“Separation of Church and State! Separation of Church and State!”
At 10 am, on Wednesday morning, on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court, I was surrounded by a sea of people dressed in purple chanting, “Separation of Church and State!” The purple people were paid pro-abortion activists, and they were chanting this to drown out Fr. Frank Pavone’s opening prayer for the pro-life rally. The rally was being held to show support for the HB2 law which was being brought to court by pro-abortion Texans. The law was put in place after the Gosnell house of horrors was exposed, to ensure that abortion facilities are following basic and necessary healthcare requirements. Examples of these requirements include having hallways wide enough for a gurney, calling a hospital for emergency care if something goes wrong, and other basic standards that all healthcare facililties are required to live up to. The law ended up making abortions harder to procure, which is why the Center for Reproductive rights, a pro-abortion group, showed up in force to fight it. As they chanted throughout the day, “Abortion-care is under attack – what do we do? Stand up, fight back!!”
I was at the rally with our Christendom branch of Students for Life of America, which did a great job getting pro-life students to come out for the rally. The ten of us were so happy to be there, despite the sacrifices of getting up at 4:30 am, being out in the windy cold for 7 hours starting at 6 am, being surrounded and out-numbered by people who were yelling at us and fighting for the killing of innocent humans. It enthused us to be on the front lines. Seeing the twisted logic of our opponent in action fed our zeal to spread the truth.
The day also provided some opportunities for humor, such as the woman dressed up as an actual uterus, who told the Washington Post she is a, “complicated organ.” Also, the comments made to our male students – mainly concerning the same organ. One woman walked up to one of our male students and asked if he had a uterus. He responded that he did not, to which she replied, “my point exactly” and walked away. Another male student, while enthusiastically passing out a pro-life sign, was amusedly asked by a pro-abortion woman if he was high, to which he shook his head and smiled, because he is a happy guy who is high on life, but nothing else.
I was impressed with the positivity of the male students in our group, because the other side gave them such a hard time. I saw a woman snapchat our Christendom men with the caption, “white males telling us what to do with our bodies”. Meanwhile, they had plenty of males protesting on their side, proving that this is not a woman’s issue, but a family and human issue. I happened to see the snapchat because I was in a conversation with the black woman who recorded it and her friend. We were able to have a fairly reasonable, polite conversation, sharing with each other where we were coming from, and finding that we could agree on one thing: that the issue was bigger than abortion. We ended the conversation before we got too emotional.
It was moments like that, and also hearing their chant, “Abortion saves lives!” that were the harder moments of the day for me. It was hard to leave the conversation with those women, because talking to them had been so easy. They were funny, friendly, well-meaning African-American women, completely convinced that abortion access is good for women, and crucial for the low-income black community. The girls who stood beside me chanting that “Abortion saves lives!” were other college-age women who clearly had no idea about the gory details of abortion procedures, and the safety risks involved in them for women. That was the heart-breaking, sobering reality of the day. I believe that the large majority of the people there, including the other side, had good intentions, and truly do care about women and children.
So what is the difference that divides us? I think they hit the nail on the head with two of their chants. The first: “Abortion saves lives” – they say saving the woman’s life, we say killing her child’s. We believe that many women do need help from crisis pregnancies, but we don’t allow ending the life of a small baby to be a form of help. They say, “Separation of Church and State!”, we say – that doesn’t apply. They want this issue to be separate from the realm of religion, and they don’t want morals brought into it.
I’ve always known that we have reason and science on the pro-life side, but it hit me at the rally that we also have the Church on our side, and even when they won’t admit the science, and won’t look at it from the point of view of reason, it’s much harder for them to deny that it goes against Christianity. I believe that is the reason for their chant. They are afraid of the Church in this argument. They don’t want to have to decide whether abortion goes against Christianity, and morality in general, because many of them are Christian. I am not passing judgment on pro-choice people. I am fortunate to have been given the gift of my formation and education, which many people have not. However, the rally reinforced for me, that as Christians, we should never be afraid to bring our religion into the rest of our lives. If there is ever a moment when our Christian principles conflict with our political views, we should at least stop and think and look into it more closely.