Many people never thought they would live to see the day when Roe v Wade was overturned. This historical decision, while very praiseworthy, comes with a call to action. There is no better time than now to renew our commitment to protect and cherish life at all stages, especially when it is most vulnerable in the womb. Despite the changing laws, women will still find themselves in unexpected or unplanned pregnancies. In a culture that tells women that having a baby is a burden and an insurmountable challenge, the Church can be the contrasting voice that invokes love, compassion, and encouragement into these tough situations. So, where do we begin? How do we slowly change the culture and promote a life-affirming society?
Five Ways Catholics Can Live Out Pro-Life Values
- Respect Mothers
Perhaps the most basic yet overlooked way to respect life is to show support and compassion for mothers at all stages of motherhood. It can be something as simple as
- Returning the shopping cart for a woman trying to load her young children into the car in a parking lot
- Offering a smile of encouragement to the mom with a squirmy toddler at mass, rather than silently judging her based on her child’s behavior
- Shoveling the driveway or raking leaves for an older woman whose children have grown up and moved out of state.
- Letting your pregnant friend know that you are praying for her
- Thanking your own mother for the many sacrifices she made that went unnoticed and unthanked during your childhood
- Texting a friend who recently had a baby and asking what you can pick up for her at the store
While these may not be the biggest, life-changing gestures, they can mean the world to those who receive them.
- Know About Local and National Support for Expectant Mothers
In 2020, there were approximately 930,000 abortions performed. This is an astounding statistic. It’s very likely you will encounter someone within your lifetime who is facing a challenging pregnancy and contemplating abortion- perhaps it will be the cashier at the store or your daughter’s friend. Make sure you know where your nearest Pregnancy Resource Center is and familiarize yourself with the services they provide. A simple Google Search can yield results of “Pregnancy Care Centers” or “Pregnancy Resource Centers” (PRCs) near you. Sharing this critical information with an expectant mother can make the difference between her choosing life or not.
In addition to local resources, encourage her to check out National Organizations such as Catholic Charities, National Right to Life Chapters and HerPlan which all offer other types of support for expectant mothers including financial assistance.
- Volunteer at a Pregnancy Center
Donations of both time and money keep the doors to Pregnancy Resource Centers open. Sorting baby clothes, welcoming clients, stuffing mailers and other little tasks can save lots of time for the employees and counselors at the centers so they can focus on client-centered care. Just by walking through the doors of a PRC, you will experience firsthand the warmth and safety of these havens for expectant mothers. They are truly special places. If you are unable to volunteer during business hours, donations are critical to allow the services provided to remain free of cost.
- Host a Diaper Drive
When I was in college, I hosted several “Diaper Drives” with my campus’s pro-life group. For a few hours on a Saturday, we would arrange with a grocery store to have a table in front and invite shoppers to purchase diapers or baby items to be collected by us and donated to a Pregnancy Resource Center. Several times, our Diaper Drive resulted in the store selling out of diapers, which was an incredible testament to the generosity of those in the community.
- Become a Leap for Joy, Inc Mentor
When I graduated college, I felt like something was missing from the pro-life landscape, so I started a nonprofit called Leap for Joy, Inc. Leap for Joy is a free, virtual mentorship program for expectant mothers. To join the LFJ community, expectant mothers fill out an application on our website and a mentor is handpicked just for her to provide emotional support and encouragement throughout her pregnancy and two months postpartum. If you’re looking to support a new pro-life ministry, there are several ways to get involved:
- Follow us on Instagram @leapforjoyinc and “Like” and “Share” our content. You never know whose life might change by seeing the post you shared.
- Become a mentor! Our mentors are adult women from different backgrounds and seasons of life who volunteer their time. Training is provided and there are no in-person meeting requirements to allow for greater flexibility.
- Invite your parish to get involved with LFJ by adding our verbiage to your bulletin
- Make a donation to help grow our team and expand our outreach to other states.
- If you have experience in the areas of bookkeeping, marketing, nonprofit management or accounting, please contact us
- Inquire about joining the Board of Directors
All inquiries can be directed to [email protected]. For more information, see our website www.leapforjoyinc.com.
The political climate right now is hostile, especially when it comes to the abortion topic. As Catholics, we have an undeniable call to protect the unborn, but how exactly do we go about that? The answer is with love. As St. Theresa wisely said, “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.” Show love towards women who are grappling with an unplanned pregnancy, not shame and condemnation. Take it one step further and give by following the ways listed above. The time is now for the Church to respond to the call to protect human life.
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Image: Photo by Pau Patterson Photography on Unsplash