30th Annual 8th Grade Pro-Life Essay contest
Guidelines (.docx) | Application (.docx)
Pro-Life Essay Contest is open to all 8thGrade students in the Diocese of Covington schools, home school programs and CCD Programs. Scholarships awarded towards tuition to a Diocese of Covington High School as follows: 1st Place – $1000.00 2nd Place – $700.00 3rd Place – $300.
Memorial Mass for the Loss of a Child
Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 7:00 pm
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Rev. Michael Comer presiding
The Pro-Life Office and the Pro-Life Advisory Board of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, guided by our Bishop to promote the sanctity and legal protection of human life from conception to natural death through prayer, pastoral care, public policy and education.
Walking with Moms in Need
Resources for mothers and families. Click here.
Pregnancy Care Centers
CareNet Pregnancy Center: a ministry of compassion
CareNet Pregnancy Center — founded in 1975 — is a Christ-centered organization to educate, support and empower men and women before, during and after an unplanned pregnancy while uplifting the sanctity of human life. This nonprofit organization empowers men and women considering abortion to choose life for their unborn children and find abundant life in Christ.
“I feel that the whole success of saving lives revolves around if the people who are serving them are engaged,” said Lyndi Zembrodt, executive director, when describing her volunteer staff.
CareNet Pregnancy Center is one of three local life-affirming organizations that will be honored at the upcoming Life’s a Ball hosted by the diocesan Pro-Life Office. Life’s a Ball will be held Feb. 12 at the Airport Marriott, Hebron. Tickets are available by calling Faye Roch, director, Pro-Life Office at (859) 392-1500. The other two honorees are New Hope Pregnancy Center and Rose Garden Home Mission, Covington.
“Every client that comes in receives the same information,” said Ms. Zembrodt.
Information provided to couples includes an explanation on fetal development and the development of their child based on the time of pregnancy.
“We do have to answer questions like ‘What type of abortion is available to me?’ With that we delve into our sourced medical information about what each abortion option does,” Ms. Zembrodt said.
It is important, she said, to use the sourced medical information to make sure moms understand the medical aspects of every option. CareNet also provides a free ultrasound to allow moms to determine where they are in their pregnancy.
“Education is our greatest tool, because once people are truly informed, 90 percent of people will not choose abortion,” Ms. Zembrodt said. “If we can do the things like pay for Google ads that offer a free service, such as an ultrasound to determine their gestational age, and they come in our doors where we are able to offer them service, they will choose life 90 percent of the time.”
Ms. Zembrodt said offering parenting education is her favorite part of her job.
“My favorite program is the Fatherhood Program because it is so cool to see a guy start to bond with his unborn baby,” Ms. Zembrodt said, explaining that fatherhood does start before the child is born.
CareNet’s vision is a culture where women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and an abundant life for their families.
The organization currently has three locations Cold Spring, Florence, and Williamstown.
“Two of the three are medical and Williamstown is going medical in January, so we are very blessed,” said Ms. Zembrodt.
CareNet’s staff has expanded from 12 to 17 in the last year. They offer an internal training program for their RN’s to gain the skills of limited obstetrical ultrasound. CareNet is funded entirely by donations and, Ms. Zembrodt said, “the community support demonstrates that they want us here.”
That support has allowed CareNet to be one of the most accessible organizations in Northern Kentucky, offering a 24-hour help line for those in need.
“If they call us one of our staff will answer that phone and take care of their need,” Ms. Zembrodt said.
CareNet does acknowledge that women do sometimes choose abortion and some have had a previous abortion. Ms. Zembrodt described this work as the business of compassion.
“We understand that there are women who have chosen abortion and we want to reconnect them to God, we want them to accept the forgiveness that he has to offer,” Ms. Zembrodt said.
CareNet offers 19 different programs to help couples with not only the pregnancy but also parenthood and their relationship with each other.
