At its fundraising dinner this year, the Center honored Congressman Dan Lipinski, a Democrat from Illinois, for being a staunch defender of the most innocent human life. In his acceptance speech, Lipinski in turn honored the real heroes of the fight for life and family in a country beset by a culture of death: the volunteers and those who make Northwest Center and its services possible. But even more so, the mothers -- those parents who bravely say yes to the lives with which they have been entrusted. Who, whatever the circumstances that brought them to pregnancy, surrender themselves to service.
"I believed no one supported my choice to choose life," a very pregnant Sharnece Ward explains. Ward has faced most obstacles a single mom can have. The father of her child gave her a litany of reasons to abort. "Planned Parenthood was recommended." She lost her job and housing. But she managed to find the Northwest Center and its "effortless support," the help "my family wouldn't give me." She's living there, at no cost. Suffering from gestational diabetes, she is getting the basic and additional health care she needs through the Center's help. And in addition to the parenting skills, she's continuing her education. She was determined to be the mother she already was, despite the option so many around her were all too insistent she pursue.
No political party owns social justice. Every individual is called to serve and defend the cause of life. In the face of evil and confusion, we often just need to encourage one another -- help each other with the support and resources -- to answer the call. Bonhoeffer's example reminds us of this. A contemporary martyr in a far-off country reminds us. A mother reminds us. In service, in courage, there is peace. Be not afraid, as a wise, saintly man of the last century implored.