion." In it surgeon Richard Selzer described watching a 19-week abortion, a prostaglandin-injection procedure. He described the abortionist sliding the needle of the syringe into the woman's belly, and then, he writes, "I see something other than what I expected here...it is the hub of the needle that is in the woman's belly that has jerked. First to one side. Then to the other side. Once more it wobbles, is tugged, like a fishing line nibbled by a sunfish."

The image horrified him, as it did me. I had never before considered that there might be something alive in the uterus, something that very much wanted to live. Selzer concludes his essay: "Whatever else is said in abortion's defense, the vision of that other defense will not vanish from my eyes. And it has happened that you cannot reason with me now. For what can language do against the truth of what I saw?"The truth of what he saw affected me deeply; I could no longer say that abortion was right. But something held me back from rushing headlong into pro-life activism. I still was troubled by how difficult an unplanned pregnancy could be. I knew that abortion was disastrously wrong, but couldn't visualize how to solve the problems that women face. The dilemma seemed irresolvable.

I believe that the great majority of Americans find themselves in this position. The abortion debate has been consistently phrased as one of baby's rights versus women's rights. Our opponents charge that a woman's life can be devastated by an unplanned pregnancy. The baby seems like an evil invader, an alien force that has taken over her body and seeks to destroy her life. If you have not spent five minutes imagining what it would be like to have an unplanned pregnancy, experiencing that panic and claustrophobia, you have not yet grasped what drives our opponents' fervor.

The pro-life side, on the other hand, had but one simple message: "It's a Baby!" In season and out of season, through weeks and years and decades, we persisted in saying that the life in the womb was a human child, showing sonograms, repeating that the heartbeat begins at 21 days, declaring that every third child dies from abortion.

In one sense, this is a good, effective message. It is the message that converted me, as I read Selzer's essay and visualized that life struggling and snuffed out. It is the only argument we have that ultimately convinces and galvanizes. If abortion didn't kill human life, we might still oppose it; it would still be unnecessary surgery that meddles with a woman's natural bodily processes in order to adapt her to social expectations. We might see it as deplorable, degrading and potentially dangerous, like liposuction or breast implant surgery. But we wouldn't be committed to trying to make it illegal. It is the fact that abortion kills babies that ultimately mobilizes us.

On the other hand, the "It's a Baby!" message, standing alone, backfires in several ways. In the first place, imagine the pregnant woman, frightened and alone, who hears this message. She hears us talking about how beautiful and precious the baby is, and perhaps sneering that women who want abortions are selfish, motivated by convenience. She hears us charge that she only cares about her career, or that she's using abortion as birth control. (This continual stress on the precious, innocent baby might even stir up residual vestiges of childhood sibling rivalry: "They like the baby better than me.")

The woman gets a pretty clear picture here: she and her baby are mortal enemies, and we're on her baby's side. Who's on her side? Abortion advocates are beckoning to her, telling her that they understand her grief and know what a terrible decision it is. When she turns to the embrace of those sympathetic arms, she takes her baby with her.

Secondly, the "It's a Baby!" message alone strikes the vast muddled middle as failing to take seriously the woman's plight. Nearly everyone knows someone who has been burdened with an unplanned pregnancy; our apparent willingness to dismiss those difficulties as "inconvenience" strikes as either callous or wildly naive. In an earlier age, common values of duty, responsibility, and parental obligation may have made the pro-baby rhetoric more acceptable; now the highest values are a curiously detached "tolerance" and "compassion." This is not dictionary-definition compassion, which implies "suffering with" someone in trouble; instead, it's benign isolationism, bland tolerance that looks the other way. It says, I won't interfere while you do what you feel desperation impels you to do. Pro-lifers who appear to be demanding that folks get involved and save those babies from their wicked mothers look out of step. The middle is apt to decide that we're mean people, and they don't like us.

In the third place, our opponents hear our attacks on abortion as personal attacks on them. When we say, "Abortion is an immoral choice," they hear, "People who favor abortion are immoral people." There is a personal sting to it. I long wondered why, at debates, I would attack abortion—and my opponent would not defend abortion. Instead, she would attack me. What prompted this?

