By Bishop Richard F. Stika
Decades ago, people on another continent shocked the world, saying, “We did not know” regarding the atrocities they chose to ignore. And before that, our own country enshrined as the law of its land the slavery of those we deemed less than human. Yet today, we encounter a similar troubling indifference, and worse: the suppression of the truth regarding the most vulnerable among us.
Evil without its makeup — that is the reality exposed in the unfolding series of videos revealing how the unborn life of a baby, deemed worthless by Planned Parenthood while in the womb, has value only in the sale of its dissected human parts. What has become of our humanity when our conscience is not sickened by the callous talk of less “crunchy” methods to fetch a greater dollar value for the baby limbs and organs that will be separated in a petri dish for sale like a laboratory rat?
But if one is to believe Planned Parenthood, the real aggressor is The Center for Medical Progress, which shined a light into the arena of darkness and the Frankenstein-like business of trafficking in human parts, which is prohibited by federal law. If Planned Parenthood’s definition of an extremist is one who believes in the sanctity of the unborn and the protection that these vulnerable lives should be afforded, then I, too, am an extremist. I challenge everyone to view these videos, all of which can be watched in their unedited, full-length version.
If someone watched the major news outlets during these past few weeks, one story dominated the headlines in most reports: the poaching of Cecil the lion in Africa. Care for the environment and of all God’s good creation is important, but have we forgotten a far greater ecology that calls for our attention?
Pope Francis recently highlighted the “throwaway” mentality behind not only our failure to care for our earthly environment but also, and more importantly, our failure to respect a human ecology. A true human ecology is one that recognizes the inestimable value of life from conception to natural death, be it the life of the unborn in the womb, the poor, the sick and elderly and even those on death row who themselves may have brutally taken another life. This human ecology calls us to especially reach out with love, mercy and healing toward those who may be contemplating, or have chosen to have, an abortion.
There is so much senseless violence in our country today, emblematic of this “throwaway” mentality that cheapens the value of human life. Should we be surprised by the growing violence in our society when the brain or liver of an 11-week-old fetus has a value of $75? So I ask the question Pope Francis asked: “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings … if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?”
If only the half-billion dollars of taxpayer money given to Planned Parenthood each year could be redirected to the thousands of pregnancy help centers, which offer loving and compassionate options that instead affirm the sanctity and dignity of both mother and child.
If the ongoing coverage of Planned Parenthood causes anyone to experience revived trauma from a past abortion, be assured that any and all people will be welcomed with compassionate, nonjudgmental, confidential assistance through the Catholic Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel, www.projectrachel.com. And anyone who is scared and needs help with a pregnancy can contact our Catholic Charities of East Tennessee Pregnancy Help Center at 1.877.990.4673.