New York City announced its latest abortion numbers, and it’s a shocker. Of all pregnancies, 41 percent end in abortion. The abortion death rate in the black community is even worse: 60 percent of all African-American unborn babies are aborted. It swells to 72 percent for African-American teens.
One guilty party is the state government. New York liberally pays for all or most “medically necessary” abortions. That’s usually defined as “for physical and mental reasons.” Tragically, the so-called solution of abortion many times causes physical and psychological difficulties, including death from hemorrhaging or infection to suicidal tendencies.
While the government pays to harm unborn children and their mothers, religious communities have stepped forward to announce how they are helping women.
The Chiaroscuro Foundation, an organization that supports pro-life initiatives, hosted an event in New York City with Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders. Archbishop Timothy Dolan led the event with Reverend Michel Faulkner, founder and pastor of the New Horizon Church in Harlem; Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, of Agudath Israel of America; and Leslie Dz, a spokeswoman for Democrats for Life of New York, and the wife of State Senator Rub Dz.
They explained how they are responding to this tragedy with practical support for women.
“We have to do more than shiver over these chilling statistics!” said Archbishop Dolan, as he reaffirmed the standing offer to help any woman who is pregnant. “I invite all to come together to make abortion rare, a goal even those who work to expand the abortion license tell us they share.”
Religious leaders often see what politicians do not – the long-term effects of abortion on women, men, and communities. These leaders did not demand more government funding or bureaucratic programs. They offered themselves and their communities and invited others to help also.
Anne Downey is an example of one person in New York who looked for a solution to an unseen need. The director for Concerned Women for America of New York was in church one day, sitting in a row behind a young lady with Down syndrome.
Knowing that over 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, the thought seared her heart: this child will know few people like her. That means less support for her and her family and less tolerance for these unique people. A lonelier life.
Anne also knew that a critical moment is when parents receive the news of the diagnosis of their preborn baby. Nearly always the news is presented like a sentence to a life of misery for the child and parents.
But what if parents could get a glimpse of how these children can live rich lives and bring joy to others?
This began Anne’s journey to create a simple and easy way to provide that glimpse. She connected with families and support groups and produced a brochure to be given to parents when they receive a diagnosis. The Down Syndrome Brochure and website provide pictures of children and adults with Down syndrome enjoying life, with links to support groups.
It’s not meant to provide all the answers. It’s for that moment when parents feel overwhelmed and pressured with negative information, led to believe that their only choice is abortion. It provokes their imagination to see the possible.
Other women consider abortion for other reasons. Religious communities provide support for them as well. As Anne says:
“We know from listening to women in New York that many of them have had an abortion or considered abortion because they felt they had no choice. The good news is that the pregnancy care centers across the state are reaching out to women with free information and assistance, offering real options and choices.
“I encourage anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy to contact a pregnancy care center in your area. In the yellow pages, look under ‘Abortion Alternatives.’ Online you can do a Google search on ‘Pregnancy Care Center.’ And for the many New York women who have had abortions and are struggling with that decision, please know that there are many excellent programs throughout the state – including the Project Rachel program at all the Diocese offices in New York State &mdahs; that provide compassionate, nonjudgmental assistance.”
New York faces a crushing budget deficit of $10 billion, set to swell next year to $14 billion. One item it needs to cut from its profligate spending is abortion.
In the meantime, religious communities will do what we’ve been called to do – rescue those unjustly sentenced to death, be our brother’s keeper, and care for the widows and orphans.