It's a natural human response. We feel the same way when someone criticizes our personal behavior—food, dress, exercise, faith experience. The critic may be "only trying to help," but we are angered to be judged. Rather than defend our choice, we tend to criticize in return, especially attacking the other person's virtue and authority to judge. The "It's a Baby!" message is not one that offers solutions—it merely makes the judgement that abortion is bad. People who think it's not so bad will naturally feel insulted, and respond with less-than-helpful irritation.

It is true that "It's a Baby!" is our single most powerful argument. But it is an argument that, taken alone, can backfire in ways that are nearly disastrous. Let's look again at this deadlock. For twenty years their side has been saying "It's a woman's right," while our side has been saying "It's a Baby!" There is good news about this rhetorical battle that pro-lifers rarely realize. The good news is that we won.

A pollster for the National Abortion Rights Action League, Harrison Hickman, told attendees at their 1989 conference, "Nothing has been as damaging to our cause as the advances in technology which have allowed pictures of the developing fetus, because people now talk about that fetus in much different terms than they did 15 years ago. They talk about it as a human being, which is not something that I have an easy answer how to cure."

Middle America has become thoroughly convinced that the life in the womb is a living human being. In 1990, a Gallup poll asked whether respondents agreed that "abortion is the taking of a human life;" 77 percent said yes. A Command Research poll in 1992 asked whether the respondent agreed "the fetus is a human baby...killing is always wrong;" 73 percent agreed. In 1989 the Los Angeles Times asked respondents whether they agreed that "abortion is murder." This is strong language; even many pro-lifers avoid the term "murder" as imprecise and unhelpfully inflammatory. Yet 57% of those responding to the Times poll said that yes, abortion is murder. Only 35% disagreed.

If America agrees that "It's a Baby!" and that abortion kills that baby, logic would suggest that it would welcome laws against abortion. But such is not the case. When the same Gallup poll asked whether "the Federal Government should have no voice in the abortion decision," 63 percent agreed. The Command Research poll asked whether "society should not decide whether a woman should have an abortion," and 71 percent agreed. And the Los Angeles Times found that "Abortion is murder" was no predictor of abortion politics. A fourth of people who "generally favor abortion" agreed that it was murder, as did a third of women who have had abortions. The Los Angeles Times poll summed it up this way: "I personally feel abortion is morally wrong, but I also feel that whether or not to have an abortion is a decision that has to be made by every woman for herself." Seventy-four percent agreed.

Pro-life tactics for twenty years have depended on the assumption that, if people realized that the life in the womb was a baby, they would want abortion to be illegal. It seemed only logical. But we had overestimated the American capacity for logic. When we said "Abortion is wrong," they didn't think, "No, abortion is right." Instead, they thought, "Abortion works." It's functional. It has an indispensable social role. It keeps women available for sex without long-term obligation—something our culture was coming to hold as a very high value—and keeps women self-supporting, in the workplace without the distraction of child-rearing.

For twenty years we had been saying "It's a Baby!," but we were answering a question no one was asking. America was not lying awake nights wondering, "Is it a baby?" But there was a question they were asking. It was, "But how could we live without it?" Justice Blackmun, in his Webster dissent, stated that "women have ordered their lives around [abortion]." (What a horrible thing to order your life around.) The majority opinion in the Casey decision made a similar point—that the nation has just gotten used to having abortion around to solve problems. It would be disruptive to take it away.

It is hard for pro-lifers to realize that people can excuse bloodshed on the basis of expediency. We like to believe that the average person is nobler than that. After all, the people we are surrounded by at our conferences and churches and pro-life rallies are noble, principled, self-sacrificial types. We generalize from ourselves and our circle of friends, and expect the common man to share our penchant for high virtue. It is a touching naivete. A Gallup poll found that "fewer than 10 percent of Americans are deeply committed Christians." When we pitch to the other 90% ideas that seem obvious to us, we're likely to miss the mark.

This, then, is the biggest drawback to using the "It's a Baby!" message alone. It doesn't answer the practical question. It does perpetuate the idea that the conflict is one that pits a child against her own mother—a conflict so irresolvable that the public just wants to walk away. If we are to overcome the present abortion deadlock, we must put mother and child together again on the same side of the equation, answering the concerns about the difficulties in the mother's life as well as asserting the child's right to live. We must keep mother and child united, insisting that what hurts one hurts the other, and what helps one will help the other.

