By Kevin Kelly Catholic Key Associate Editor
WARRENSBURG — What kind of society makes a woman choose between her children and her career?
That’s a question that Lt. Col. Father William Bartoul, chaplain at Whiteman Air Force Base, can’t answer.
Father Bartoul was the featured speaker at the annual Candlelight Children’s Memorial Service held this year at Sacred Heart Parish in Warrensburg. The service is sponsored on the evening of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., by Johnson County (Mo.) Right to Life to pray for children lost to abortion and for women and men suffering from the effects of a decision to abort.
“Who decides?” Father Bartoul asked, repeating the question asked by supporters of legalized abortion.
“I think the appropriate question is, ‘Who dies?’ That is the reality of the situation,” he said.
Father Bartoul said that the so-called “pro-choice” movement has conditioned women to think that their ability to bring children in the world prevents them from living a full, successful life.
“It is neither a handicap or a weakness,” he said.
“If they have to give up children to get ahead in this world, they truly are second class citizens,” he said.
“It leads to the idea that the unborn child is the enemy of the mother,” Father Bartoul said. “The truth is, mother and child are partners. They are equals. And they both deserve the protection of the law. Every human life must be protected. It can’t be subjected to the arbitrary whims of another.”
Father Bartoul also called the argument that pregnancy will permanently disrupt education or a career “astonishing.”
“It is beyond comprehension to forfeit a life to such logic,” he said. “The temporary condition of nine months trumps the right of a child to exist. That’s what it boils down to. That’s what is so terribly wrong here.”
Father Bartoul said he feared that too many women make the decision to abort without knowing about the resources available to them that would allow them to bring their child to birth.
“I believe many women make this decision with little or no information,” he said. “They are not in control of anything if they don’t have the right to know the whole truth.
“I believe that abortion is an insult to God, an affront to our civilized society and a threat to our future,” Father Bartoul said.
“There is much to pray for this evening,” he said. “Perhaps it is appropriate that we begin with the children.”
Tom Fitzpatrick, president of Johnson County Right to Life, also reminded the pro-lifers in the congregation that there is work to be done.
He urged support for New Beginnings, a pregnancy resource center in Warrensburg that has helped at least 100 mothers choose life over abortion in the past six years.
“The ladies and men at New Beginnings take action. They help,” he said.
Fitzpatrick also urged support for Project Rachel, offering counseling to women who have had abortions.
“Project Rachel reaches out to women who have had abortions and tells them that forgiveness is available through God,” he said.
He also asked for prayers for family members, fathers, brothers and sisters, who are still suffering from a past decision to abort.
“There are lots of ways we can spread the culture of life and oppose the culture of death,” Fitzpatrick said.