“Why do you think we haven’t had a woman as president yet?” First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton asked her guest over their lunch at the White House.
The little woman sitting at table with Mrs. Clinton did not hesitate in her reply.
“Because she has probably been aborted,” said Mother Teresa.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
¤ ¤ ¤
This year, there is a particular poignancy in the annual gathering of half a million people in Washington, DC to peacefully protest the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling of Roe v Wade. This year, two women who have been prominent in the modern history of the abortion debate will feature prominently on a global stage. This year, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be canonized a saint of the Catholic Church. This year, too, Hillary Rodham Clinton will run to become the first woman elected president of the United States. The thousands who march on the mall in DC should keep these two women in mind as they take a stand for the defenseless babies legally murdered by the millions in their mothers’ wombs. The one is a champion as an abortion adversary, the other a challenge as an abortion advocate. In this year of her canonization, the words and works of Mother Teresa over this issue of issues should inspire and encourage those who march the earth as the Church Militant, serving as a charitable defense and demonstration against those seduced by moral relativism. Only direct kindness, like Mother Teresa’s, can penetrate such armor—as once it did, when the saint moved Hillary Clinton to open a center for adoption in Washington, DC.
On this January 22, it is good to remember an event that took place 22 years ago. In 1994 at the National Prayer Breakfast, the keynote speaker was Mother Teresa. Before President and First Lady Clinton, Mother Teresa spoke about the cultural corruption that arises out of crimes against the unborn.
I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts… Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
Abortion, she said, is a rejection of the teachings of Christ himself who taught that those who receive a little child, receive him. Mother Teresa concluded that every abortion, as a refusal to receive a little child, is a refusal to receive Jesus. After these words, she paused, receiving a standing ovation.
Mr. and Mrs. Clinton did not stand and did not applaud.
Mother Teresa went on courageously.
I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption—by care of the mother and adoption for her baby… Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children’s home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy.
The address concluded, Mrs. Clinton noted the pointed nature of the nun’s words. “Mother Teresa was unerringly direct,” the First Lady recounted. “She disagreed with my views on a woman’s right to choose and told me so.” Tell her so she did; but though she was direct in her disagreement, she also offered something that Mrs. Clinton could applaud. Although Hillary Clinton was, and remains, a supporter of legalized abortion, she agreed with Mother Teresa that adoption was a preferable alternative. Speaking to her afterwards, Mother Teresa told Mrs. Clinton of her desire to continue her mission to find homes and families for orphaned, abandoned, and unwanted children by founding an adoption center in Washington, DC. She invited the First Lady to assist her in this endeavor, and brought Mrs. Clinton to India with her to witness her work firsthand.
Mother Teresa’s motions were not wasted. When Hillary Clinton returned to Washington, she took up Mother Teresa’s request with a will. Keeping in contact with the saint who called her regularly to receive updates on her “center for babies,” Hillary Clinton did the necessary legwork and succeeded in opening The Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children in 1995 in an affluent section of Washington, DC. Mother Teresa joined her for the opening, and two years later passed into the arms of her Lord. But she left a bright mark on the career of Hillary Clinton, who saw something remarkable in the tiny nun, and chose to do her bidding to help save lives. Mother Teresa inspired Mrs. Clinton to do a truly good work in spite of her dedicated promotion of Planned Parenthood’s agenda for “safe and legal” abortions.
The center was quietly and unfortunately closed in 2002.
This Friday, pro-life Americans march to shake pro-abortion Americans out of a willful blindness. They march to proclaim that every pregnant mother bears a beautiful human child within her body that has the same inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that all Americans do. They march in memory of Blessed Mother Teresa. They march to continue her work in Washington, DC, in the United States, and in the world. They march to convert the hearts of those like Hillary Clinton. Mother Teresa would have Americans do no less. She herself showed us how to protest against abortion fearlessly. She herself marched peacefully but purposefully, to save the lives of children in any way she could. She shook the walls of the White House with her entreaties, and the Gates of Heaven with her prayers. The marchers in DC gather to rekindle the perfect and patient passion of Mother Teresa—a power that broke through, even to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mother Teresa’s example must not be forgotten. Mrs. Clinton and the Washington establishment can be moved again. Those who march strive to bring the tragedy of abortion to the foreground where it belongs, and ask for the humanity of politicians and leaders to see through their blinders. If Catholics do not intentionally carry out the beautiful witness of Mother Teresa towards its true fulfillment, no one will.
March for life. March for Mother Teresa. March for Hillary Clinton. March for truth, for justice, for children, and for Christ.
March, and remember, in the words of Mother Teresa:
From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak—the unborn child—must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!