Ms. Zembrodt has been working at CareNet for 15 years and has been active 30 years in pro-life ministry.
“I don’t get tired of it because of the fact that I get to see people overcome and become great parents,” Ms. Zembrodt said.
New Hope Center: Loving, compassionate and understanding
New Hope Center began as a small a pregnancy care center in 1989 and has since grown to three locations providing life affirming resources in the Northern Kentucky community. Each location offers ultrasounds, parenting programs and mentors to men and women experiencing unexpected pregnancies or challenging circumstances during pregnancy.
Karen Glass, executive director, said that ultrasound machines are “their most important tool” for helping women see that they are carrying a baby.”
New Hope Center is staffed by 12 employees, five educators and about 35 volunteers. The compassionate staff are an important reason why 82 percent of New Hope clients chose life for their unborn baby.
“Many times moms come here abortion-minded and feel like abortion is there only option. After meeting with our mentors and seeing their baby up on the ultrasound screen they choose life,” Ms. Glass said. “We call the ultrasound rooms our miracle rooms because that is where moms choose life for their baby … Lives are saved in our ultrasound rooms, but lives are transformed in those mentoring rooms. That’s where we can share Christ, that’s where we can teach them (clients), equip them and empower them to become successful parents.”
In 2021, the New Hope Center staff served about 400 clients during more than 1,200 visits and provided over 4,600 services and providing clients with more than 25,000 diapers. New Hope Center maintains an environment of love and understanding to help young people, especially those who may have grown-up without parents or without supportive parents, develop positive parenting skills from a dedicated staff willing to share.
New Hope Center also offers a variety of programs to help clients after their child is born. One is a parenting class called “Earn While You Learn,” to help soon-to-be parents learn about fetal development and parenting tips, while earning items such as cribs, diapers and other necessities, as they go through the stages of pregnancy and early childhood. They also offer a Fatherhood Program for dads.
“Everything we do is free to our clients,” Ms. Glass said. And the pregnancy care center is funded 100 percent by donations.
New Hope Center has created an after-school peer ambassador program for students and has also developed an abstinence program, which is presented at schools — specifically middle schools — to educate students in healthy sexual development and how to say “no” if they are being pressured into having sex or engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior.
“It’s exciting to watch them grow during these classes and have the courage to say no,” Ms. Glass said. “We have a great group of educators, and we are always looking for more.”
For women struggling with negative emotions around a previous abortion New Hope Center offers a confidential “After Abortion Mentoring Program.”
“Myself and this amazing staff are here to help make clients feel welcomed in a loving, non-judgmental way. From the moment a client places that phone call they need to feel that. As soon as clients walk in our door, they need to feel loved, cared for, and safe. Our staff and mentors are loving, non-judgmental, and it shows in a powerful way. Our center is a welcoming, peaceful, calm and safe place which is something I believe people pick up on immediately. When you have a compassionate staff, it makes all the difference in the world,” Ms. Glass said.
When asked about her favorite part of the job, Ms. Glass could not pick one saying, “Oh my goodness, it is all of it together.”
New Hope is looking forward to what the future holds.
“God is moving in some powerful ways here at New Hope and we are excited to see where he takes us in 2022,” Ms. Glass said.
New Hope Center’s 2022 goals are to expand their ultrasound program by increasing hourly availability. Expanding the fatherhood program and adoption outreach. Marketing will play an important role in these goals. Marketing outreach is a crucial part of New Hope’s ability to share their work and mission with those who need it. Google business ads, billboard campaigns, and social media pages are all ways New Hope Center spreads the word and awareness of their mission, work and willingness to serve those in need.
“If we can reach women and be the first place they turn to, we can make that difference in the choice of abortion or life for their child,” Ms. Glass said.
Rose Garden Home Mission — creating a culture excited for life
The Franciscan Daughters of Mary opened their first mission in 2005, before moving to a larger facility in 2010. Their mission, the Rose Garden Home Mission, offers women pregnancy tests and counseling to help them choose not only life, but the best life for their baby and themselves.
