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By Dr. Frank Kessler | Dr. Kessler is a professor of Political Science at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.
This last Saturday, with little fanfare, the owner of the abortion clinic on 7th and Central in Kansas City, Kan., closed — because of the “political climate,” according to its proprietor, Jeff Pederson
“The generation of patients whom we have helped need to step up and carry the torch instead of assuming clinic workers will always fight their battle, the battle for the right to have safe, legal, easily accessible birth control and abortions, and without having to travel to a few enlightened Democratic states,” Pederson said in a statement.
One always hates to call these seedy places that kill the unborn, clinics. These procedures are legal, but as we all realize a lot of things that are legal are not lawful in the eyes of the Almighty who bestows all life and keeps it in existence.
It is always a problem to start single out people to thank when such a monumental event as this closing takes place. So many people faithfully prayed for the workers there as well as the women who entered there. A few years back Benedictine students caravanned down to 7th and Central on Saturday mornings (sometimes as many as 75 students) to pray for all of those who entered the clinic, proclaiming the proposition that all human life is sacred.
St. Benedict reminds his brothers and all of us that success requires prayer and work (ora et labora). It has always encouraged me to see that he put the prayer first. I can remember a high school aged guy from our parish who had difficulty with that lesson. He had returned from a Mission trip to Guatemala. I asked him if knew enough Spanish to pray with the poor people he served in a mobile clinic there. He seemed genuinely annoyed at the question. “We had too much to do,” he said. “We didn’t have time for that.” St. James tells us that faith without works is dead. What about works without prayer.
The “clinic” in Kansas City, Kan., was closed because of the “political climate.” Possibly that had something to do with the efforts (labora) of the Governor and Legislature . As elections approach, I think of the efforts of the Kansans for Life and Mary Kay Culp and the longtime laborers at the Legislature like Kathy Ostrowski among many others too numerous to mention. Then there is the grace generated by the efforts of Project Rachel (Pat Klausner is the program coordinator there) which assists women who need healing after their abortions or the Wyandotte Pregnancy Center (which Donna and Ron Kelsey helped found) which offered an alternative.
The Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office has been at the forefront of these efforts too — and so many others.
It is insightful that on the Archdiocesan Pro-Life webpage, there are references to the numerous organizations one thinks of as “Pro-Life” but it also includes the efforts in the area of Religious Liberty. Ending the abortion mentality will require not just a change of laws, but a change of hearts. The future of pro-life efforts is intimately tied into protection of religious liberty.
The sanctity of life could well be another casualty of the efforts to limit religious speech. Religious freedom requires the ability to ora behind the doors of our churches but also carry that prayer out into the public square. The Supreme Court seemed to recognize this in its resounding 9-0 decision (McCullen v. Coakley), restricting the so called “buffer zone” in an earlier Massachusetts law which had sought to keep sidewalk counselors and prayerful witnesses from the sidewalks on the same side of the street as an abortion clinic. Of course some will argue that this is a freedom of speech issue and not a “religious freedom issue.” Still the decision recognizes that religious speech does have its place in the Public Square.
As we pray we should remember the victims of abortions past and future whether the women who are subjected to them, the people who provide them, the unborn children, the fathers, and the community which makes such carnage legal. We would be sadly remiss if we did not recognize in prayer that a society that seeks “Freedom from Religion” will be a danger to all human life whether born or unborn.
When Christ was making his way to Calvary and he met the women of Jerusalem, he told them to “weep not for me, but for yourselves and your children.” If we permit ourselves to be intimidated by the merchants of death and those who declare themselves “offended” by religious symbols like the famous Soledad cross in California, it will be not only us, but our children and their children who will be the victims.
Ora and Labora List for Pro-Lifers
1. Pray for an end to abortion and recognition of the need to protect Religion’s Role in the Public arena outside of the churches.
2. Let your legislator know you on concerned about regulations on abortion clinics .
3. Contact Diocesan Pro-Life offices
4. Bring water, hot coffee and bagels to the Sidewalk Counselors and prayer warriors standing in front of abortion facilities.
5. Contact organizations listed in this blog in the earlier segments to see how you can help.
6. Register to vote — then vote in 2014 and bring your list of Pro-life candidates from your State Pro-Life group.
7. Let me say again … Ora, ora, ora….and labora as the Holy Spirit leads you.