By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
News spread like a contagion recently about a terror attack at a publication office in Paris. It all seemed a little unreal to me, until I saw the names of the victims.
As a news consumer, I often find myself yearning to learn the names of people who perished in automobile accidents, in street violence, or as a result of deadly disease outbreaks. I use news stories as an occasion for prayer, and I want to pray for the victims by name.
This is the great dilemma we face as pro-life advocates. We cannot name the victims of abortion. We do not know, for the most part, whether their mothers and fathers had chosen names for their aborted offspring.
The casualty count from legal abortion in this country now stands at 57 million. Those are 57 million unnamed individuals. They are invisible to us because we don’t know them.
When we are introduced to new people, the introduction begins with a name. We identify the individual because of the name associated with him or her. The name makes the person real to us.
When glancing through the obituary page of the local newspaper, we hunt for names. People’s appearances can change quite a bit over the years, so accompanying pictures may not be that helpful in the identification process. But the name says it all.
As part of their healing experience, post-abortive women are often encouraged to name their aborted children. The naming process can be quite powerful. In naming their child, they form a connection with him or her that lives after death.
Even in celebrity culture, names carry great meaning. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter tease users with posts about the latest celebrity baby names. Once we learned about the existence of babies Blue Ivy and North, those words took on new meaning and yes, even personhood.
It is a credit to the pro-life movement that, 42 years after the dreadful U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, we continue to fight for the rights of people we do not even know by name. But unnamed does not mean unwanted. Every child deserves a fighting chance at life, whether known as Emily or Justin or just Baby A. We may not know the names of each unborn child, but we do know their value: priceless.