BY JEANNE BERDEAUX | FEBRUARY 19, 2019
VENICE | Did the news from New York anger you about the new abortion law? If so, you are not alone. Many people were outraged and sickened that legislators would pass a law allowing abortions for any reason up to birth, removing protection for babies born alive during an abortion and allowing individuals who are not physicians to perform abortions. They even celebrated by clapping and cheering. Then the governor, who claims to be Catholic, lit the World Trade Center in pink to honor the new law after he signed it.
Ultrasound has given us a window to the womb. There is no denying that what is in the womb is a child, a living human being. How could they not deserve the right to live and be welcomed into this world by either their birth family or adoptive family?
A number of other states have already passed similar laws, with others being pushed by those who do not respect life. These new laws would remove any restrictions that have been passed over the past 46 years since abortion was legalized in 1973.
Fortunately, our Florida state legislature has passed several important laws to protect innocent human life in the womb. We expect them to continue to respect all human life, but we need to be vigilant and let our legislators know what you expect them to do.
What can you do?
Pray — at home, in church and on the public sidewalk outside an abortion center. Join others on the sidewalk witnessing for life and praying on a regular basis. For the first time this spring, you can join a 40 Days for Life campaign outside Planned Parenthood in Sarasota, Fort Myers or Naples or in front of the local abortion center in Port Charlotte. Make it a Lenten sacrifice. Sign up through your church coordinator and join your fellow parishioners or sign up online with a friend or family member. Go to www.40daysforlife.com for details or call: 239-227-5192 in Naples; 239-400-0090 in Fort Myers; 239-719-7210 in Port Charlotte; and 941-923-0752 in Sarasota.
You may ask, “Why do I have to go to the abortion center? Can’t I pray at home or at church?” You need to pray outside the abortion facility because your prayers there have an immediate impact on an urgent situation.
Yes, God hears and answers prayers, no matter where they’re said. But when women arriving for abortions see the public vigil, they know and understand that at the moment they need it most, someone is praying specifically for them.
Your presence there is the last sign of hope before the abortion and the first sign of mercy after the abortion. Many of the moms who have chosen life and even former abortion workers say the prayer presence outside turned them away from abortion. They saw that someone was there, just for them.
Join Bishop Frank Dewane for a Prayer Walk for Life in Naples Ash Wednesday, March 6, starting with the 8 a.m. Mass at St. William Parish, 601 Seagate Drive; or in Port Charlotte Friday, March 8, beginning with the 8:30 a.m. Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 21505 Augusta Avenue. See www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife for details.
Learn more about the issues. There are three opportunities to hear Dr. Hayward Robinson, national 40 Days for Life board member and former abortionist. He will speak Friday, March 22 at noon in Naples; 5 p.m. March 22, in Charlotte County; and Saturday, March 23 at noon in Sarasota. See the local 40 Days for Life websites for details.
Attend a Luncheon for Life held monthly in Venice, Fort Myers or Naples. Contact Jeannine at firstname.lastname@example.org for dates and locations.
Did you know that if Roe v. Wade abortion decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion would still be legal in Florida because of the privacy clause in our state constitution? Learn more at www.flaccb.org/documents/2018/12/PrivacyClauseBrochure.pdf. Information on life issues are also available at www.usccb.org/respectlife, www.flaccb.org or www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife.
Keep informed on pending legislation and respond to let your legislators know your opinion by signing up for Action Alerts at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Human Life Action Center at www.nchla.org; and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops at www.flaccb.org.
Consider joining others for the three-day bus trip to Tallahassee for Catholic Days at the Capitol March 26-28. It’s a great opportunity to see your legislators in action and pray with all of the Florida Bishops at the annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit. Learn more at www.flaccb.org or contact Jeanne Berdeaux at Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.
Volunteer. We are blessed to have many pregnancy help centers, maternity homes and after-birth homes in our diocese, each run by dedicated staff members. They need volunteers and funds to keep their doors open and expand their outreach. See www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife for one near you. You can also volunteer to help in the Diocesan Respect Life Office, especially in preparing for events.
Finally, but most importantly, tell others about Project Rachel, the Catholic Church’s outreach to those who have been involved in an abortion decision (women, men, grandparents, siblings, other family members, friends and parishioners). Many suffer for 20, 30 or more years. Help is available to them and it starts with a phone call or text to our Project Rachel Coordinator Sylvia at 941-412-5860 or an e-mail to email@example.com. It may be hard for them to make that initial contact. Ask permission to share their contact information with Sylvia, and she will initiate the contact confidentially.
Will you stand up for the little ones? Take the first step today.