Host of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly: ‘Speak Up!’ for the Unborn

‘It is crucial we as pro-life women do raise our voices,’ says Catherine Hadro at a Washington conference sponsored by Americans United for Life.

Catherine Hadro speaks at the Heritage Foundation, May 1, 2019.
Catherine Hadro speaks at the Heritage Foundation, May 1, 2019. (photo: Americans United For Life)

Editor’s Note: Catherine Hadro, host of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, gave the following talk May 1 at “Women Speak: A Symposium on Life Without Roe” at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. It is reprinted with permission.

In my comments, I hope to emphasize the “Speak” portion in today’s “Women Speak” event.

It is crucial we as pro-life women do raise our voices, or else the only voices out there will be the lies put forward by the abortion industry. In order to speak up effectively, my first point is this: Get educated on the life issue.

Call it naiveté, ignorance, what have you — but when I first started working on the pro-life issue full time, and started studying the messaging coming from both pro-life groups and pro-abortion groups, I was stunned to see how abortion advocates are blatantly lying to the American people. They are lying specifically to the vulnerable women they claim to help, and they are largely getting away with it. Planned Parenthood’s president, Dr. Leana Wen, was just put on Time’s “100” list: Her lies are more than tolerated; they are celebrated in our culture.

You can find examples of these lies very easily. I went to Planned Parenthood Action’s Twitter account the other day, started scrolling through — I’m not blocked by them yet — and one tweet stood out that said, in part: “Before abortion was legal and safe, illegal abortions caused at least 1 in 6 pregnancy-related deaths.” We know that this is not true. This tweet is a straight-up lie. Not only did the NARAL co-founder himself, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, confess they made up these pre-Roe numbers, but the Centers for Disease Control’s own statistics prove it’s false. It’s one of many lies you will stumble upon scrolling through Planned Parenthood’s social media, because Planned Parenthood apparently thinks women aren’t capable of calling them out on it.

It is insulting to our dignity a group that claims to be for women lies to women. But you can only identify lies when you know the truth, and that’s why it’s crucial to educate yourself. My fellow pro-life women, I encourage you: Read Alexandra DeSanctis’ reporting, read and watch EWTN News’ reporting on the pro-life issue, read the actual text of legislation concerning abortion, and read through Planned Parenthood’s own annual reports. Those numbers will tell you all you need to know about their agenda. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and call out the lies: Speak out!

My second point is we also have a responsibility to effectively speak the truth to others. I happen to be an advertising major, and “Communication 101” is you must remember that communication is always two ways. It is not just what you say, but it is also how the other person receives that message. What does that mean for us, then, for women convicted to speak the truth about life? It means there is no magical turn of phrase that is going to convert a heart and open someone’s eyes. You need to speak the truth in a way the specific individual in front of you can receive it. If someone advocates for abortion using scientific arguments, it’s your responsibility to respond with how science actually points to the reality of life in the womb. If someone argues for abortion using social-justice arguments, respond with how abortion is the largest humans-rights violation.

The show I host airs on EWTN Global Catholic Network. It’s no secret what my faith is, and I don’t want it to be. But I don’t lead every segment and interview arguing against abortion solely from a religious perspective. I know pro-lifers are often immediately dismissed because of their faith, and I don’t want to alienate a potential audience if they think I will only speak using faith arguments. So I make sure to offer all of the other intellectual reasons to defend unborn life.

But I do want to make this point: We also have to own the religious argument for the pro-life cause. I’ve been noticing abortion advocates become increasingly nefarious: Abortionists claim they are good Christians when they commit abortions on women; advocates passively allowing abortion because, well, Jesus forgives us; or so-called faith leaders perpetuating the lie women need abortion. Using faith to argue for abortion is especially perverse, twisted and evil. We cannot allow abortion advocates to make any ground using reasons of religion because God is the Author of Life. He knit me in my mother’s womb, he knit you in your mother’s womb, and as the Sisters of Life’s Sister Bethany Madonna told me last week: God would never bring a child into existence and into being with the intention of abortion, ever. So while we shouldn’t always lead on the faith reasoning for our pro-life view, when it does comes up, you better own it.

My final point about communicating to our culture is this: Do not be afraid of the awkward. It is easy enough for me sitting here to speak boldly on the life issue. It’s not as easy when I get into an Uber and the driver asks me what I do. It’s that one-on-one that can be difficult, with strangers or with loved ones. It’s when those what-ifs and those maybe-I-shouldn’t-go-theres pop into your brain.

But our world needs your courage right now! You need to be brave! We will not change the culture if we remain in our silos and echo chambers and stay silent when we come across someone who disagrees with us. Speak out! We can change the culture one by one. It doesn’t take courage for me to sit in our EWTN studio and talk into a camera that doesn’t talk back — but I need to take a dose of my own advice when the abortion issue pops up in casual conversation.

Here’s what gives me some motivation and helps to peel away some of that intimidation. People’s views on abortion are not necessarily black-and-white, divided 50/50 across our nation, as much as we might think it is. Many people who identify as “pro-choice” actually want restrictions on abortion. This is something that caught my eye. There was a Marist poll released in February which revealed a major increase in Democrats identifying as “pro-life.” In January, 20% of Democrats self-identified as “pro-life.” The next month, that percentage jumped to 34. Well, what happened in between? New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act into law and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made those now-infamous comments that sounded like a defense of infanticide. When you bring the extreme abortion agenda into the light, eyes do open.

I say this because you shouldn’t think of your conversation as a confrontation, but as an encounter. Don’t think of someone as a statistic, but as a human person with a unique set of views and opinions. And when you speak, do be prepared to explain why you’re pro-life. And please don’t exaggerate something just because it may sound convenient for our cause. We are on the side of truth, after all, and we must fiercely protect the truth. Now, as this event comes to its conclusion, and we each leave here and continue down our unique path in life and encounter individuals along that path, do your job to speak up! Our world needs your voice.