NOTE: This article is one of a series on the “top ten” accomplishments of the pro-life movement over the past 40 years since unborn children were stripped of their legal right to life by the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings.
Last month, the entire nation was struck with horror over the massacre of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School at Newtown, Connecticut. We all felt the pain of their tragic murders; we mourned the loss of their young lives.
That mourning was only amplified as we learned more about the massacre—as we connected those 26 bodies with particular names and faces, acts of heroism or kindness, dreams and aspirations that will never be realized.
It is right and just that we should respond in this way. But that response points to one of the great injustices of abortion: we have no names, no faces to connect to the 55 million children who have been legally killed by abortionists over the past 40 years.
God alone knows their names and their faces. But though we cannot mourn these children as they truly deserve—by name—we have not forgotten them.
“Blessed are they who mourn . . .”
Roe v. Wade‘s earliest victims would now be raising their own children by now. Some of them might even be grandparents.
Reflections like this help us to get our heads around the scale of this tragedy, whole generations cut down with every abortion. Brothers and sisters, friends, spouses, coworkers, neighbors we will never know.
We mourn their loss, inspired by Our Lord’s promise, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
We also remember these children through our Face the Truth Tours, showing the images of specific babies killed by abortion, the only baby picture they’ll ever have.
This ongoing act of mourning for the victims of legal abortion is far more important than many realize and constitutes one of the most important spiritual accomplishments of the pro-life movement.
“. . . for they will be comforted.”
When we mourn for the victims of abortion, we accomplish two things. First, we contradict the murderous falsehood, codified into law, that their lives have no meaning at all. Our grief is real; what we grieve for—who we grieve for—matters.
Secondly, by willingly suffering in our hearts over these tragic deaths, we are prepared to receive the grace we need to fight the injustice of abortion. As Pope Benedict XVI puts it:
Those who do not harden their hearts to the pain and need of others, who do not give evil entry to their souls, but suffer under its power and so acknowledge the truth of God—they are the ones who open the windows of the world to let the light in. It is to those who mourn in this sense that great consolation is promised.
Benedict calls mourning a “shattering encounter with truth, which leads men to undergo conversion and to resist evil.”
Inspired by this vision, the Pro-Life Action League has launched the “Blessed Are They Who Mourn” project to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, calling on pro-lifers to make solemn visits on January 22 to memorial sites dedicated to the victims of abortion. Others have planned similar events.
An act of justice
Through clinic witness, pregnancy assistance, public education and the enactment of pro-life laws, we do all that we can to save every baby from abortion. But we do not abandon those—the vast majority—that we cannot save.
We remember them. We mourn them. We cry out on behalf of their humanity. And for this act of justice, God blesses us with the grace to carry on the fight to end abortion.