When 'Medical Waste' Is a Mirror on the Soul of a Nation

Outside Planned Parenthood in lower Manhattan on October 15, 2021. (Kathryn Jean Lopez)

Around 1 p.m. today, I went to pray a Rosary across the street from Planned Parenthood in Manhattan. I try to do that daily when I am in New York. For a good while, I was praying — and sometimes sidewalk counseling — there in the mornings. I watched how on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, a truck would come with boxes to take away “regulated medical waste.” I am usually out there in the afternoons now. I see girls going in and leaving — there are morning and afternoon rounds of surgical abortions most days, as best I can tell. The afternoon is brutal, because you see girls after they’ve had their abortions. Some are beside themselves. Some of their boyfriends can’t even bother to open a car door for them. That’s all a long way of saying that I did not expect to see the truck and the boxes going in to be filled, and coming out to be driven away. What’s so shocking — besides the fact of it — is no one seems to notice. It’s like it could be another Amazon delivery happening. This is death — murder under euphemisms — before our eyes, and people just pass by and don’t notice.

Today I saw nine boxes of “medical waste.” As I mentioned, the last time I checked, this happens at least three times a week. Lord have mercy on us.

How many of our young people are walking wounded, never given a chance to do anything but be enslaved to a pornified culture of death? And not just our young people. Fifty years of the lie that abortion is a choice, health care, a good.

I went to Mass a block away earlier, and the visiting priest decried violence on the streets in Chicago. But we overlook the other violence on our streets. Every day, people walk past this clinic, thinking nothing of it. Even a pro-lifer outside seemed numb to the boxes passing by him.

Where are our tears? Where is our reparation for this evil? Where is our superabundance of love for moms who don’t know they are moms, for girls who don’t know what tremendous value their lives, hearts, minds, and souls are? We get into frenzies of outrage. Abortion is at the root of them all. We sever the relationship between a mother and her child. No wonder we are callous in so many other ways.

Thank you, everyone who does the work of being the arms and hands and hearts and ears of love in the pro-life movement. And if you’ve had an abortion or more or had a role to play in one, I am sorry. You deserved better than that. And there are people who will help you in your grieving, no matter how recent or long ago your abortion was. Those of us who oppose abortion don’t judge you; we love you and want better for you and your child than what this culture of death says is women’s empowerment. It’s a grave lie, and it has wrought misery on lives. And every one of us living in this country today has a duty to help mothers be mothers and expectant fathers to be fathers and to love them enough to equip them to be.

We’re living in his country today and let this be just another political issue all too often. It’s not just another political issue. It’s a human travesty. We can talk about things happening a world away — and should! But there’s a genocide happening here. (There are Black Lives Matters signs in the Noho neighborhood where Planned Parenthood is. Do the people with those signs know that in some zip codes in New York City, more black babies are aborted than are allowed to be born?) Do we care? It’s about more than a Supreme Court case. New York will still have abortions, just as abortions are still happening in Texas, even with the law prohibiting them. I doubt the law in New York will ever get it right. So how do we help girls and women?

Let nine boxes today be a challenge to us all. What more can we do to love girls and women and all who pressure them away from abortion?

For your consideration: Some links and things for those of you who want to do more, support alternatives to abortion, or want to seek help for yourself or someone you love.




Talking with the Human Coalition in Texas:

Talking with Ben and Kirsten Watson about their documentary, Divided Hearts of America:

Here’s Carter Snead talking about what it means to be human

What does it mean to be pro-life? with Erika Bachiochi and Sister Magdalene Teresa



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