Abp Listecki on Planned Parenthood scandal: A picture of your child is worth a thousand words

I am a Baby Boomer and the most significant means of information, when I was growing up, was the television. The TV brought happenings right into the living room – there was no dependency upon radio commentary to paint a picture; the picture was there for everyone to see. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words,” was experienced by everyone and it was shared as something that could be appreciated. The picture would speak for itself, as it often presented the reality. Sometimes the images could be inspiring, like the first steps taken by an American on the moon. Other times, it could be transformative, such as pictures of the Vietnam War that caused men and women to protest our involvement.

The stark reality of pictures can also help understand the consequences of various actions. Have you seen the recent anti-smoking television ads from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? They show individuals who, because of smoking, have had limbs amputated, eyesight lost, birth defects to newborn babies and tracheotomies performed because of breathing problems. At the end of some of the videos, an on-screen graphic text tells us that the featured person passed away and gives the date of their death – a shocking ending. These are hard ads to watch, for these are real people and real consequences, but many would defend these stark presentations, by stating that they save lives.

However, many of these same proponents would object to the pictorial demonstration of an abortion, which shows the fetus – a human being in utero – being carved up. Many would say that this graphic depiction was too brutal for the sensitivity of the public. However, perhaps when we hide the reality or consequences of the action, we allow an avoidance of the responsibility for what is actually happening.

Recently Planned Parenthood was discovered to haggle over the price of body parts of aborted fetuses. Of course, there really is no problem if you consider the fetus to be anything other than a human being, convincing yourself that it’s not a child. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that we condemned human experimentation by doctors in Nazi concentration camps.
Some so-called “enlightened” legislatures block proposed laws that would require potential mothers to have a short period of time before they make a decision to abort their children. Yet, these same individuals would support informed decision-making in all other circumstances. Ultrasounds have helped women caught in the dilemma of unplanned pregnancies, to see pictures of their children and understand their struggles for life. A picture of your child is worth a thousand words even before the child can say “mama.”

The majority of the American public finds late-term abortions repugnant. It doesn’t take much effort to understand that an early abortion is just a child not allowed to develop. I guess we as a society still need to develop, so I pray that no one decides to abort us before our chance to live. Our hope is in the Lord’s encouragement to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

See with God’s Eyes,

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee

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