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  January 9, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 1Oakland, CA

articles list

BART riders see pro-life message

Ministry addresses post-abortion trauma

Walk for Life march
in S.F. on Jan. 21

New head for SF archdiocese

Bringing water, hope and justice to Bicol’s poorest

Project Andrew aims to lead men to the priesthood

Journey from inquiry to ordination is a lengthy process of discernment

St. Patrick’s Seminary prepares men to be
priests for dioceses throughout the West

Vocation director discusses trends, issues of candidates

Latino men invited to consider becoming priests

Livermore man begins duties as a Maryknoll lay missioner

Pope’s action sparks review of Assisi Shrine and its patron saint


•Will we ever stop playing with bullets?

•Remember Katrina? Apparently the federal government doesn’t

•In the midst of life’s storms, light a prayer candle

•Document on seminarians points out necessary reform


•Deacon Jack Jordan

•Deacon Leo Smith

•Sister Kathleen Murray, SNDdeN





















BART riders see pro-life message

The advertisements are now on view in BART trains and stations, highlighted with a few brief facts and capped by a single provocative question: “Abortion. Have we gone too far?”

Those who read the fine print will see that the ads are sponsored by the Diocese of Oakland Friends of Respect Life Ministry, which launched the campaign the day after Christmas.

It will continue through Jan. 23 in the most ambitious effort the ministry has yet made to inform the public about U.S. abortion law.

Monika Rodman, Respect Life resource specialist, said the aim is “to move hearts and minds toward greater support for our preborn brothers and sisters” and to educate “Catholics and the broader public about the extreme nature of our country’s abortion law.”

The ads, which appear in two versions, were developed by the Second Look Project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and were on display last January in Washington, D.C. buses and Metro cars. Each contains a photo of a young woman and includes facts about present abortion law.

One says simply, “Nine months. The amount of time the Supreme Court says it’s legal to have an abortion.” The other states, “The Supreme Court says you can choose…” and lists several of stages of development, such as, “after arms and legs appear,” “after it sucks its thumb,” or “after it could survive outside the womb.”

“Many individuals who say they believe abortion should be legal are shocked to find out how expansive the ‘right to choose’ abortion really is,” Rodman said. The ads present the facts, she said, “in a non-adversarial way that presumes the best of the viewer.”

Respect Life Ministry, which ran ads on post-abortion healing several years ago, opted for the BART system because public transit systems have broader free speech rights than private media, such as radio stations or newspapers, Rodman said.

She “informally tested the ads,” she said, “by going into local cafes and showing them to female employees. Their positive response was encouraging.”

It cost over $40,000 to produce the ads and rent space, she said, and the campaign was made possible by “many families” who donated to the ministry. The UC-Berkeley Students for Life group also plans to publish the ads in the Daily Cal newspaper during their Celebrate Life Week, Jan 23-27.

Rodman said volunteers will offer BART patrons “Roe Reality Check” pamphlets at some stations during the ad campaign. The pamphlet, also produced by the Second Look Project, provides facts to counter several commonly held assumptions about abortion in the U.S.

“Myth: Most Americans favor U.S. abortion law,” states one entry in the pamphlet, which continues, “Fact: Most Americans actually oppose it.” The pamphlet then goes on to present the results of recent polls on the issue and to show that most American women do not support easy access to abortions.

The pamphlet also demonstrates that most abortions are done not because of health problems or in cases of rape but because the mother feels unready to take care of a child due to her age, economic status, problems with a relationship or similar reasons.

Studies show that three percent each year are done for maternal health problems (physical or mental), three percent for fetal health problems, and one percent because of rape or incest.

“Roe Reality Check” backs up its data with a lengthy list of footnotes, citing research documents, media reports and legal decisions.
It brings both legal and moral arguments to bear on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision making abortion legal in the U.S.
“Even legal commentators who support legal abortion have said Roe is not good constitutional law,” it states, and it quotes Supreme Court justices who have criticized the decision.

The pamphlet also declares that abortion is often used as a method of birth control and the U.S. abortion rate is among the highest in the world. “Today the U.S. has the highest abortion rate in the western world and the third-highest of all developed nations worldwide.” Fully “24.5 percent of all U.S. pregnancies end in abortion,” it says, and 3,500 abortions are performed each day.

It states that if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision making abortion legal, were overturned, abortion policy would not automatically become illegal in the U.S. Instead, each state would make its own policy “through the democratic process, rather than by courts.”

The pamphlet, Rodman said, is “superbly done, an educational tool we can be proud to offer to the general public.”

It is also available to parishes for use as a bulletin insert or adult faith formation, and information included in the pamphlet is available online at www.secondlookproject.org.

Advertisement on view in BART trains and stations, sponsored by the Diocese of Oakland Friends of Respect Life Ministry.

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