“We take a vow to uphold the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception to natural death. We see the pregnancy center as a way of living that out,” said Mother Seraphina Marie Quinlan. “This counseling is to check in and see where they are at, talk to them about what true love is and the dangers of contraceptives and abortion.”
The Mission has a 4D ultrasound machine, that was donated by the Knights of Columbus. In addition to these resources the Franciscan Daughters wanted to offer needed materials for women during pregnancy.
“We wanted to provide everything these women could possibly need and so we started giving away these baby baskets,” said Mother Seraphina. “These baskets have just about everything mom needs from clothes, bottles, bibs, wipes and diapers to hygiene items, blankets, even a handful of items moms would need for themselves. We also have car seats, pack and plays, cribs, any specific need that they have. If we don’t have it, we will try to acquire it.”
Last year the center helped 1,487 children from 612 different families. Moms visited over 5,000 times last year and the Mission gave out 212 baby baskets, 6,318 packages of diapers and 194 car seats. At this year’s Christmas Giveaway, 862 children received toys. Even other agencies in town refer people to the Mission’s pregnancy center.
One mother-to-be, while in labor, stopped by the center to let the sisters know she was on her way to the hospital, Mother Serapina said. Before returning home, she stopped at the Mission again to make sure the sisters held her baby. Another woman came in with her two-year-old to meet Mother Seraphina because, she told Mother Seraphina, “he is only here because of you.” Mother Seraphina said she had shared her excitement about the woman’s pregnancy, and it made the mother realize that she wanted to have this child.
“In the 16 and a half years that the center has been open, I only know of two women who did not choose life,” Mother Seraphina said.
The center is run by 100 percent volunteers, no paid staff anywhere, and everything is donated.
“The community in this area just really loves babies and what we do, it is just a beautiful thing. One hundred percent of every donation goes completely to the work,” Mother Seraphina said.
The Franciscan Daughters desire to be a support for every mom in need and to help provide anything needed as the baby grows.
“It is great to see the need we are fulfilling in this area. I love these people, they are family to us, and it is all about serving Jesus through loving others,” Mother Seraphina said.
How to answer pro-choice arguments: Part 3 — Hard cases/in Yes for Life
By: Caitlin Shaughnessy Dwyer.
This is the conclusion of a three-part series about a simple strategy that can help make difficult conversations about abortion a little easier. The strategy is centered on asking one simple question: “If you were convinced that the unborn child is a human life, would you still support abortion?”
In Part 1, we explored how to converse about the science of fetal development. In Part 2, we outlined how to speak about the legal and philosophical concept of personhood. In this article, we address how to engage people who support their pro-choice position by citing certain “hard cases” like extreme poverty, rape or the endangerment of the mother’s life.
Many abortion proponents contend that a baby places too great a burden on mothers living in extreme poverty. A woman should not be “forced” to have a baby under these circumstances. The mother “needs” the abortion to survive.
One approach to this topic is what pro-life apologist Trent Horn calls TOAT: “trot out a toddler.” This technique demonstrates the illogic of the pro-choice argument by applying that illogic to a toddler, rather than to an unborn child.
In this case you could say, “I agree with you that many women find themselves pregnant in very difficult circumstances. In fact, many women are parenting in poverty. I think society has a duty to help these parents and children. But do you think that if the parents of a toddler do not have the financial resources to take care of their child they should be able to terminate that child’s life?”
The answer, of course, is no. You can then ask, “What is the difference between an unborn baby and a toddler?” The person will most likely point to an arbitrary distinction in size, development, location or degree of independence, and you can highlight the problems with those distinctions, as explained in Part 2.
