By Judie Brown
The Texas state motto is friendship, a single word that is loaded with immense meaning in view of recent news from the state. It would appear that a deeper affection for the preborn child is affecting the way Texans think and act.
Just a few days ago in Corpus Christi, pro-life activists took to the streets to protest the killing of preborn children. It all started at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and according to news reports, "hundreds of Catholics filled the streets." In fact, the news item was so heartening that that it reminded me of the old days when protests were in their prime and the media was hard-pressed to ignore them.
Three days after this report appeared on the local news, another report came across the airwaves announcing that a $30,000 grant earmarked for Planned Parenthood would not be made. One councilwoman made it perfectly clear: "It's inappropriate to use taxpayer money." After the councilwoman made this simple statement, applause is reported to have filled the council chamber.
A local Episcopal priest, however, spoke in defense of Planned Parenthood, telling the council, "If you don't want Planned Parenthood to talk to your children about sex, then you talk to them. …To not fund Planned Parenthood, doing the job that we as a community are failing to do, puts more children in danger."
The majority of those who spoke to the council were in complete agreement with the removal of the grant. In fact the city council vote against Planned Parenthood was unanimous!
And here's the kicker!
The people of Corpus Christi who care about their children and the preborn called American Life League's Stop Planned Parenthood office to say, "I just had to call and let you know your plan works! We did everything just the way you said and we won! Thank you!"
The STOPP Report says it all:
On February 15, ALL vice president Jim Sedlak, and ALL's Rock for Life director, Erik Whittington, traveled to Corpus Christi to give pro-life talks and attend a daylong Rock for Life event sponsored by the local RFL chapter. During that visit, the pro-lifers asked how they could stop taxpayer funding of PP.
We described, in detail, our plan to defeat public funding of PP. It is section three of our overall Plan for Defeating Planned Parenthood. The plan provides a 31-step process, which begins with explaining how to obtain information on PP's funding in your local area and then describes how to activate the community to get funding taken away from PP.
Of course, the real thanks for this victory go first to God and then to the dedicated people of Corpus Christi, who painstakingly executed the plan and brought about victory in a very difficult situation. They overcame many obstacles and are still fighting to stop other taxpayer money from going to PP in the community. They are also following our plan to get PP out of the local schools.
If you want to successfully fight PP in your community, read the plan at the link above. Jim Sedlak is willing to travel to your community to help get things organized. Just contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the same day, we learned about the fabulous work being done by the Corpus Christi Hope House, which is a home for mothers facing crisis pregnancies. The babies who have been saved adorn the web site for this amazing ministry, which served 3,000 clients in 2007 alone! Now that's friendship!
And as if all this good news was not enough, we just learned that an appellate court in Texas has upheld a lower court ruling affirming personhood for a preborn baby who, along with his mother, was murdered. Please take note of the significant point raised and defended by the court regarding the harmony that exists between a secular law and a religious ideal:
Jacob Eguia, who was convicted of the capital murders of a woman and her nearly eight months gestation unborn child, challenged the court's ruling on several points. He argued that finding him guilty of the unborn child's death violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Art. I, Sec. 6 of the Texas Constitution, which bars giving preference by law to a religion.
In the Texas Penal Code, as the court noted, "'Person' means an individual," and "individual" may refer to "an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth"; and "'death' includes, for an individual who is an unborn child, the failure to be born alive."
According to the court's published opinion, Eguia complained that "the State's definition of 'individual' 'has the effect of endorsing religion as it is based solely upon a religious belief that life begins at conception.'"
Justice Elsa Alcala concluded that, because a statute does not violate the Establishment Clause when serving a secular purpose, "the definition of 'individual' serves the State's legitimate secular interest in protecting unborn children from the criminal acts of others."
The court also cited precedent to affirm that, "a statute is not automatically rendered unconstitutional simply because it advances ideals that harmonize with religious ideals."
Clearly, the point we have been making for years regarding the personhood of the child, based on the scientific fact that a human being exists from the point of creation is beginning to be taken seriously, at least in the friendly state of Texas.
Finally we want to publicly express our gratitude to Diocese of Tyler Bishop Alvaro Corrada, S.J. for his courageous public statement condemning the sterilizations that had been taking place in Catholic hospitals. He said, in part:
I wish to address the matter of direct sterilizations in Catholic Hospitals in the Diocese of Tyler.
Last June it was reported by anonymous researchers that a large number of tubal ligations performed in Catholic Hospitals in the state of Texas. Initially both Catholic hospitals in the Diocese of Tyler responded that they were in compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services.
Sadly, subsequent investigation reveals that there had been a serious mis-interpretation of the ERDs and that in fact many direct sterilizations had been done and continued to be done at the time of the article.
As a Bishop, I am deeply saddened and upset by this news. As Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, I have to admit my failure to provide adequate oversight of the Catholic Hospitals as regards their protection of the sacred dignity of each human person.
It is so encouraging to read these words and to know that Tyler is blessed with a Catholic bishop who is diligent, humble and committed to defending human dignity. A thank you can be sent to him at email@example.com.
Friendship expresses itself in many ways, but it is heartening to realize that in the great state of Texas, friends are being made with the most vulnerable people in our midst, principles are being defended, and lives are being touched through the goodness of shepherds, activists and judges. May such friendship spread across our land.
Judie Brown is president of American Life League and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.