Michael Brown spends much of his polemic comparing the peaceful and positive nature of the March for Life to the sometimes rowdy and occasionally rude Women’s March. I am relieved, however, that “…there will be no calls to burn down or blow up abortion clinics..” and thus Brown and his colleagues repudiate the bombing of abortion clinics or executions of abortion providers. But even if he promises a peaceful resistance against abortions, it takes more than marching around, writing letters to the editor, or having Catholic priests tell us how to vote in Presidential elections to reduce the demand for abortions in America. If history tells us anything, merely passing laws doesn’t help either. It takes, as the other side likes to say, the ability to make better choices and that usually means having a supportive community to count on.
For me, its been a long way and many decades from Buffalo, NY to Los Alamos, NM but for some of us who hail from that neck of the woods, the name Nelson Henry Baker comes to mind. Nelson Baker was a Civil War veteran who returned home to Buffalo to set up a profitable business. He later had a calling and joined the priesthood. Using his own resources and those he raised through fundraising efforts, Father Baker created “The Association of Our Lady of Victory” city of charity in Lackawanna, NY, which is a city on the south side of Buffalo. That city of charity included a minor basilica, an infant home, a home for unwed mothers, a boys’ orphanage, a boys’ protectory, a hospital, a nurses’ home, and a grade and high school.
I know a little about that history because that is where my mom, who found herself pregnant with me and abandoned by her lover, stayed in the fall and winter of 1953. I was born in Our Lady of Victory Hospital as the page turned to 1954. It was through the generosity and vision of Father Baker and the city of charity staff that my mom had a refuge from a critical world, through the support of my maternal grandmother, who moved in with my mom after I was born to take care of me while my mom went back to working two jobs, and of course to my mom’s own indomitable spirit and belief in the sanctity of life that I am here to write about it.
So, Mr. Brown. If you don’t like abortions, put your money where your marching shoes are. Folks like my mom will thank you. Political grandstanding alone doesn’t solve anything.