EDITORIAL

On, Wisconsin!

The fallout from the shocking stories of the fetal parts trade continues — and now Wisconsin legislators are getting into the act.

In August, evidence suggesting that companies were harvesting and profiting from the unborn babies removed in late-term abortions was released by a Denton, Texas, pro-life group, Life Dynamics. The Register has been tracking the story since November, when the U.S. House called for hearings to investigate the “trafficking of baby body parts for profit.”

The coverage has already helped spur one group to form to oppose the practice: Women Against the Killing and Exploitation of Unprotected Persons or WAKE-UP (see the Jan. 30-Feb. 5 Register).

Now, on Feb. 17, Wisconsin state Rep. Sheryl Abers, a Republican, and Sen. Robert Breske, a Democrat, introduced legislation to outlaw the practice.

The legislation would outlaw the selling of any organ, tissue, blood or body part of any aborted baby. It was spurred in part by media reports of price sheets listing the costs of body parts.

The organization Pro-Life Wisconsin told of one reputed parts-seller that listed the gory details: $999 for a baby's brain, $150 for a liver and $75 for babies' eyes.

“Pro-lifers have long suspected that the body parts of aborted babies were being sold to research facilities for profit,” said Peggy Hamill, president of Pro-Life Wisconsin. “This new documentation confirmed our fears.”

The two co-sponsors, and their supporters, are to be commended. Whatever the fate of their bill, by putting this issue in the public forum they will only help bring more attention to the matter. And the more the public hears about the gruesome reality of today's culture of death, the better.

Which state will be next?

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Walk the Talk in Sudan

Sudanese Bishop Macram Max Gassis is on a mission to tell the world about the atrocities in his war-torn homeland (see Inperson, Page 1). There, civilians and children are being attacked, sold into slavery and forcibly converted by Sudanese forces in the country's civil war. Particularly egregious was a Feb. 8 bombing attack on a Catholic grade school that killed 15.

The bishop has brought his cry for help to the highest levels of the U.S. government. A partial response came from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Feb. 16:

“Appalled by the bishop's description of the government's bombing campaign against civilian targets,” a spokesman said, “Secretary Albright reaf-firmed the determination of the United States to do everything it can to bring an end to the tragic civil war in Sudan.”

But what does this “everything” entail?

At a Washington summit on Africa the next day, Albright spoke eloquently about the tragedies in the Sudan, some of which she saw firsthand in a recent visit. But she was less specific what action the United States would take.

“We have taken a major role in trying to energize a regional peace process,” she said.

That simply isn't enough. Nor are the United States'recent sanctions against Sudan. Undertaken for commendable motives, they were greeted with a shrug of the shoulders from Sudan's warlords. The sanctions' main effect seems to have been to bring record first-quarter earnings to a Canadian company that still trades with Sudan. There are many diplomatic avenues available to the United States to put pressure on errant nations. When will these be tried?

The destruction of children at an elementary school, if it had happened in Europe or America, would make those responsible the target of a strong, systematic response. No one would be satisfied with the United States “trying to energize a regional peace process” after a promise to do “everything it can” to answer such a tragedy.

It is time for America's leaders to speak as loudly for the people of Sudan with actions as they have with words.

Horace Vernet, “The Angel of Death,” 1851

Don’t Wait to Cram for Your ‘Final Exam’

“Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven — through a purification or immediately — or immediate and everlasting damnation.” (CCC 1022)

Francisco de Zurbarán, “The Family of the Virgin,” ca. 1650

Why Do We Ask Mary to Pray for Us?

“After her Son’s Ascension, Mary ‘aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.’ In her association with the apostles and several women, ‘we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation.’” (CCC 965)