The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College today launched its “Stories of Hope” project (firstname.lastname@example.org), collecting and sharing stories of pro-life conversion. Might you share yours?
Abortion is the Achilles Heel of the powerful anti-family movement. Achilles was unstoppable, triumphing over everything in his path, until his one weak spot — his heel — brought him down. So it is with the anti-family forces that won big in November.
They seem unstoppable. But the abortion issue is essential to them — and it is extremely vulnerable.
For years, the pro-life position has steadily has gained more and more converts until the percentage of people who call themselves “pro-life” surpassed 50% a few years ago, according to Gallup. It has waned and waxed since then, but this year Gallup marked a historic low in the percentage of people willing to call themselves “pro-choice”.
The tide is turning in our favor. We could very well be headed for a cultural moment like the 1960s.
In the late 1960s, the culture seemed to change overnight, going from “Leave it to Beaver” to the secular worldview expressed in John Lennon’s “Imagine.” (“Imagine there’s no heaven … Imagine no religion … Imagine there’s no countries.”)
But the signs of the big changes to come had been there for decades. The Church had been decrying the escalation of secularism all century. Pope Pius XII even warned about a crisis in the sacrament of confession.
In fact, the change had already occurred — “Leave it to Beaver” and shows like it were themselves just conservatively dressed stories that “imagined” a perfect secular world without religion: The Cleavers never prayed or went to church.
What happened in the 1960s wasn’t a sudden change — it was the tipping point that came at the end of a long, slow change.
Likewise with abortion. We have seen decades of changing attitudes that have left more and more people horrified by abortion.
There are many factors that account for the change.
Science is on our side. The prevalence of ultrasounds make it impossible to live the lie that the unborn child is just a “mass of cells.” We now know that even an embryo smaller than a pinhead has DNA which makes it a boy or a girl. Doctors now perform surgery on unborn children — include the unborn child who famously grabbed his surgeon’s finger from the womb.
Clear majorities of women are on our side. Women are seeing more and more that abortion is disrespect for women, not respect – because it has created a situation where a pregnant woman is pressured to kill her baby and wound her soul in order to get ahead in life. Women holding “I Regret My Abortion” signs are now a major force at pro-life events. And all of the work the pro-life movement has done for unwed mothers has not only allowed many babies a chance at life — it has won converts to our side.
We need to encourage more of the same.
That’s why at the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College, we are collecting Stories of Hope. The most powerful way to change people is through stories. Nothing is so compelling as the truth coming to life in another person.
So many people have experienced that moment when they embrace the pro-life position. Their stories are sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes uplifting, but always bear witness to the hope that says life is better than death, and love is greater than both.
Send your pro-life conversion story to editor@theGregorian.org subject line: “Stories of Hope,” and we will share as many of them as we can.
Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., where he teaches in the Journalism and Mass Communications department and edits the college’s Catholic identity speech digest, The Gregorian.