My First Column…

…for Franciscan University’s newspaper, The Troubadour.

The appalling strength of the abortion industry – in its daily destruction of 4000 American lives, its enormous wealth and seemingly limitless political clout – might lead one to believe that the pro-life battle is a losing battle. A good fight, to be sure, but a fight against a Goliath of such monstrous proportions that it will only ever remain a noble cause; never to be realized as a noble victory.

The truth, however, is that pro-life Americans have the incredible virtue of being both on the right side and the winning side. While federal decisions like Roe v. Wade still loom over the country, creating the impression that abortion has planted its flag of victory in American soil, individual states have been quietly passing unprecedented amounts of pro-life legislation, legislation that weakens the abortion industry from all sides.

For instance, on September 16th, the Virginia Board of Health approved emergency regulations likely to shut down 17 of 21 abortion facilities in the state. These regulations do not require some bizarre and unnecessary change to abortion facilities, only basic medical decency. Under the new regulations, abortion centers are required to meet the health standards of hospitals, to own standard pieces of emergency equipment – for incidents of cardiac arrest, seizure and the like – and to establish better sanitary conditions. Planned Parenthood, while claiming to hold the needs of women as the ultimate priority, is protesting, and rightly so; not one of their facilities meets the new requirements. Let us be completely clear: They are protesting the demand for their facilities to be clean and safe. These common-sense regulations only wait to be approved by the pro-life Governor Bob McDonnell before they are put into effect on January 1st. They will then devastate the abortion industry in Virginia.

Also this year, the states of Indiana and Kansas eliminated all taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood. They accomplished for themselves what our federal government could not, and are being imitated by similar legislation in Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee. The year has seen a record number of bills being introduced and passed demanding personhood for the unborn, recognizing fetal pain, banning all abortions after 20 weeks of life, and requiring parental consent. This same trend of victory exists on a local level. ’40 Days For Life’ records 14 abortions facilities having shut down after their grassroots campaign of prayer and protest.
Why is the pro-life movement so successful on the state and local level? Because the majority of Americans are pro-life, and a super-majority of Americans oppose government funding of abortion. The will of the people is set firmly against abortion. Thus, the closer a decision is to the people – that is to say, the closer it is to local government and the further it is from the hulking bureaucracy of the federal government – the more likely the decision will be made in favor of life. This fact clearly illustrates the value of the Catholic socioeconomic principle of subsidiarity, which holds that all government should work at its smallest, most human element, in order for society to be truly just.

It is absolutely reasonable to claim that, if this trend of local victory continues, abortion will be illegal within ten years, or rendered impotent by local and State legislation. Make haste the day.

FUS, Represent!
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A Reader Writes...
  • Jeanette O’Toole

    Thanks Marc! I love ALL of your work; good job! I'd like to add in a quote from Fr. John A. Hardon:<<< We are only channels of grace to others in the measure that we are possessed of God’s grace ourselves. Let me repeat in the clearest words in my disposal. I would restate our thesis in two propositions. Proposition #1 There is no stopping abortion without an ocean of grace from Jesus Christ. No way will human means stop abortion.#2 The principal source of this grace is the Holy Eucharist. >>>Read more

  • Wine in the Water

    Nice column. Just a quick note though. The Catholic concept you're talking about is Subsidiarity. Distributivism is the concept that capital and the means of production should be as widely distributed as possible (as opposed to Capitalism which concentrates capital and the means of production in the hands of select individuals and corporations and Socialism which concentrates capital and the means of production in the hands of the state).

  • Colleen

    Glad to have you writing for my Alumni newspaper :)

  • Melanie

    Marc! I'm so pumped you're writing for the Troub. I've been following your blog for a little while now and I'm glad you're joining the Troub's illustrious ranks.

  • Theresa

    Stumbled upon your blog from another blog, subscribed, and then saw your guest post at Creative Minority Report. Then I realized you go to FUS of which I am an alumni. You're very talented…keep using your voice for the glory of God!

  • Sophia’s Favorite

    Wine in the Water (Flying Inn reference?) got to it before me, RE: the correct definition of Distributism. Though I'd define capitalism as concentrating capital in the hands of an investor class rather than "select individuals", but that's a minor quibble.The word you were looking for, for the Catholic governmental principle, is subsidiarity.That terminology issue aside, awesome article.

  • Marc

    good call on the subsidiarity! thanks!

  • Kara

    Was just talking about this in a debate but the other side wants to turn a blind eye and pretend everyone is lying. They'll see that once these clinics start shutting down how disgusting they truly are.

  • Rebecca

    Two things:1. If you haven't already, you MUST read Aborting America by Bernard Nathanson. Absolutely fascinating.2. I hope my sons grow up to be as cool as you!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Marc. Sorry to post twice about this but the GOP debate is tonight and since your now of voting age, I really wanted to know if your voting for Rick Santorum. It's not completey off topic because of his strong views against abortion. If not him, would you mind telling us who you're going to vote for?

