Last week I had the humble privilege of traveling to Mexico City to visit HLI’s affiliate and participate in a conference for pro-life leaders from throughout Mexico. This was my first visit to Mexico City, and I was looking forward to witnessing the pro-life work being carried out by those striving to build a Culture of Life. Sadly, within the Federal State of Mexico, abortion is legal up to and including the twelfth week of pregnancy, and I unfortunately also witnessed the work of those promoting a Culture of Death. While Mexico City is the third largest city in the world population wise with nearly 22 million people, a number anti-life organizations have been working in the city to destroy this population and promote their agenda of contraception, sterilization and abortion.
My first experience began at 5:00 AM when I joined pro-lifers in a prayer vigil outside one of Mexico City’s public abortion mills. Many of these warriors for life had been gathered since 4:00 AM in anticipation of the mill’s opening at 6:15 AM. Monday thru Saturday this mill opens its doors and facilitates per day a maximum of sixty women seeking an abortion. Those defending life and the dignity of women told me there is never a lack of clients seeking the termination of their pregnancies, the death of their innocent children.
The sidewalk was lined from one end of the building to the other with young mothers, husbands, boyfriends and parents with one goal — obtaining an abortion. Adding to this mixture of humanity was another line of young mothers and fathers. These, instead, were waiting to enter the family clinic for assistance with the healthy delivery of their children. What an irony! On one side there is joy and on the other fear, anxiousness and regret — a testimony to the authentic battle lines of today’s society.
The decision of a pregnant mother to choose life or death for her child is influenced by many factors, and perhaps one of the most unfortunate is not recognizing the truth about when her child’s life begins. The propaganda machine of “pro-choice” abortion promoters never speaks of the child, a human being, in the womb. They blatantly deny the reality of life blossoming within the womb and instead speak of the child as only tissue and matter. They also lecture about the inconveniences for the mother and her family if the baby is born.
HLI’s Mexico affiliate, however, with the power of modern technology and hearts filled with love for their neighbor, intervenes into the darkness of fear and fabrications to cast the light of truth. They muddle through the uncertainties and anxiousness to reveal the wonder of life stirring within through ultrasound technology. They put a face on the little child, one so small and seemingly insignificant, and offer this beautiful young mother the opportunity to meet her baby. The results of such an encounter are met with mixed emotions, but nearly 90% of all fetal ultrasounds end with life being saved and the dignity of the mother being preserved.
On this particular morning I witnessed first hand the intervening power of love. One group prayed the Rosary while another group of trained sidewalk counselors began a dialogue with those waiting in line to procure abortions. I watched as these warriors for life gently and patiently encouraged their sisters to talk about their situation, and if there was openness, led them to the mobile ultrasound unit. It was a fluid movement of genuine concern, and I saw the Gospel of Love and Life at work.
That early morning, before the sun had risen, I witnessed lives being saved. I watched as ten children were saved through the powerful intervention of love. Each mother who emerged from the ultrasound trailer was not the same. Expecting to see nothing more than a glob of tissue or a mixture of unorganized matter, the mother instead saw a baby, her baby, with little hands and feet. The lie she was told had been revealed, and light entered in and cast aside the darkness.
For the mothers who chose to keep their babies, continuing care and support were given. The pro-life community offered counseling, assistance with work opportunities and basic health care. I saw joy on the faces of a number of mothers who were saved from the horror of abortion and offered genuine care and love.
At the conclusion of our vigil, I was privileged to meet a young couple in their early twenties that decided to keep their child. They both were filled with tears of joy as they accepted the gift of life and opened themselves to its wondrous beauty. I could see fear disappear as they embraced in love their child and each other. I could also see the humble joy of those that had intervened. It was a moment of grace and awe.
I wish I could say that we had succeeded in saving all sixty children that day, but through the loving efforts of pro-life warriors ten were saved at our location, and the dignity of these beautiful mothers upheld. Through the combined efforts those defenders of life witnessing at other public mills in Mexico City that morning, a total of thirty-two children were saved.
The apparition and message of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531 to Juan Diego forever changed the life of the Mexican people, and her message more than ever is needed today. As in the day of the apparition, life is threatened and the dignity of humanity is being undermined by the powers of evil. Our Lady of Guadalupe presents herself with child to forever remind the world of the precious gift of life. I met a wondrous people during my visit, and I am convinced that under Our Lady of Guadalupe’s intercession and motherly care legalized abortion will come to an end in Mexico.
Our lady of Guadalupe, pray for Mexico, the Americas and the world.
Father Shenan J. Boquet is the president of Human Life International (HLI).