Consider the classic icon titled "The Virgin of the Sign." It shows a woman with her arms upraised in prayer. But her eyes are not closed, or even lifted up; they gaze out at the viewer with steady solemnity. The most startling thing about this image is at its center. Upon the woman's red-robed torso rests a large circle of blue, and this disk represents her womb. Within it we see her unborn child, clothed and haloed, surrounded by stars and radiant as the sun. His hand is lifted in blessing. "The Virgin of the Sign," recalls the familiar prophecy of Isaiah: "The Lord will give you a sign: behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son..." (Isaiah 7:14)

This image reminds me of the comment often made in pro-life circles that "If wombs had windows, there would be no more abortion." The Virgin of the Sign is an ancient representation of a womb with a window; we look into that small private space and find it exploding with the stars and glory of heaven, filled with the Lord of the Universe himself. Surely, if unborn children could be seen, their right to survive would be evident; it is only the veil of flesh that makes them appear the inert, tumor-like property of their mothers.

Yet too many pro-lifers make the reverse mistake, treating the bundle of flesh surrounding the baby as a mere carrier. Sometimes she is even seen as an enemy from whom we must rescue her child. But anything which separates mother from child is a lie: they are one in the profoundest intimacy that humans can know. We each knew this silent floating communion. It filled the long dark first months of every human life, tuning us for human intimacy and trust, tuning us for prayer.

A broken world drives women to believe that they must sacrifice their children's lives to continue their own. But when we adopt the opposite argument, fighting for the child's life by ridiculing the mother as selfish or motivated by convenience, we adopt the same lie. The idea that mother and child are enemies, that only one can win—whether espoused in arguing for or against abortion—partakes of an ancient lie, a bid for power and dominance, bearing the faint scent of an Apple.

My copy of the Virgin of the Sign is small, but in many Orthodox churches it is breathtakingly large, the image traditionally chosen to fill the apse. If one were to visit, for example, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC, one would see her image rising over the priests, over the altar, gazing from the high curved ceiling to the congregation below. Like all icons, the image represents spiritual truths beyond number and beyond words. But the painting also shows, on its simplest level, a peasant woman who carried a difficult pregnancy. High above we see her in prayer, and see the precious life in her womb. But her eyes are not closed, nor are they focused upward; her eyes are looking at us. May we look back with true love and courage.

Let's take a look at how to present a pro-life argument that breaks through this deadlock. The first thing to consider is attitude. We usually speak of the abortion conflict or debate; we talk about fighting and trying to win the battle. What this language may obscure for us is the truth that we can't defeat our enemies—we must persuade them. This is a battle for ideas and opinions, not land. You can't simply push your way in. You have to coax others to join you.

This means that preparing to discuss abortion doesn't entail memorizing lists of witty, devastating comebacks. A beaten enemy is not your friend—just a more dangerous enemy. Mark Crutcher suggests the following scenario: imagine that you are attending a debate on abortion. The pro-choice speaker is prepared, eloquent, and charming. The pro-life speaker is clumsy and incompetent, and blows it completely. Do you leave the hall thinking, "Gee, I guess I was wrong"? No; the more clever the person on the other side is, the more you'll feel annoyed and defensive.

In order to persuade, we need to listen and, as best we can, to love. We need to respect those who disagree with us, showing them that, if they were to come around to our side, they could do so without losing face. We need to be attentive to the specific reasons this individual is pro-choice, and not just blast away at the broad profile of the national movement. It may be that only one or two concerns or misunderstandings keeps this person from joining our side. Listen and respond.

This will come easier to some temperaments than others. I imagine our movement divided roughly into two camps: Proclaimers and Persuaders. Proclaimers are bold sorts who are moved by the horror of abortion and compelled to state it powerfully and urgently. This is an important role, but Proclaimers are not particularly good listeners, and persuasion depends on listening. Persuaders are more adept at digging the rocks out of the road of communication. Both Proclaimers and Persuaders are needed in any cause, along with a score of other specialists: administrators, strategists, counselors, financial supporters, intercessors, and the servant-hearted people who run pregnancy care centers.

The winning, persuasive case for life can be presented in three points. The first is, "It's a Baby!" Yes, this is nearly universally accepted already, but it remains our most galvanizing point. It cannot be neglected, although alone it is not enough, and can backfire, as described above.

