On March 25, that is, exactly nine months before Christmas, Christians observe the Feast of the Annunciation, when Mary was told she would be the mother of Jesus, and he was conceived within her.
In various parts of the world, this day is therefore observed as the “Day of the Unborn Child.”
And with the new intensity that the abortion debate in America has taken on, it is appropriate that this year, a coalition of over 25 national pro-life organizations is urging citizens to do exactly that — to take some extra time on this day to reflect, pray, and honor the unborn child.
The groups are also spearheading a national project whereby, for the next nine months, schools, Churches, families, and individuals are invited to follow the nine months of the development of a child in the womb, using an incredible app called the “See Baby Pregnancy Guide.”
If you think ultrasound images are powerful and persuasive, you haven’t seen anything yet.
The video that this app uses was produced by the processes of “embryoscopy” and “fetoscopy,” whereby a video camera is placed right up against the amniotic sac, yielding amazing footage of the baby, her developing body, and beating heart.
The project can be followed at BabyChris.org.
The idea that the time is right for a “Day of the Unborn Child” in America makes sense when you look at the trajectory of our Constitutional history.
As Fr. Clifford Stevens points out in an interesting body of Constitutional research, history moves toward the recognition of the equal dignity of those who, at various times, were deprived of their rights and suffered violence which was given legal cover under a different name. This legal cover was often mistakenly recognized by the Supreme Court for a while, but then such decisions were overturned.
Dred Scott v. Sandford (1856) is the most commonly cited instance. The slaveholder's right to property eclipsed and subsumed the slave's right to freedom. But the Constitution was eventually amended to correct the error.
Decisions like Lochner v. New York (1905) show us another error: employers' right to contract eclipsed and subsumed the workers' rights to humane conditions and hours. These abuses were corrected by subsequent Supreme Court decisions like Muller v. Oregon and Bunting v. Oregon.
The "Separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) sanctioning segregation was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education some 58 years later.
Erroneous decisions like Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) institutionalized child labor. But this was overturned 23 years later by United States v. Darby. A new development — a "pedagogical moment" — occurred here in Constitutional law. The question was whether constitutional rights applied to children too. The answer was yes.
Now it is time for the "embryonic moment," the recognition that the rights of the Constitution apply also to the unborn child, and that the so-called “right to abortion” once granted to women actually harms them, kills another human being who is their child, and brings additional damage to the rest of her family and all society.
This growing awareness has brought various countries to dedicate March 25 to the child in the womb.
March 25 was first recognized as a special day for the unborn child in 1993 when an official decree was proclaimed by the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador designating March 25 as the “Day of the Right to Be Born.” Argentina officially recognized the “Day of the Unborn” in 1999 by action of then President Carlos Menem.
In 2003, the first Provida International Congress in Madrid with representation from over 20 countries in Europe and the Americas institutionalized March 25 as International Day of Life. Since then, the day has grown in popularity, in some places recognized as the Day of the Conceived Child. The day has grown in popularity with celebrations taking place around the world.
America is undergoing a serious self-examination right now, as abortion supporters in certain states are coming out very clearly in favor of absolutely unlimited abortion. Yet that has never been the position of a majority of the American people. And it is precisely the sharpening of this conflict that, I believe, is bringing us to the “embryonic moment,” and a new day for the unborn child.
Fr. Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the world. He became a Catholic priest in 1988 under Cardinal John O’Connor in New York. In 1993 he became National Director of Priests for Life. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels to about four states every week, preaching and teaching against abortion. He broadcasts regularly on television, radio, and internet. He was asked by Mother Teresa to speak in India on abortion, and was asked by then-candidate Donald Trump to serve on his Pro-life and Catholic advisory councils. He has served at the Vatican as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates the pro-life activities of the Catholic Church. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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