Another method would be to cite the long-held principle from criminal law that necessity is not a defense to murder. Queen vs. Dudley and Stephens (1884), a classic case taught in law schools to illustrate this principle, concerns sailors lost at sea who cannibalized their cabin boy to stay alive. When rescued, they defended their misdeed as “necessary.” However, they were tried and convicted of murder. The key holding from the court was that one person’s subjective “need” can not negate another person’s objective, inherent and unchanging right to life.
Roe v Wade inexplicably departed from this principle by ignoring the personhood of the unborn (see Part 2). Politely invite your listener to consider whether the mother’s subjective needs are truly a valid reason to override the objective personhood rights of an innocent unborn child and validate ending her child’s life.
Another difficult objection concerns rape and incest. An essential starting point for discussion of this issue is sincere empathy for the wronged women involved and recognition of the horrific nature of the crimes committed against them.
After acknowledging this reality, you could explain that, in the immediate aftermath of rape, it is morally permissible in Catholic teaching to try to avoid pregnancy through the use of high dose progestin. A woman can (and should) go to a hospital after she is assaulted. As part of her exam, doctors can determine whether or not the woman has recently ovulated. If she has not ovulated (and therefore pregnancy is not yet possible), this hormone can be given to suppress ovulation in order to avoid pregnancy.
Nevertheless, there are some instances when rape or incest produces pregnancy. According to the Guttmacher Institute, about 1.5 percent of abortions each year is sought due to rape or incest. Notice that this is a very small percentage and it is highly questionable to legitimize all elective abortions in the name of the small number of abortions sought for these difficult reasons.
In addressing these instances, it may be helpful to first point out that nothing can undo the violence committed against these women. An abortion cannot erase the crime.
Second, you could ask: “If your father committed a violent crime, would it be permissible to punish you for his crime with the death penalty?” This would, of course, be completely unjust, which is the point: The question highlights the injustice of aborting the innocent child conceived in rape or incest.
The circumstances of a child’s conception do not alter the fact that he or she is a human being. As Trent Horn puts it, “Rape is a horrifying evil, but should our answer to the evil of rape be to commit further evil against an innocent person?”
Finally, let’s address cases in which abortion is sought to safeguard the life of the mother. First, you can note that cases in which a mother’s life is truly at risk are extremely rare.
Second, you can point out that, even when the mother’s life is at risk, there are still two patients present, both of whom are entitled to the highest standard of medical care. The Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm” applies to both. The physician should render every effort to preserve the life of each patient, and should never intentionally end the child’s life to protect the mother’s life.
Third, you can acknowledge that in certain instances it is morally permissible to allow the termination of the unborn child’s life, but only if that result is an unintended effect of administering life-saving treatment to the mother — also known as the principle of Double Effect.
In sum, there are many ways to discuss “hard cases” with an abortion proponent — ways that express empathy without sacrificing reason, logic or moral principle. While it is useful to have an answer to these tough questions ready at hand, it is important not to allow them to distract us from the fundamental question in the abortion debate, namely, “Who are the unborn?” Always direct the conversation back to that question, because the correct answer — living human beings with the inviolable rights of personhood — is the linchpin to the entire topic and the key to a persuasive defense of the right to life
Caitlin Shaughnessy Dwyer is an instructor of Theology at Thomas More University. She and her family are members of St. Pius X Parish, Edgewood.
The principle of Double Effect
The doctrine of “double effect” is rooted in the fundamental moral principle that one can never intentionally choose evil in order to try to achieve good. However, a person can choose a good action that has a bad effect if three factors are met:
(1) the person does not directly will (i.e. “intend”) the bad effect;
(2) the bad effect is not the direct means to the good achieved;
(3) the good achieved is proportionate to the bad effect.
For example, if a pregnant woman is dying of uterine cancer, a doctor could remove her cancerous uterus even if the unintended side effect is the death of the child. The chosen act (removing the diseased organ) is good; the bad effect (the death of the child) does not directly lead to the good effect (mother’s life saved); and the good achieved (a life saved) is proportionate to the bad effect (a life lost).