One shift I would suggest is to spend less time on the nature of the unborn—fetal development, the heart beating at 21 days, the little feet—and more on the nature of abortion and how it destroys that serene harmony. It is not the life in the womb that people find distressing but the violence that destroys that life. No one wants to be in favor of violence.

Talk about what you've learned about abortion and how it distressed you. No one can argue with your experience or your feelings, and your feelings gently transfer to your listener. You can paint word-pictures by speaking of abortion as bloody violence, by talking about dismemberment, the fetal limbs going down the garbage disposal. The unbelievable cruelty of partial birth abortion has brought the possibility of such realities to public awareness, though your listener may be under the mistaken impression that earlier-term abortions are somehow humane. Use words like grisly, ghastly, horrifying. Bear witness to your feelings: realizing that this is going on 4500 times a day makes us feel overwhelmed and sorrowful. (It also makes us angry, but that is not a helpful emotion to display when trying to persuade. The listener feels challenged, compelled to disparage your anger and reject your judgement by insulting and ridiculing you.)

People know that the life in the womb is a baby, but they don't know how hideously abortion destroys that life. That's the knowlege that will make it hard for them to look in the mirror and say, "I'm in favor of abortion rights." Don't expect to convince them in one conversation; it's enough to plant seeds that will work their way deeper in moments of reflection.

If word-pictures are effective, wouldn't photos of aborted babies work even better? I've come to the conclusion that these photos too often backfire. In one poll, 41% of respondents said that when they are shown these photos, they get angry at the person who showed them to them. In my research with post-abortion women, two who visited pregnancy care centers were shown aborted-baby photos. In both cases, the women became furious at the counselor, and decided to have the abortion anyway, almost in spite.

I believe that word-pictures can be even more effective than actual photos, in the same way that a radio thriller is creepier than a crudely graphic slasher film. The intimacy of the spoken word prompts hearers to paint their own mental picture, which gets past defenses more easily and linger longer.

When you begin your approach by reiterating the truth that "It's a Baby!", the listener is likely to automatically balance the scale in the familiar way: Yes, but women want abortions. The second point to make, then, is that abortion hurts women. It costs a terrible price in children's lives, and does not even deliver on its promise to help.

Look at the assertion that women want abortions. In what sense does she want it? If you had $300 to spend, is this where you'd like to see it go? Even if abortion didn't kill babies, it would still be a physically awkward, unpleasant, painful procedure. Most women are reluctant even to go for their yearly pap exams; this procedure will probe her body even more extensively, opening the uterus and vacuuming it out. Abortion is a physical violation deeper than rape. Do we really believe that women want this experience?

Beyond that, the procedure itself is one designed, not to heal a physical problem, but to subvert a healthy, normal process. Just as our bodies are made to breathe and digest food, women's bodies are designed to sustain a pregnancy and deliver a baby. There is a natural balance to these physical functions. When machines are intruded into her body to interfere with this process and kill her child, her natural bodily ecology is disrupted. It's not surprising when physical damage results.

Some studies have shown the rate of miscarriage after abortion rising 2-3 times, the rate of sterility rising 4 times, and the rate of ectopic pregnancies increasing a full 5 times. (The Centers for Disease Control notes that the rate of ectopic pregnancy has gone up 500 percent between 1970 and 1987, and they don't know why. If they looked at the single biggest change in women's reproductive health care during those years it might give them a clue.) More recently, connections between abortion and breast cancer have been suggested.

While it is good to present these possible complications, don't get caught in a battle of numbers. Opponents can produce (or invent) statistics to support any refutation. But the overall theme—that pregnancy is natural and that abortion disrupts that normal process, that this can reasonably be expected to cause physical problems—meets the common-sense test.

In answer to the belief that women want abortions, we counter that it's (1) expensive, (2) awkward, humiliating, and painful, and (3) potentially dangerous. We have not yet reached the most compelling reason: abortion breaks a woman's heart. I received a letter from a man whose wife had an abortion; afterwards, he said, she just fell apart. "They told her that it would give her control of her body," he wrote. "But what kind of trade off is that, to gain control of your body and lose control of your mind?"

