By Dr. Mark Creech
In 1994, Mother Teresa of Calcutta India was the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. What took place that day was nothing less than historic. Next to the podium sat then President Bill Clinton, Vice President Gore, their wives, and a number of dignitaries. Slowly aids rolled in the frail, eighty-three-year old Nun of the Missionaries of Charity in a wheelchair. They even had to help her stand to the podium, which included a special platform for the four-foot-six-inch woman who could hardly reach the microphone.
But what Mother Teresa lacked in stature was no impediment to the power of her words, which sent shockwaves through the audience. She strongly rebuked America and its leadership for the practice of abortion.
She spoke of our nation’s selfishness and warned that we were quickly losing the proper meaning of love: “giving until it hurts.”
Mother Teresa argued, “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other?…Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”
She then pleaded with women who were considering terminating their pregnancies not to do it. “Please don’t kill the child,” she begged. “I want the child. Please give me the child. I want it. I will care for it.”
I met Mother Teresa when on a short term Christian missions trips to Calcutta in 1996. While visiting with her at her place of ministry, I expressed my appreciation for the bold stand she took for life on that special day in our nation’s capital. She replied that she had personally placed thousands of unwanted children with families in Calcutta. But she said that she had also set up places around the world, where women after carrying their children to term could place their infants as an alternative to abortion.
What I learned from that moment was that it’s not enough to simply curse the darkness of this wanton destruction of innocent life. If we are to really make any difference as Mother Teresa did, we must be willing to personally engage. We must be willing to love – to give until it hurts – to end this terrible chapter of human history.
As pro-life supporters across the nation prepare for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on Jan. 19, the question of how sacred life is in the Tar Heel state remains a matter of debate.
We’ve celebrated some wonderful successes this year, especially as the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation aimed at raising safety standards at abortion clinics and allowing for conscience protection of our state’s healthcare workers. The new law also seeks to prohibit abortion as a means of gender selection. But our hearts still break for the incredible numbers of the unborn that will never experience life outside the womb.
Since the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, more than 55 million babies have been murdered in the United States. The most recent statistics released, those from 2011, show 61 abortions per day taking place in North Carolina.
Because the state is moving forward on the pro-life issue, Americans United for Life cited it as one of the four most-improved in a recent report, though we still rank 21st overall. Further good news is that what’s happening here is also happening elsewhere. Twenty-two states enacted abortion restriction measures last year, laws that are beginning to reflect the pro-life stance of the nation as a survey performed last spring by the Polling Company showed that 53 percent of Americans oppose legal abortion except in cases of rape or incest or when it threatens the life of the mother.
Perhaps even more than the state’s positive ranking from Americans United for Life, we should measure North Carolina’s pro-life successes by the fact that the pro-abortion group NARAL has awarded the Tar Heel state the grade of “F.” They’re most upset about the state Legislature deciding to hold abortion doctors accountable to truly provide care for their patients, requiring them to be present for the entire surgical procedure and to abide by some of the same standards as other types of surgical clinics.
Certainly, we would much rather see abortion clinics closed altogether rather than operating under new rules, but as long as abortion is legal, laws that make it safe for women are necessary.
Even the new laws, however, remain under threat as reports emerged this week showing the medical director of a twice-closed clinic in Charlotte is among a number of pro-abortion members of the Department of Health and Human Services’ workgroup being consulted about the development of the new rules that will govern abortion providers in the state.
While we understand this rule-drafting work that began last fall is still in its earliest stages, it certainly seem egregious that the very doctors whose clinics were closed for breaking existing rules would even be considered for a place at the table. Already well-known pro-abortion advocates like Dr. David Grimes and groups like Planned Parenthood are being asked for input. We can only hope the committee will also look to surgical clinics that are already under the higher standards to see what rules are applicable so that the new law truly does make the procedure safer for women.
In truth, our prayer this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday goes well beyond technical rules and statistics to the heart of the matter, life itself.
Our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, tells us that He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) . Until we seek the abundant life He offers, we will never understand how precious and sacred life really is. Moreover, Sanctity of Human Life Sunday calls us to do more than assert that we are pro-life. It calls us to action. It calls us to personally engage – to show love – to give until it hurts- until this holocaust is finally over.