Growing up pro-life: a primer for parents and families

From start to finish, this week’s issue is almost completely a “respect life” one. With the annual March for Life scheduled for Jan. 22 in Washington, D.C. (see story on Pages 12-13), what better time to pause and assess the successes and challenges of the pro-life movement in the United States?

There’s no doubt that there is much work to be done. In the wake of the approximately 1.2 million abortions that take place annually in the United States stands not only the lives lost, but the deep wounds of the parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and friends. As a child is deprived of life, its would-be world is deprived of love. Abortion harms everyone.

Editor's preview of this week's issue

So how do we as Catholics raise the next generation to be one that sees abortion not as a “right” and a “choice,” but as a pathway only to loss? How do we raise the next generation — one born in a different millennium from when Roe v. Wade was passed — to be pro-life?

Those are the questions we try to answer in this week’s special section: “Growing up pro-life.” Marge Fenelon outlines four building blocks to creating a pro-life culture in your home: acknowledge life, keep a positive outlook, be a witness and pray (Pages 10-11).

All over the nation, programs in parishes and dioceses, too, are helping advance the culture of life (Pages 14-15). Some of these, like the Pro-Lifers of the Mystical Rose, started in one parish and expanded into others. Others offer initiatives like “spiritual adoptions,” where the faithful can pray for a baby throughout all of its phases of development.

Finally, Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller profiles three families who have successfully raised a next generation to participate in the pro-life fight (Page 17).

Outside of the special section, pro-life coverage continues. Russell Shaw outlines abortion coverage in the health care law (Page 4). Mariann Hughes looks at the abortion landscape in legislation and judicial systems across the country for the coming year (Page 5). The editorial board reflects on the March for Life as it turns 40 this year (Page 23). As time continues to march on from the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, so do those who understand how vital it is to stand up for life in a public way.

With all the focus on abortion surrounding the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, it’s always helpful to remember that being pro-life means not only working against abortion but for all who find their dignity at risk.

This includes the refugees, immigrants and victims of human trafficking whom the U.S. bishops recognized in a special way during National Migration Week Jan. 5-11.

“It is our call as the Church to bring the light of Christ to these populations, banish the darkness, and help to bring them from the margins of society to its center,” said Seattle Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.

So should our prayer be for all.