Abortion may look like the only way for her to express her freedom, but the price is too high. Too often she realizes this only when it's too late. I think of the gypsy in Verdi's opera, Il Trovatore. Outraged by the Count's cruel injustice, she stole his infant son and, in a crazed act of vengeance, flung him into the fire. Or so she thought. For, in turning around, she discovered the Count's son lay safe on the ground behind her; it was her own son she had thrown into the flames. Abortion looks like liberty, like throwing off the shackles of injustice. That thrilling illusion only lasts until you realize who it was you threw into the flames.

Sometimes there are indications that even pro-choice advocates are willing to acknowledge this searing grief. Some years ago I wrote the following lines in an article: "No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg." A while later I was surprised to see the quote appear in an essay by the pro-choice columnist for the Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman. Soon after that it appeared in a box as "Quote of the Week" on the front page of Planned Parenthood's Public Affairs Action Letter. About six months later it showed up again, this time as "Quote of the Month" in The Pro-Choice Network Newsletter. Apparently there are some things on which both pro-life and pro-choice can agree.

When you've made the first two points, that abortion kills babies and that it hurts women, you have broken through the deadlock that classic abortion rhetoric presents. The question is no longer women's rights versus babies' rights; abortion hurts them both. Now we arrive at the practical question: How could we live without it?

Living without abortion means solving two problems: preventing unplanned pregnancies in the first place, and giving women support when they do become pregnant. Our third point, after "It's a Baby" and "Abortion hurts women," is that we can prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Our friends on the other side are very interested in this cause, and put much faith in contraception and sex education. Some pro-lifers oppose contraception as an immoral seizing of God's right to determine when new life begins, and as offering a false power that contributes to an "abortion mentality." Other pro-lifers have no moral objection to contraception (as long as it is non-abortifacient), and may even use it in their own lives. But they are skeptical of contraception's ability to solve the problem.

After all, birth control has become much more available since the early 70's. Yet the rate of abortion has remained near 1.5 million for fifteen years. It's not that people are uninformed about contraception or unable to acquire it. Other influences must be at work.

Scientists have discovered, however, that unplanned pregnancy is not caused by lack of contraception or sex education. In virtually every case, they've found, pregnancy is caused by sex. When the sex is between two people who have no lasting commitment to each other, the pregnancy is far more likely to be unwanted.

Recovering an ethic of commitment-based sexuality will mean rediscovering the value of chastity and marriage (rapidly becoming the Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name). Too much is wrong with the balance of power in male-female sexual relationships to be fixed by backing up a dump-truck and burying it in condoms.

For the woman who is already pregnant, our opponents' vows to work for sex education and contraception are cold comfort, if not downright insulting. When I was writing Real Choices I spent a year studying the problems of pregnancy, seeking to discover the reasons most likely to cause women to choose abortion. I expected to find practical problems heading the list, such as financial needs, the difficulty of working while raising a child, or pressure to drop out of school. Yet after reviewing several studies and conducting my own, no clear pattern was emerging.

But when I spoke with groups of post-abortion women a nearly-unanimous consensus appeared. Women had abortions, in nearly every case, because of relationships. Most often it was to please the father of the child, who was pressuring for abortion either in obvious or subtle ways, or hinting at abandonment. The second most common reason was pressure from a parent, most often the girl's mother. It seems that mothers' tigress-like desire to protect their offspring can extend even to protecting a daughter from a grandchild, if it looks like the pregnancy will interfere with the daughter's welfare. A third reason that emerged was the woman's desire to protect her parents from the effects of her pregnancy, which she felt would over-burden them.

In my research I found a woman was most likely to choose abortion in order to please or protect people that she cares about, but too often discovers too late that there was another person to whom she had an obligation, her own unborn child. The grief that follows abortion springs from this conviction that a relationship was fatally betrayed.

Supporting women with unplanned pregnancies means continuing all the things pregnancy care centers have been doing: providing housing, medical care, clothing, counseling, and so forth. But in light of this special need for relationships, we should also be paying special attention to being a steadfast friend (this is more important than any material help we can give) and to doing whatever we can to repair relationships in the family circle that have been broken.

