St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

106 N. Meramec Avenue – Clayton MO 63105 – Parish Office (314) 726-1221

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – January 22, 2017


Last week in the news they stated that the abortion rate in the United States is lower than it has been since 1973, when the Roe vs. Wade decision was passed legalizing abortion in the United States. It dropped to just below 1 million for the year or 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44. Looking for more statistics it quickly becomes obvious that I need to be careful what I am reading. A Gallup poll asked voters in 2016 if they believed abortion should be…

Legal in few circumstances 37%
Legal under any circumstances 29%
Illegal under all circumstances 19%
Legal under most circumstances 12%
Have no opinion 3%

I thought it was interesting that they didn’t ask more consistent questions. The highest rated answer, legal in few circumstances, could have been asked as “illegal under most circumstances” which would appear to have been more consistent but I am positive it would have affected the results, but I am not sure how.

Of course the most obvious words that show a difference on this topic are whether you describe those in favor of legal abortion as “Pro-Choice” or “Pro-Abortion” and those against legal abortion as “Pro-Life” or “Anti-Choice”. This issue, more than most, has pointed out how important the words we use are, not only in being accurate and clear about what we think and believe, but also in communicating in a manner that others will hear and hearing the real concerns of others. Other statistics that I read was talking about “unwanted pregnancies” and “unintended pregnancies”. These may seem pretty close to each other, but whatif you said “unwanted child” vs. “unintended child”? I know I am the seventh child to my parents and was born only 13 months after my brother, I know I was an unintended pregnancy but I also know that I was never an unwanted child.

I am spending the time to talk about this language because if we want to change people’s minds to change the laws, if we want to change people’s minds so they may choose life instead of abortion, we need to communicate in a way that they will hear. But we also have to be clear, that it is a choice, about life and death. The language is critical, but most critical is that we use it, and if we want or expect change, we need to talk about it and to listen. Not only in the words that we use, but also in the words that others use so we can hear their real worries and concerns.

The number of abortions have gone down, more than half of the people polled believed abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances, look for the opportunities you have to help all choose life.

Fr. Nick


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