Choose life from conception to birth 'and then some'

Originally Appeared in : 9912-6/6/19

Ten years ago, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate that the Catholic Church is “fully aware that a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.”


The Pope Emeritus hit the nail on the head with that observation, emphasizing that the “Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics.” The great pity is that few other voices join with those of Catholics in upholding this vital link. As a result, Western society is increasingly fragmented, with its once solid foundations eroded to the point that the freedom of some necessarily brings death to others, especially those unable to defend themselves.


On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Roe v. Wade that state legislatures did not have the power to enact laws restricting the practice of killing babies before birth in most cases, because such laws would violate the right to privacy “implied” in the Constitution. Following the disastrous precedent set by the Court in its 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford that defined away the rights of a whole race of people by judicial fiat, the Court’s 1973 decision simply defined away the rights of children already conceived but not yet born, according to an artificial and arbitrary sliding scale of trimesters.


Facing the prospect that the Court may revisit and even reverse its disastrous and arbitrary decision in Roe v. Wade, some states have passed laws, such as New York’s Reproductive Health Act (RHA), enacted by both houses of the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on January 22, 2019, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In the words of a supporter, the RHA “decriminalizes” abortion in New York, even permitting “licensed nurse practitioners, physician assistants and licensed midwives to provide abortion services.”


That evening, Governor Cuomo “ordered One World Trade Center and other landmarks to be lit in pink to celebrate the bill’s passage,” an act criticized by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and by a New York Daily News columnist, who called it “an act of trolling and politicizing the memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to celebrate the passage of a divisive law.”
Prompted by such divisive laws passed by “progressive” states, including some that allow for infanticide, some more traditional states, such as Georgia, have passed “heartbeat bills” to restrict abortions after a heartbeat has been detected in the fetus. The proponents of “reproductive rights,” no longer consider abortion to be a “necessary evil”; they now proclaim it to be a positive good, advising women, “Shout Your Abortion,” and threatening to boycott states who dare to protect the unborn. On May 31, the Associated Press reported that Disney may join Netflix in “rethinking” filming in Georgia and other “heartbeat” states. This is blackmail.


In this context, an initiative proposed by the Georgia State Deputy-elect of the Knights of Columbus casts a very positive and encouraging light. Mark Hofmann, who will be installed on June 29, unveiled “Choose Life: From Conception to Birth…And Then Some” (or CBT) at the State Convention held in Savannah on May 17-19. His initiative has the full support of the sitting State Deputy, Mark Corrigan and of yours truly, the State Chaplain.


Building on the Georgia State Council’s Ultrasound Initiative, which has now placed ultrasound machines in over 130 facilities (up from 16 two years ago), CTB will provide a complete “palette of care” to women in need, who face “the long months of pregnancy with no resources, nowhere to turn and no money” to help them.


“Through a network of physician specialists who offer free or low-cost medical services,” CTB will provide pre-natal care to the mother-to-be, from the beginning of her pregnancy, as well as a certified ultrasound image at every stage “up to and including the delivery of her child.”


“Then Some” is a local council- based “Adopt- A- Baby” Program. Working through an approved pregnancy resource center, Knights of Columbus councils “will fund the simple needs of the newborn child and his or her mother.”


To achieve the goal of adding and assisting women who decide to nurture life as God intended, rather than to destroy it, the Georgia State Council of the Knights of Columbus will work to create a network of doctors, nurses, pregnancy center and other healthcare professionals to help these women and their babies on their journey “From Conception to Birth… And Then Some.”


This network will include councils sponsoring a particular mother, working with pregnancy centers to assess the needs of the mothers and help them as they begin their journey. Knights of Columbus Charities of Georgia (KCCG) will set up a link on the website for individuals to make donations to the CTB Initiative.


Experienced medical personnel will be trained to assist mothers in applying for aid and directing them to the appropriate network personnel. Obstetricians and Gynecologists throughout Georgia will provide basic services to the mothers during their pregnancies, with free or discounted office visits subsidized by the Knights of Columbus, who will also assist with transportation and housing.


Emotional and spiritual support teams will be formed. Local Councils and the KCCG will provide new mothers and their babies with supplies to begin their new life as a family.
If you would like to join us Knights in helping to save the lives of babies and to restore dignity to their mothers, please contact the Georgia State Council of the Knights of Columbus, P.O. Box 82268, Conyers, GA 30013, or call Mark Hofmann at 404-569-7827, Paul Zock at 706-313-4456, or John Jedlica at 770-722-9614.


Father Douglas K. Clark is pastor of Saint Matthew Church, Statesboro and state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.

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