  • Marc

    I am honestly rather uniformed. Opinion will be commencing. I'm not gonna pretend I like either of the parties though…

  • Wine in the Water

    What, you don't prefer the Stupid Evil Party over the Evil Stupid Party? -h/t to Mark Shea

  • Sophia’s Favorite

    Mark Shea knows no more about economics or geopolitics than my cat. And yet he's awfully supercilious about people who don't agree with his pontifications (if you get your news from Harper's—i.e. from the far-left MacArthur Foundation—you have no right to treat other people as dupes).The actual distinction is between the "Flawed Human Party" and the "Party of Abortion-on-Demand that Nicknamed Stalin 'Uncle Joe' and Once Seceded Rather than Free Their Slaves".Nope, there's no difference at all between the two parties. None whatsoever.That's all I'll say about politics.

  • Wine in the Water

    Mark Shea can be hyperbolic, bombastic, over-simplifying, dismissive .. and also right. But to say that both parties fall short of Catholic standards is not to say that they aren't different, but merely that they both fall short of Catholic standards, just in different ways.

  • Sophia’s Favorite

    Except that they don't. One can be a 100% faithful Catholic and have the wholehearted support of the Republican party. This is not the case for the Democrats.Or maybe by "Catholic standards" you mean "confiscatory taxation and the welfare state, and equating the death penalty and war with the murder of the unborn". Sorry, those aren't Catholic standards, anymore than support of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was.Shea is never right; he says things that are laughably, risibly false, and then combines his porcine ignorance with wholly unwarranted arrogance. I can think of very few people I hate, but he's very, very close.And I'm done talking about politics, dammit.

  • Fabius

    Fantastic article, really liked it. Though I'm not quite as optimistic about the timeline on ending abortion (I'm thinking 20 years as a best case scenario). I think the point that we'll see abortion rendered fairly impotent rare before we overturn "Roe" (as a sort of after the fact formality) is spot on.

  • Wine in the Water

    Sophia's Favorite,The Republican party has embraced unjust war, torture, an application of the death penalty that fails Catholic teaching on the matter, economic policies that favor the wealthy at the expense of the poor and environmental policies that disproportionally harm the poor. In all of these ways, it fails Catholic standards.This doesn't make the Democratic party right on those issues, this doesn't make the Democratic party better, these facts don't relate to the Democratic party in any way. Likewise, this doesn't mean that these issues are any more important than other issues out there, and this doesn't meant that a Catholic cannot vote Republican.But we have to be honest about the imperfections of the Republican Party. This is especially important as we see more and more Catholics use voting Republican as some sort of litmus test for their Catholicism. It is to the point now that many Catholics are mistaking the Republican platform for Catholic teaching and even rejecting authentic Catholic teaching in favor of Republican orthodoxy. It's not just about politics, it's about the faith.

  • Sophia’s Favorite

    Those wars, unjust how? It is practically redundant to say Saddam Hussein needed to be removed; whether it was up to America to remove him is a matter of prudential judgment.I'm sorry, in my dictionary "torture" involves pain, and waterboarding inflicts no pain, only fear. It may be that it was applied too easily, but since it isn't torture that, too, is a matter of prudential judgment.The Catholic Church has, and can have, no teaching on the application of the death penalty, since that is a matter of prudential judgment rather than a definable dogma of faith and morals.The Republican Parties' economic policies benefit the poor hugely. Is it actually incomprehensible to you that, in a system based (rightly or wrongly) on an investor class, letting that class do as much investing as possible results in more employment and higher wages? The economic results aren't exactly esoteric.And actually it is the Democratic environmental policies that hurt the poor the most—leaving population control to one side, they crush the forms of development that not only end poverty, but make it possible to safeguard ecological resources.But why am I even responding? You spout slogans, you have no knowledge of the relevant statistics. Politics, being based on prudential judgment, is a matter for facts. And you don't know them, so you have no right to your opinion.

  • Sophia’s Favorite

    Addendum: To demonstrate how my political views derive from facts, not slogans or feelings, I offer the fact that both the EU courts and the USDOJ have determined that waterboarding does not qualify as torture, again because it is not based on the infliction of pain.Now, it is possible that they are wrong—Lord knows both are often very, very wrong. But when two such disparate authorities come to the same conclusion, it does weigh.Also, again, they might be wrong: but what is one to base a dispute on? I am not aware of any definition of torture that doesn't define it as "inflicting pain"; that is the definition the Catechism uses.

  • M.

    Excellent column, Marc.

  • Unknown

    Sophia's Favorite,I encourage you to explore the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website and the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. In fact, here is the link to the overview of the seven themes:'s a quote from the section on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person: "The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong." It would be best to look at many of the articles on this site. This will help you to understand that what some of your brothers and sisters here are trying to tell you is that ANY political party does not equal Catholic. Period. We must continue to humble ourselves to God's Church, because I'm pretty sure the Holy Spirit know's what He's talking about. Just sayin.