LIFE ISSUES: by Ben O'BrienNews Weekly
Lighting a candle amidst the darkness
, April 27, 2013
Sometimes we appear to be living in a mixed-up world, especially in the way that people think about abortion. If I donate blood to the Red Cross, I can save the life of an unborn child. But if I offer to help a woman who may be having an abortion, I am accused of harassment.
Msgr Philip Reilly, founder of the
Helpers of God's Precious Infants.
If I counsel a pregnant woman to stop smoking because it could harm her unborn child, I will remain in good standing in society. But if I warn her that the abortion she is about to undergo will end the life of her unborn child, I am accused of judging her and calling her a murderer.
An abortion bill, which was recently passed by two votes in the Tasmanian parliament’s lower house, represents the latest encroachment on our freedoms from the dictatorship of relativism. It is a law designed to protect the abortion industry.
If passsed, abortion will be removed completely from the Tasmanian criminal code, but dissent could be a crime. Conscientiously objecting to abortion could cost a nurse or counsellor a fine of $32,500. Protesting against abortion within 150 metres of an abortion centre (note: in Hobart, this could include holding a pro-life sign outside St Joseph’s Catholic Church) would be met with a fine of $65,000 and a year in prison.
If police suspect that the pro-life protester has a camera, he can be searched without a warrant and the camera confiscated and destroyed. Such totalitarianism would be the envy of a dictator like Stalin.
Abortion, which is enthusiastically defended by radical socialists and libertarians, is the ultimate capitalist and totalitarian enterprise. In an abortion the weak are pulverised by the powerful; women in a vulnerable position are exploited for profit; and any alternative viewpoint is quashed.
While claiming to treat women as moral agents, it treats them as soulless. If the Tasmanian law were to pass, those who profit from the trade of abortion would be the arbiters of where and how abortion is discussed. This would be a chilling corruption of the political system.
We sometimes wonder how we would have responded to issues such as slavery, apartheid or the pogroms against the Jews if we had been born in another time and place.
If we had lived in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, would we have fearlessly defended the Jews in spite of the retaliation we would suffer? Or would we have stood by silently and said nothing, or even joined with their persecutors in attacking them?
New York is the abortion capital of the world. Undaunted by the darkness, a Catholic priest, Msgr Philip Reilly, lit a candle and established the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. On October 7, 1989, he began praying outside a Brooklyn, New York, abortion business. The tree planted in Brooklyn has flourished and Helpers are now spread throughout the United States and around the world.
Msgr Reilly in doing this has struck a decisive blow. The abortion centre where this work originated has since closed down. This was directly attributed to the prayer and witness of Msgr Reilly and his faithful Helpers over many years.
The heart of the Helpers’ work is to provide a daily witness outside the abortion centre. Helpers have three aims: to pray for the conversion of all those involved in this practice; to publicly witness to the value of human life; and to offer help to those who come there contemplating an abortion. We make a direct appeal to the mother, because only she can save the life of her unborn child.
Here in Australia, pro-life activists began a daily witness outside abortion centres in Sydney in 1989 (led by Gail Instance) and Melbourne in 1993 (led by David Forster). Msgr Reilly was brought to Australia in 1996 by Human Life International (now Family Life International). By 1997 we had adopted the Helpers’ name and methods. Helpers are now established in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Rockhampton and Albury.
In almost 20 years of doing this work, we have helped over 300 women in Melbourne alone. In Sydney, Helpers have achieved similar results with 300 to 400 women. Lately, a nurse at the abortion centre left her job after encouragement from the Helpers.
We may be powerless to change the political system or the medical establishment, but there is something we can do about abortion. On almost any day of the week, with humble trust in God, we can go to the place where the unborn child is killed and offer a silent, prayerful witness to the love we have for these “precious infants”.
Ben O’Brien is a Melbourne pro-life activist involved with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. For more information about the Helpers’ work, contact Tanya on 0407 090 367, or go to the Brooklyn (NY) Helpers’ website: www.helpersbrooklynny.org