LOPEZ: How can our politics be more compelling, loving, realistic about abortion?
HALL: We need to realize the scope of abortion in our country. Fifty-five million lives lost means there are millions of women, men, grandparents, siblings, et cetera who live with the impact of their abortion decisions. These people deserve to be allowed to grieve and to recognize their lost children. We also need to provide better help and support to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
LOPEZ: You’re involved with Project Rachel, a post-abortion ministry. Isn’t that — and efforts like that — a bit patronizing? Not all women regret their abortions. Why do you insist that they do?
HALL: I can only say that as a woman who is a wife, mother, sister, friend, and worker with Project Rachel, I am amazed at how many people have been touched by abortion. They’ve either had an abortion themselves, encouraged someone to have one, or are haunted that someone they love has had one. It goes against our nature as women not to grieve that loss. We know something’s not right, even if we bury it deep inside. Women are created to nurture and sustain life. Abortion destroys life. That destruction requires healing. I’m so grateful that Project Rachel recognizes this and provides a safe, loving, non-judgmental place for people to begin healing when they’re ready.
LOPEZ: What have you seen to be the most productive way to convince young people there is a better way than high-school sex and a contraceptive college hook-up culture?
HALL: Young people need to know they’re part of something bigger than themselves and that they’ve been created with a purpose and a plan. It seems the real “War on Women” is us women against ourselves. When we are encouraged to buy into a denial of our creation as women with unique gifts that complement those of men. Contraception and abortion exist so that we can be more like men, and that’s a loss for the world. We need to embrace and celebrate our womanhood, not reject and sterilize it! Young people need to be taught what authentic love and healthy sexuality truly is rather than settle for some cheap counterfeit that reduces sexuality to pleasure only. They deserve the truth that will free them to live healthy lives filled with peace and happiness. The best vehicle I’ve seen to teach this is Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.” There are introductions available for middle-schoolers, high-school and college students, and adults. It teaches the beauty of our humanity, the purpose of our creation, and the greatness to which we’re called.
LOPEZ: What do women need?
HALL: To know our value and not settle for less.
LOPEZ: What do men need to step up to the plate?
HALL: Older men of character to teach them to seek goodness and truth and that, on occasion, goodness and truth will need to be defended.
LOPEZ: Are there things each one of us can do to make the world a little more hospitable to life?
HALL: Most definitely! We can pray every day to recognize our dignity and to act accordingly. We can work for justice by lobbying against unjust laws, helping at a crisis-pregnancy center, not shying away from talking about abortion, feeding the hungry, assisting the elderly. At its core, the Christian experience is one of love: Love one another as I have loved you. If each one of us truly focused on that task, we’d make some progress.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.