Terry McLaughlin: On the innocent lives lost | TheUnion.com

Terry McLaughlin: On the innocent lives lost

Terry McLaughlin
Columnist

At last count, at least 70 lives were lost in this year's Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Irma took another 69 innocent souls, followed by Maria and Nate, which resulted in at least 56 deaths — and the toll for these terrible and unavoidable events continues to rise as survivors succumb to their injuries.

The devastating October fires in beautiful Northern California not only destroyed homes and businesses, some of them belonging to our own neighbors, but have also resulted in the tragic loss of even more innocent lives.

Our nation and community rightly mourn the loss of the lives taken in just a few short weeks by these disasters. Our grief is deep and lasting as Americans come together and we each do what we can with our time, talents, resources and prayers to help those most effected.

October is Respect Life Month ... The program promotes respect for the intrinsic dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death.

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In that same time period another group of innocent lives has been taken — and every single one of those deaths was preventable.

Approximately 1.3 million unborn babies are aborted in the United States every year — the equivalent of 3,600 deaths per day. Some would argue that these babies are not yet human, and therefore expendable and not worthy of our grief. Others, including doctors and scientists, would argue differently. In his 1977 medical textbook "The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology," Dr. Keith L. Moore, referring to the single-cell zygote, writes, "The cell results from fertilization … and is the beginning of a human being … Each of us started life as a cell called a zygote." Dr. Moore was not alone in his medical and scientific conclusions.

In 1981, a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from many experienced medical and scientific professionals. Based upon that testimony, they issued a report on Senate Bill 158, the "Human Life Bill," which stated "Physicians, biologists and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of life of a human being — a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological and scientific writings."

Even Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion provider, in their own pre-1973 pamphlet entitled "Plan Your Children For Health and Happiness," clearly and honestly stated, "An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun." I have seen this pamphlet with my own eyes. Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood's 2015/2016 annual report indicates that 328,348 abortions were performed in the United States. That is 900 babies lost each and every day, by just one organization.

October is Respect Life Month, a movement started in 1972 and sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The program promotes respect for the intrinsic dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death. This year's theme is "Be Not Afraid." Be not afraid of ridicule. Be not afraid of criticism. Be not afraid of challenge. Being a voice and an advocate for life can often bring all of those things — ridicule, criticism, challenge. But despite that risk, we must dare to speak up for those who are the most vulnerable and cannot speak for themselves — the unborn, the elderly, the ill, the physically or mentally challenged — any whose life may be deemed less worthy or less valuable than others. We must also support those who love and care for these vulnerable and fragile human beings, those who recognize and nourish the great power that lies within the seemingly powerless.

We cannot ignore the mothers making anguishing decisions that will affect their lives and the lives of their unborn child. To advocate for the life of the unborn child does not in any way imply that the life of the woman is of any less value or importance.

We cannot forget the women who have been victimized by unethical abortion providers such as Kermit Gosnell, and who have lost their own precious lives in the process. There are thousands of organizations, and the people behind those organizations, who are willing and able and desiring to provide the assistance, support and prayers needed to help them.

In our own small community alone, there are pregnancy resource centers, medical clinics, counselors, churches, nonprofits, adoption agencies and couples longing for a child to fill their hearts and home.

A difference can be made in the same way the goodness and generosity of the American people are revealed during devastating natural disasters, when everyone — you, your neighbor, your church, your business, your city, your state and your federal government — all come together to provide shelter and succor to survivors, to help rebuild that which was lost, and to help restore faith and security to those who have lost the most. I know that with boldness and courage, our nation has the strength to elevate itself by affording this same goodness and generosity to the lost souls afflicted by abortion. And those souls include the mothers and fathers, grandparents and siblings, whose lives are also affected, as no one escapes great loss unscathed.

Call me naïve or foolish, but I look forward to the day when it will be unnecessary to observe a month dedicated to respecting life in the United States, because the inimitable goodness I believe we each carry within us will become a driving force in our culture, and together we will honor and value all life, just as together we grieve and mourn our losses.

Terry McLaughlin, who lives in Nevada City, writes a twice monthly column for The Union. Write to her at terrymclaughlin2016@gmail.com.

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