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New York religious communities step up to reduce abortion

By January 11, 2011Sanctity of Life
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Editor’s Note: A version of this article was published by the Washington Examiner. Click here to read it.

New York City recently announced its latest abortion numbers and they are shocking. Of all pregnancies, 41 percent end in abortion. The abortion 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. Just like D.C., New York liberally pays for all or most “medically necessary” abortions. That’s usually defined as “for physical and mental reasons,” which translates to any reason whatsoever. Yet abortion itself can cause serious physical and psychological difficulties.

While the government pays to harm unborn children and their mothers, religious leaders stepped forward to announce how they are helping women.

Decrying the latest abortion numbers, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders in NYC declared how they are providing practical support for women.

“We have to do more than shiver over these chilling statistics,” said Archbishop Timothy 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 society. They did not demand more government funding or bureaucratic programs. They offered themselves and their communities and invited others to help.

Anne Downey is one of these people. 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 that 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 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?

She connected with families and support groups and produced a brochure to give 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.

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 – as the Scriptures say, rescue those unjustly sentenced to death.