The Slaughter of the Innocents, by Patsy M. lannolo, M.D., Ph.D

Abortion — The Shadow Of Its Shame

When I was first asked to speak at this event my initial reaction was to decline the honor. That is not because I am indifferent about this issue, for I am intensely pro-life. However, I had two problems. The first is that I give many talks, to many different groups, on many different topics and the underlying characteristic of those talks is that I like to give nice talks which educate and uplift the audience.... I just don’t have anything pleasant to say about abortion. Second, in preparing for these comments I knew I would have to think about this problem of abortion and i don’t like to because it makes me feel sad, angry and helpless... Then the realization came to me that all of you listening to me all feel the same way. You all want to be nice to the people who are the perpetrators and the victims of this crime... and when you make a conscious effort to contemplate the atrocity of abortion you feel sad, angry and helpless, too.

So here I am to speak to you about a topic which we hate so much that we find it difficult to even think about it. I am not here today to speak to the legislature, or to abortionists, or to pregnant teens or to President Clinton. I am here today to speak to only you, to wake you and to help to strengthen you.

As you know, I am a physician, an emergency physician. As such, over the last 15 years I have seen many of the highs and lows of humanity. I have seen suffering and death, and the struggle for life. I’ve seen the heartbreaking vigil of families at the bed of a dying child and I have seen patients with heroic bravery in the face of illness. I represent a profession which can boast some of the greatest humanitarians who ever lived and a profession that is cursed by some of the greatest serial killers who ever lived, too. That’s right, rational, intelligent, highly trained physicians who are serial killers of the unborn. Physicians who would make Jack the Ripper, the Boston Strangler and the Son of Sam seem like psychotic amateurs. So while I struggle with the suffering and the beauty of humanity I also struggle with whether I should be proud of my profession or ashamed of it. But remember, today, that my problems with this issue are your problems too, and as we stand here assembled in the presence of God I ask you a larger question - “Should we be proud of our society or ashamed of it?”

In contemplating the answer to this question let us ask the same thing of the people of Nazi Germany as their leaders killed 6 million Jews and 3 million Christians. Let us ask the same thing of the citizens of the Roman Empire, the Aztecs or the Ancient Egyptians whose societies all practiced mass murder, genocide and infanticide.

Let us ask this question of the people of the “Little Town of Bethlehem” whose children suffered at the hands of Herod’s soldiers and draw a parallel between those people and us. Yes, we read in the scriptures that Herod attempted to kill Jesus by sending soldiers to Bethlehem who killed all the boys under two years of age. We revere the death of these Holy Innocents as one of the greatest crimes ever committed by mankind. However, there was another crime committed in Bethlehem that day, the crime of people who stood by and watched an atrocity being committed before them and believed that they were helpless to intervene. I wish that I could open the Bible to Matthew Chapter 2 and read that the people of Bethlehem were so outraged that every man and woman was massacred trying to protect their sons. We would then have a bible passage which would shine forth through the centuries with an unparalleled example of love and bravery. Instead we have a passage that speaks to us of grief, helplessness and shame.

We march today because we are ashamed of the society in which we live. We are ashamed that America does not protect its children while other countries do. We are ashamed that our country, which was founded with the help of God as a beacon for the world, now ignores that God alone is the master of life. So today we make a statement and we feel good that we marched, but what about tomorrow, and next week and next month. Will we revert to believing that we are helpless bystanders or will to carry the torch for this issue every day of our lives until we someday stand before the throne of God and tell Him that we did the best that we could. That we rejected evil and chose to make a stand for Him.

To assist us in remembering to do something I am offering the following requests and suggestions:

  1. Prayer - God will ultimately answer the sincere, frequent and persistent prayers of His children. We must pray on this issue daily for it is our best recourse in this struggle. I beseech the assembled clergy here today, from all faiths, to include a prayer for an end of abortion in every mass or service performed in this area every day from now on. Then your congregation will get the message that this problem is important to you and should be important to them.
  2. Impress the health care institutions - The hospitals where abortions are performed are easy to identify. Write a letter to the administrators of those hospitals indicating that you will not use the services of that hospital if it continues to support abortion in the hospital or in its clinics.companies - In this climate of intense competition among health insurance companies for patients, they are very sensitive to public opinion. Write letters to your insurance carriers and express your displeasure if the company participates with physicians who perform abortions. Let the company know that you refuse to go to certain affiliated hospitals if abortions are performed there.
  3. Make the medical community aware that this is important to you - Write letters to your physicians requesting that they not consult with physicians who perform abortions. For those of you who have gynecologists, find out if they perform abortions. If they do, then by all means leave their practice and let them know why. If your doctors don’t perform abortions then thank them and pray for them.
  4. Convince your friends and family - Increase the awareness of your immediate circle in simple ways with bumper stickers, pins and other methods. You will quietly gain their respect as well as a reinforcement of your own commitment. Support adoption and an end to abortion like the lives of your family may depend upon it for someday they may.

Abortion is a crime against God and casts the shadow of its shame on all of us who passively support abortion by blocking it out of our minds. We don’t need new laws to change this problem so stop waiting for them. We need the people of God to take an active stand and make a commitment to work against this problem everyday for the rest of their lives at the level of their own sphere of influence.

— Patsy M. I an nolo, M.D., Ph.D., given at Syracuse Right to Life March several years ago