The scariest ‘movie’

Scary movies that make us squirm in our seats, feel queasy in our stomachs, or turn away from the screen have been Hollywood money makers for generations. Last weekend, fear took hold at the box office again with “Paranormal Activity 2” recording a spirited $41.5 million debut.

As Halloween approaches, horror films from the past come out of their dark storage areas and into the light of screens big and small. Some are artistic in the way the drama is written or directed. Most are gory messes with special effects such as ax slayings, impalings, or melting skin that are becoming more and more lifelike — or more accurately, deathlike.

No Hollywood movie, however, is more frightening than the screen image described by Abby Johnson at the “Festival of Life’ sponsored in Galesburg on Sunday evening by Knox County Right to Life.

Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, told of being asked to assist with an ultrasound guided abortion about a year ago. She had been with Planned Parenthood for eight years, and was named the organization’s “Employee of the Year” in 2008.

Still, Johnson had a “sick feeling in my stomach” — sound familiar? — as the procedure began and stirred memories of the ultrasound she’d recently had of her own healthy daughter. The audience in Galesburg sat still and silent as Johnson described how the abortionist’s probe, called a cannula, entered the image on screen. As the instrument touched the 13-week-old unborn baby, the tiny boy “jumped.” He then began to “flail arms and legs,” Johnson recalled. And like so many familiar chase scenes in horror movies, the baby “desperately tried to move away . . . but there was nowhere to go.”

The abortionist, in sick gallows humor, actually called for the suction machine to be turned on with the familiar screen command of “Beam me up, Scotty.”

Johnson spared her Galesburg audience, which included many grade-school aged youth, the graphic details. “In just a few seconds that screen was black,” she said. Within a week, Johnson left Planned Parenthood and now is a pro-life speaker and author.

There is a segment in our society that will pay to see the grossest fictional gore. But isn’t it strange that in this age of the five-minute YouTube video there is so little visual evidence of the horror taking place 4,000 times a day in our country — including at a clinic near you?

Johnson even gave what she described a title: “Choice.”

We’re all waiting and praying for the happy ending so desperately needed to this frightening tale. It will come because truth always wins, and Christ has already defeated sin and death. And, as Johnson’s story attests, a truthful video image can change hearts.

The Catholic Conference of Illinois knows that. That’s why the church in our state supports the Ultrasound Opportunity Act, which would mandate abortion facilities offer women seeking an abortion an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their unborn baby.

The Knights of Columbus know that. That’s why in early 2009, the organization launched its Ultrasound Initiative, approving funding for 65 3D and 4D ultrasound machines for pregnancy help centers around the country. So far, more than $8 million has been raised nationwide for the project that has proven to be a heart-changer for persons considering abortion and a life-saver for thousands of unborn children.

Let’s review. In one weekend, we spent $41.5 million on a horror movie. In 18 months, we’ve donated $8 million to support the Knights’ life-saving initiative.

The difference is scary. Support the Knights’ Ultrasound Initiative by visiting or calling your local council. Happy endings come when the lies of “Choice” are unmasked. — Thomas J. Dermody

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