Rather than automatically dismiss the baby's father as a cad, we should careful explore whether marriage is a possibility. "Shotgun" marriages have a higher rate of success than expected: in one study, 50 percent of black teen marriages to legitimize a pregnancy were still intact 10 years later. With a national divorce rate of 50 percent, they're batting average. White teen couples did even better: 75 percent were still together 10 years later. Even if a marriage fails, at least the child will have some experience of male parenting, some early memories of Dad, better than none at all. There's a financial benefit as well, even if the marriage fails. Sixty-four percent of divorced and separated mothers receive child support payments; for women who never married, that rate is only 20 percent.

These three points—abortion kills babies, it hurts women, we can live without it—summarize an approach to the abortion debate that can be effective and persuasive. It is important to note that none of these arguments mention God. None use religious or Biblical citations to carry their point. I find that it is nearly always ineffective to use religious arguments with people who are not religious. When you say, "God says abortion is wrong," they don't slap their foreheads and exclaim, "By golly, you're right! I never thought of that!" Instead they think, "Oh—you're one of those." You get put into a little box from which you will never escape, and anything else you say will be dismissed.

When these three points are covered, listeners will often say, "I agree with everything you say—but I just don't think abortion should be illegal. Why can't we just keep working for these social changes, and leave abortion legal for the cases when it's needed?"

This question is a bit moot at present; pro-lifers last made a major attempt to pass laws against abortion in the 1990 "Abortion as Birth Control" model legislation campaign. The results were disappointing, as Roe v. Wade stood as a wall blocking every attempt at self-determination by states. Since then legislation has not tried to restrict the practice as much as hedge it with waiting periods, informed consent, and parental involvement. While these laws are good and necessary, they may have the unintended effect of making abortion appear safely hedged, reasonable and acceptable.

Since there is no present opportunity to make abortion illegal, when that topic comes up it can hijack the discussion and carry it into polarized areas that have no present practical application. But the truth remains that abortion should be illegal. Martin Luther King expressed the reasoning in words like these: "You cannot legislate morality, but you can regulate behavior. I can't make a man love me, but I can stop him from lynching me." That is the bottom-line purpose of law.

We have in America a great many laws affecting all areas of our lives. We have leash laws and zoning laws and parking laws, and if 90 percent of those laws were erased from the books tomorrow we could still get by; we could still have a civilization. But there is an irreducible core of laws that we could not live without, laws that without which we would have barbarism.

Those are the laws against violence. They are the laws against child abuse, against rape and murder, against spouse-battering. These laws are sometimes the only thing that stand between the small and weak and the strong and powerful. Abortion laws are that kind of law. Unborn children are our smallest sisters and brothers in our human family, and they deserve that protection.

We already have twenty-years' evidence of what happens when that legal protection is repealed: these children are being killed at the rate of 4,100 a day. Residual humanitarianism or goodwill or compassion doesn't bubble up from some mysterious source and protect them; only the force of law can do that. It will do it imperfectly, to be sure, but these children deserve whatever protection we can win them.

The arguments offered against abortion laws tend to envision a perfect society where women are empowered and free; a few legally-permitted abortions (or 35 million) is the price we must pay. This tragically bizarre logic puts me in mind of a conversation in The Brothers Karamazov. Ivan is arguing with his brother Alyosha about the perfectibility of human existence. He says: "Tell me yourself, I challenge you—answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making people happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating her breast with her fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on her unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell me the truth."

http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/abortion.aspx



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Night Cometh When No One is Able to Be Working (John 9:4)

by Fr. Demetrios Carellas, January 22, 2010



Several months ago, President Obama announced to the world that America is not a Christian Nation; and from one point of view he is correct, because we certainly are not exhibiting the actions of a Christian Nation. However, our Country was founded upon Christian principles and teachings; and, therefore, we all share a sacred commitment: to our Lord Jesus Christ; our children and grandchildren; each other; and the entire population of this Planet, to RETURN to His Gospel --- while it is day. We have chosen as a Nation especially during the last 50 years to abandon Christ. And that abandonment is clearly personified in the fact that one of the largest profit-making businesses in the United States is the LEGAL killing of God's most innocent children!

