One of the most beautiful, under-the-radar things I saw in the passing political frenzies of the summer thus far was one doctor’s response to the recent upheaval at Planned Parenthood.
“I am an OB/GYN like you, and I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss.”
Dr. Monique Ruberu reached out to Dr. Leana Wen after news hit that Wen was no longer the president of Planned Parenthood. The news came not long after Wen had an op-ed published in the Washington Post explaining that her recent miscarriage made her more committed to her Planned Parenthood work.
So, Dr. Ruberu reached out to her with compassion: “I have lost two little ones in the past and I believe that they are in heaven and we will meet again... until then they are praying for us as saints in heaven. I believe the same of your little one.”
She ended with: “When things look darkest, God can create something beautiful and new. I pray that one day we can serve women on the same side and provide them with what they need so they don’t have to choose abortion.”
This is the way Dr. Ruberu operates. “When a loving, peaceful, prayerful person is present,” she has said, “offering lifesaving resources, we have a shot at saving lives.” When a Pennsylvania elected official harassed a pro-life woman praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia recently, Ruberu was at a rally days later, praying for him.
Abby Johnson, the former Texas Planned Parenthood director who left the industry after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion and having a change of heart, implored people not to be snarky to or about Wen, writing to the pro-life community in a tweet: “our job is to reach out to Dr. Leana Wen in love. Snarky memes and words will not bring about conversion. Let us also remember that she is a woman grieving the loss of a miscarried child. Let us treat her with care, not callousness. Let’s be the people we say we are.”
It all echoes the spirit of one of the most unifying documents of recent decades. Pope John Paul II’s “Gospel of Life” calls upon us to be wholly committed to a civilization of love that will help people see the possibilities of life more than the problems of it.
“You are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love, of that gift of self and of that acceptance of others ... which ought also to be at the heart of every other interpersonal relationship.” He continued: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman’s womb,” leading to a greater appreciation of the sacredness of human life as a whole.
You can see some of that love in Wen’s writing about her miscarriage, in which she details the joy she and her family experienced at the prospect of bringing new life into the world.
Of course, Planned Parenthood insists it is about women’s health, but abortion rips at that which is most wondrous about a woman — motherhood, a reality that many women long for. The pro-life movement is its most authentic when it genuinely welcomes anyone to join in the cause of helping women embrace life. The more converts there are, the healthier this culture of ours will be. Dr. Wen, and anyone else, we have more in common than much of politics or Planned Parenthood would have you believe.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online and founding director of Catholic Voices USA. She can be contacted at email@example.com.