The Observer—Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford
Publication date: May 6, 2005
By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge
Director, Respect Life Office
Breakfast in bed, flowers, cards, hugs, kisses, and other expressions of love will be in abundance on May 8th. While the date for Mother’s Day varies, most countries set aside a day each year to recognize and honor mothers who love, protect, and sacrifice for their children.
According to psychologist Dr. James Dobson, “[T]here is no assignment on earth that requires the array of skills and understanding needed by a mom in fulfilling her everyday duties. She must be a resident psychologist, physician, theologian, educator, nurse, chef, taxi driver, fire marshal and occasional police officer. And if she succeeds in each of these responsibilities, her reward is a quick hug from a rambunctious kid on his way out to play.”
Unfortunately, motherhood is being undermined on many fronts. The United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has rebuked the “prevalence of sex-role stereotypes” perpetuated by Mother’s Day. An exclusive elementary school in Manhattan has banned Mother’s Day.
Radical feminists preach that motherhood oppresses women and they castigate the God given role of motherhood on a regular basis. Phyllis Schlafly, attorney and founder of Eagle Forum, writes, the “women’s liberation movement disregards, denigrates, and denies the created beginnings of woman and the creative essence of womanhood.”
It is not unusual for abortion rights activists to use Mother’s Day to sponsor newspaper ads or promote events to benefit various pro-abortion groups. One signature ad that appeared in the Buffalo News (New York) was entitled, “Honoring All Mothers, Everywhere. Working to Keep Motherhood a Choice.” The undeniable message was that the signers of the ad wanted women to be able to “choose” whether to give birth to their babies or to end their young lives by abortion.
Last year on its website, Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA) encouraged its followers to “Honor Your Mother on Mother’s Day. Give her War on Choice [a book authored by its then-president, Gloria Feldt].” PPFA— the largest single committer of abortions in this country— has done more to prevent motherhood than any other single organization on earth. It is no surprise that they would use the day set aside to honor motherhood to promote abortion and contraception. It’s hypocrisy at its worst.
Visitors to the website of the pro-abortion National Organization for Women (NOW) will see this: “Delight your mother with these great gift ideas from NOW! And tell her that store proceeds benefit action programs of NOW — another great way to honor your mum.” One of the offerings to “honor your mum” is a “keep abortion legal bracelet.” They are so blinded by “choice” that they do not see the irony.
Make no mistake, NOW, PPFA, and their ilk dishonor motherhood. Advocating for a mother’s so-called right to kill her own pre-born children is an affront to motherhood and to what Mother’s Day is supposed to be. Mother’s Day is for celebrating motherhood, not the unnatural end to it.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “mother” as “a woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child.” This would include those women who gave birth and are raising or have raised their children; those who have adopted children; those who have placed their babies for adoption; those who are pregnant; those who have lost children through miscarriage or premature death; those who had the courage to choose life in difficult situations; or those who have not had children but who have nurtured or helped to nurture others in a variety of ways.
Archbishop Charles Chaput writes, “A woman becomes a mother when she accepts the will of God to bring about, nurture and care for new life in a physical and spiritual manner. Motherhood cannot be separated from the gift of life, physically or spiritually. For this reason, one way to honor mothers is to respect, love and protect the life of the unborn.”