How much longer will God endure this shedding of innocent blood? When will He send us earthquakes, like the ones that have just brought hundreds of thousands of deaths and catastrophic destruction to the tiny country of Haiti? And look at the hypocrisy, my dear brothers and sisters: Both government and private groups as they should are pouring much needed aid and personnel to this poor ravaged land; and yet, we remain deaf to the silent screams of 4000 babies that we legally kill everyday! What madness is this? Furthermore, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on trying to clean up our environment from various types of pollutants; however, because of our spiritual blindness, we fail to see the blood of 50 MILLION pre-born babies that has saturated our nation's soul, and the souls of multi-millions of her citizens. Do we really believe, on that fearful Day (and it WILL come), that He Who took upon our flesh in the womb of the Virgin will ignore this satanic slaughter of His children, and because we have clean air and water, He will tell us, Well done, good and faithful servants? Do we have the audacity to assume that He, Who shed His precious Blood for us on the Cross, will overlook the oceans of blood of His precious little ones that have been offered to Satan on the ungodly altars of pride, privacy, and profit?

Thanks be to God for the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, who have been doing God's work over the past 40 years to defend the pre-born baby s inalienable right to be born. Through their unselfish and Christ-like efforts, several hundred thousand babies have been saved from death over the past 4 decades; and ten times that many souls were given the opportunity to avoid spiritual death by repenting, and seeking God's unlimited forgiveness and healing! Is it not past the time for the rest of us, while it is day, to join with them in some manner? Maybe we are not being called to stand in front of the abortion chambers (Although that may indeed be the case for some of us.), but perhaps we can help prepare and/or help distribute pro-life information, by becoming actively involved in a pro-life group near us.

At the very least, every one of us can PRAY to our Lord Jesus to speedily deliver us from this terrible crime against Him. Can we even begin to imagine the glorious impact, if untold thousands (what about millions) of Christians were DAILY crying out to God to heal our Nation and all of us from this abortion holocaust? Could we at least make a commitment to do that EVERYDAY, until the Lord returns? How much physical strain would that entail? NONE! How much time would that take out of each day? VERY LITTLE! I have even programmed my cell phone to remind me to stop what I am doing, and offer such a prayer at/near Noon everyday: the time when our Most-sweet Lord Jesus was nailed on the Cross for us. If you need a prayer to offer, I have placed one at the very end of this paper for you to consider using. Think of how all those prayers would permeate the very air we breathe --- helping to cast off the polluted, carnal atmosphere, which has stolen our nation's Christian identity!

My dear brothers and sisters in the risen Lord Jesus, the term, pro-choice Christian, is the consummate oxymoron. You cannot be a Christian, and believe that it is okay to kill a child in the womb of his/her mother. As a priest, I cannot be politically correct in my comments; for then I would be betraying the One Who died that I might live. Arise, my brothers and sisters! Arise! Let us stand up for every pre-born child --- through our words and our actions. Let us love those who still believe it is okay to commit these murders; but let us NOT be intimidated by them, as we pray for their deliverance from the evil one's oppression of them. If it is blessed by God, let us each day ask our Lord Jesus to accept our prayer on behalf of one baby and his/her mother in our town --- that she will have a change of heart and allow her child to be born!

As was the case with each individual (the so-called pro-choice Christian), so also a Nation cannot be called a Christian one, as long as it continues to murder its pre-born children. I beg you, my brothers and sisters: please do your part to restore our Nation to its Christian roots. NOW is the time for ALL, who call themselves Christians, to come to the defense of the child in the womb! NOW, while it is day, is the time to be working the works of the One Who sent us. Let us begin at this very moment, my beloved co-struggler's on sea of life; because night cometh, when no one is able to be working!




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A Partial List of Pro-Life Organizations

1. Orthodox Christians for life – www.oclife.org

2. Zoe for Life – www.zoeforlifeonline.org

3. The National Right to Life Committee – www.nrlc.org

4. Pro-life Action League – www.prolifeaction.org

5. American Life League – www.all.org

6. People Concerned for the Unborn Child – www.pcuc.org

7. Nurturing Network – www.nurturingnetwork.org

8. Birthright – Help Centers – toll-free: 800-550-4900

9. Crisis Pregnancy Centers – toll-free: 800-848-LOVE

10. Real Alternatives – www.realalternatives.org

11. Bethany Christian Services – toll-free: 800-BETHANY

12. Children of God for Life – www.cogforlife.org