Who Cares?

07-17-2022Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of our esteemed US Senators recently gave her uninformed opinion about “how those pro-lifers don’t care about women.” Well, actually Senator, we care very much. Not only about women but about their unborn child as well. In fact, we care so much that since 1973 we have opened and operated, at our own expense, over 4,000 Pro-Life Centers and Clinics to assist women with prenatal and postnatal care.

Weirdly, the same Senator is going to introduce legislation to shut those centers and clinics down. Which is it? Pro-lifers don’t care and when we show that we do care, you want to shut down one of the primary means we demonstrate that care? The Senator’s accusation is that our Clinics are guilty of false advertising and deception because we don’t offer abortions. Again, Senator, we are not deceiving anyone. Apparently, in the Senator’s mind, offering abortion services is the only true sign that you really care for women. The reason we open these clinics and keep them open is to offer an alternative to abortion, a choice, as you way. When women go to an abortion clinic they are not given other options. Yes, we exist to give women the information they need to make an informed choice and the resources they need which may be why they are considering abortion in the first place.

And just as a McDonald’s often opens near a Burger King, so customers have an actual choice, we open our Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers near abortion clinics, so women actually have a real choice. Now, in places where there are no longer abortion clinics, we will continue to operate our clinics and in fact double our efforts to assist women before, during, and after childbirth. So, to the Senator, for purposes of full disclosure, when it comes to Catholic Health Care practices we clearly, openly, and without deception assure all patients that we will not kill you, help you kill yourself, or kill your unborn child. I invite the Senator to take a tour of one of our Pro-Life Centers so she can be better informed.

Additionally, in the post-Roe world, one of the latest scare tactics is that access to medical care for an ectopic pregnancy or a D&C medical procedure for miscarriages will be outlawed. In no legislation anywhere was this even suggested. This is not part of any state bans or restrictions on abortion. We also don’t support and have not suggested arresting anyone who crosses state lines to procure an abortion. These are just hysterical boogeymen designed to frighten to gin up support for legalized abortions.

When it comes to miscarriages, I recently read a story in the Wall Street Journal by a father who told of his experience in talking with his priest about what he should do about the remains of a miscarriage his wife had recently suffered. Sadly, the priest gave him no good advice. So what advice should the grieving father have been given?

From a Catholic perspective, when possible, the remains should be respectfully buried or entombed. This may not always be possible depending on the circumstances of the miscarriage. But, when possible, the remains should be placed in a sealed container or, if the miscarriage happened at the hospital, the parents should ask for the fetal remains, or as hospitals label them, “the by-product of conception” (An awful term). Here in the Diocese of Phoenix, two of our cemeteries (Holy Cross in Avondale and Queen of Heaven in Mesa) have designated sections for the burial of the remains from a miscarriage or a stillborn child. If the miscarriage happened at 20 weeks or less, the burial service is at no charge to the family.

I realize that many of you many not be in that position any longer but do pass that information along to those who may need it. Miscarriages and stillborns are one of the hardest realities in life. And lovingly and reverently burying the remains can be a step on the road to healing for parents. These situations are usually dealt with quietly and privately, which makes them even harder than a normal death but having a burial and possibly a Mass for the child can act as a balm to the aching hearts of parents.


Fr. John B.

PS. We also offer healing retreats for post-abortive mothers and fathers. If you have had an abortion, the Church wants you to find healing and peace. After 50 yrs of the Pro-Life movement, we well understand the circumstances that lead women to have an abortion and the scars it leaves. See www.rachelsvineyard.org.