Kathryn Lopez

This is the kind of pain and regret that is out there, even though society is trying its best to ignore it. Which is no small reason why, when Pope Francis recently canonized two recent popes, John Paul II and John XXIII, he did so on Divine Mercy Sunday. Because hearts need to know that there is healing out there. Our culture, too, in the throes of severe alienation, desperately needs to be a culture of encouragement that holds motherhood as a sacred honor, something that we celebrate and support.

In her Barnard speech, Richards declared her message to the young female graduates to be: "Life as an activist, troublemaker, agitator is a tremendous option and one I highly recommend."

As the recent social media concern for a group of kidnapped girls in Nigeria makes clear, we do feel for those who are suffering, and, in a particular way, for girls and women. Amidst boasting of shattering glass ceilings, though, hearts are broken and lives are ended in the name of not just "women's freedom," but also "women's health."

At one point in her commencement address, Richards said: "The world can be tough. It can be unjust ... Each one of you has the power to do something about it. You get to build the world you want to live in."

Richards and Planned Parenthood have extraordinary power over the political process in the United States. That power can be used for good -- to make the world a little more just, a little more tender -- if those who have been so stubbornly wedded to the abortion ideology considered the unnecessary pain that it inflicts, and lifted us out of this culture of death, destruction and broken hearts.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.