Don’t squander your attention

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 12, 2018

Comedians making jokes about getting your abortions now, before the Supreme Court abolishes Roe v. Wade. Emojis indicating a woman won’t have sex with a man who is anti-abortion. Headline declarations that “There’s A Special Place In Hell For Women Who Gut Abortion Rights.” Such has been the digital deluge after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court.

What is the future of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all three trimesters of pregnancy? This issue has polarized much of the country. It’s an opportunity to ask: Who are we and who do we want to be? A people who let the court determine things we should be talking about on a more intimate level, or a people known for stepping up to the plate when life gets hard?

Friends who just returned from the Holy Land mentioned a group that they encountered along their travels called Efrat. The name comes from Miriam, the sister of Moses. She was a brave prophet who was called Efrat, a name that has the same root as a word meaning “to populate the world.”

As the group’s website tells her story: “Pharaoh decreed that all male Jewish infants were to be drowned, and declared the death penalty to anyone evading his orders. Miriam personally intervened, endangering her own life to save Jewish children from certain death. In addition, she provided the children’s families with all their needs. As a result of her bravery, the Jews continued to multiply and the Jewish nation survived.”

The organization is dedicated to saving the lives of unborn Jewish children.

For Efrat, this is an existential movement, to ensure that Jews will have a home in the world, saving one baby at a time. But there’s a lesson for us all beyond only Jews or Israel.

The people who run Efrat put their resources toward making it possible for a woman to do what seems impossible, and sparing her from a life of agony about wondering what could have been if she had let her child live.

The people who do the work of listening to and walking with women in their hours of need are some of the saints and saint-makers among us. The woman who trusts enough to believe that she will be able to raise an unexpected child or who gives her child to a loving couple for adoption is one of the most generous among us. The family that opens its home to a foster child for an uncertain amount of time is one the most loving among us. They are the kind of people we should be giving more headlines and attention.

A privately funded project, Efrat’s Yad Chava Baby Fund is determined that a woman should not have to terminate a pregnancy for economic reasons. Its workers have put together kits, delivered to homes, that will get things started and help along the way. The website explains that you can save a baby with a $1,200 donation. “True, money cannot always save lives. But, when generosity and wisdom combine, vision and vigor unite, and then miracles occur. Lives are saved, children are loved, and families are healed and made whole.”

We need more of that.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute.