By Tom Grenchik
February 6, 2009
When one person sends a note or postcard to a legislator, it has impact. When ten thousand people contact Congress about a burning issue, the point is made more clearly. Imagine what may happen if tens of millions of postcards are sent to Congress. You won't have to imagine for long.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a national postcard campaign urging Congress to maintain widely-supported pro-life policies that prevent federal funding and promotion of abortion. Launched on January 24-25, the on-going campaign is being coordinated through the USCCB's partner organization, the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA).
To date, tens of millions of cards have already been distributed across the country to parishes, schools, non-Catholic churches, and civic organizations. Orders continue to pour in. NCHLA has facilitated a number of national postcard campaigns equipping citizens to express their pro-life views clearly and respectfully to Congress. This current campaign is unprecedented in scope, and is expected to be the largest ever sponsored by the Catholic bishops.
Deirdre A. McQuade, Assistant Director for Policy and Communications at the USCCB's Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, recently stated that: "Abortion advocates are newly energized because Congress has the most pro-abortion members in 16 years. Their radical agenda would turn abortion into a fundamental 'right' that the government would have to subsidize with taxpayer monies."
A similar effort by our opponents was fought back successfully in 1993, when the U.S. bishops mobilized the Catholic faithful in their first nationwide postcard campaign against the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA). Sponsors of FOCA have indicated their intention of re-introducing a similar bill soon, and President Obama has promised to sign it if it reaches his desk.
Other bills could realize the FOCA agenda in a piecemeal fashion. Ms. McQuade commented: "Widely supported pro-life measures in appropriations bills are already at risk, including the longstanding Hyde amendment, which has prohibited the use of taxpayer funds for most abortions, and the Hyde/Weldon amendment preventing government discrimination against health care providers who do not perform or refer for abortions." Writing to Congress on February 5, the USCCB Pro-Life Committee chair Cardinal Justin Rigali emphasized that the pro-life postcard campaign is directed against this threat as well: "While an extreme proposal like FOCA would overturn hundreds of pro-life laws at once, we are equally concerned that such laws may be overturned one at a time during Congress's appropriations process."
Our voices are needed now more than ever to guard against the erosion of current pro-life measures, and to keep abortion from becoming a federal entitlement. While we are voicing our concerns to our legislators, let us remember to voice our concerns to our Lord. Millions and millions of pro-life postcards are great, but adding millions and millions of pro-life prayers is even better. If every one of us pledged to pray daily for the protection of unborn children and the defeat of the radical abortion agenda, and to live out those prayers with our actions, we really could bring our nation to embrace a Culture of Life.
Thanks in advance for your postcards and prayers! Millions of unborn boys and girls, and their mothers and families, are depending on us.
For more information, visit: www.usccb.org/prolife and click on "National Pro-Life Postcard Campaign."
Tom Grenchik is Executive Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Go to www.usccb.org/prolife to learn more about the bishops' pro-life activities.