Pro-life activist speaks out in latest book, 'Abandoned'
CHARLOTTE — Victims of abortion have a voice in the right-to-life battle thanks to the efforts of Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller, founder of Citizens for a Pro-life Society. Her commitment to documenting the killing that has taken place in the U.S. since abortion was legalized in 1973 has taken her to alleys, where she has recovered the broken bodies of unborn children carelessly tossed in dumpsters, to rallies where she has determinedly bemoaned the destruction of those lives.
Miller, an associate professor of theology and religious studies at Madonna University in Michigan, joined the war against abortion more than 36 years ago. She is responsible for capturing many of the images of the babies killed in abortion by photographing them after they were discovered in garbage bags and dumpsters outside abortion mills.
"I am one of the few people in the history of the human race that has taken pictures of abortion victims," Miller says.
Her latest work from Saint Benedict Press, "Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars," is a snapshot of her pro-life work from 1976 to 1994. In it she chronicles her work counseling pregnant women outside abortion facilities, where she often also organized pro-life groups and sit-ins. She relates stories of how she blocked abortionists' cars, was arrested and went to jail. And she tells how she pulled the bodies of thousands of unborn babies out of dumpsters and gave them proper burials.
Miller was in Charlotte recently, filming two "Catholic Courses" for Saint Benedict Press. In an exclusive interview, she recounted her efforts in the pro-life movement over the past three decades:
CNH: What did you have to overcome within yourself to retrieve the bodies of the babies and photograph them to show the horror of abortion?
MILLER: By the time we made the first discovery in 1987, I was prepared. It was not as if I had never seen a photograph of a dismembered or mangled human being. I was already well shocked by then. It was really, truly shock. I had a frozen emotion. So I had already been baptized in that. But the biggest burden, in some ways, was that abortion victim photography is very difficult. So many of the victims are very small.
My husband and I are not photographers. We had to teach ourselves. It takes a very long time to take the photos, so even physically it is an endurance issue. The remains are often in a very potent solution and you are always breathing it in. It can burn your nostrils. The smell stays with you forever.
For years afterward, seeing the bodies, handling the bodies, photographing the bodies – the images get imprinted, you carry them around wherever you go. I've seen things that the human eye is not supposed to look at. You have a deep, tragic awareness of what we are dealing with when we are talking about abortion.
CNH: What do you hope people take away from seeing these images and reading your book?
MILLER: I hope they take away an awakening of their souls and that they are plunged into a whole new reality that they simply did not know was there, and that it awakens a sense of justice – that they would want to end this, that there is something really wrong that they didn't know was that wrong for these many years. I hope after they read my book they say they have to be a part of the solution, that they realize there is something seriously unjust about all this and we really have to stop it.
CNH: You have had to counsel people and work with people who should know better. How do you deal with this?
MILLER: Abortion is a blindness. Those who believe in abortion are blind. We take the bodies out of the trash, we see exactly what the abortionist sees – and especially if it is a D&E (dilation and evacuation) abortion, he has to see every body part that he takes out. How is it that I see a human hand, a human rib cage, a human foot, but when he sees it, he sees it literally as trash? How does one go from seeing life as sacred and at least something that we should respect, to treating the exact same human remains like trash? It's insanity, a blindness, a hardness of heart.
CNH: How can people come to know the truth?
MILLER: The first thing is, you have to get over your fear of having the discussion. It's not an easy thing. You have to water this with a lot of prayer. You're not going to die if you have a discussion on abortion. People are afraid to say something to a friend or family member because they are afraid they are not going to win the debate. You have to have some preparation before you can enter into a discussion. You have to be honest. You have to get them to recognize that the unborn child is a human being, because once you get them to that place – even if they continue to argue that the woman has the right to make this decision – they will leave the discussion a little less secure in their own justification.
For details about Miller's pro-life work, go to www.prolifesociety.com.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy