Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Damned if you do... [updated]

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 14, 2022

The headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch manages to make a charitable gesture look sinister:

Diocese to sell bishop’s residence, use cash for anti-abortion battle

The facts: Bishop Michael McGovern of Belleville, Illinois, is going to sell his episcopal residence and use the funds to support pregnancy-help centers. Even the Post-Dispatch story (which was more balanced than the headline) acknowledged that much: “The diocese said the proceeds will be used to help pregnant women and also for other church outreach programs.”

It’s fashionable these days to portray pregnancy-help centers in an unfavorable light, skipping quickly past the fact that they are helping pregnant women. (Have you heard spokesmen for Planned Parenthood say that abortion accounts for only a small portion of their work? Isn’t it curious, then, that the clinics are now shutting down in states where abortion is restricted?) So a center that provides support to women in difficult pregnancies is now depicted simply as an “anti-abortion” operation, without reference to what the center actually does.

That way the propagandists who support legal abortion (and most mainstream media fall into that category) can continue to promote the canard that pro-lifers don’t do anything to help women with problem pregnancies. You see the logic?

  • You never do anything to help women!
  • But we offer medical care, lodging, food, adoption referrals…
  • Shut up! You only do that to stop abortions!


This story in the Washington Times interests me for two reasons:

  1. First, it’s not exactly news that ultrasound exams regularly convince pregnant women to change their minds about abortion. In fact I reported on that phenomenon myself, in a story published in the May 2004 issue of Catholic World Report. But in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, the media are finally taking notice of pregnancy-help centers, and learning what we knew nearly 20 years ago.
  2. Second, if most abortion-minded women change their minds after they see the ultrasound images, that can only be because they want to keep their babies. Thus the centers that help them reach that decision—on the basis of informed consent—are actually helping those women, whereas the clinics that rush them to abort are not.

if you’re a shill for the abortion industry, good luck convincing people that the results of a scientific test are misleading. And therefore, unfortunately, if you’re a pro-life activist, good luck getting the news about ultrasounds into the mainstream media.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: ewaughok - Jul. 15, 2022 4:46 PM ET USA

    What Mr. Lawler says here about getting ultrasounds and their life-saving influence on women considering abortion (that is murdering their babies) is absolutely correct. But the other side of the coin is that The mainstream media is no longer the leading source of news for many people. And even if it is a source of news for some people, they don’t trust it very much as poll after poll has shown. So There’s still hope that ultrasound can be communicated to pregnant women despite mainstream media blockage.