March for Life 2020 (and a little about the names of Jane Roe)

Today’s the March for Life in Washington, D.C.! My oldest boy is there with a group from school, and I know many of you and/or your children are there as well. Thank you for fighting the good fight!

Because this is a Catholic name blog, I’ve written about abortion from a name perspective a few times*; today I thought I’d take a brief look at the names — real and pseudonymous — of the woman named in that 1973 Supreme Court decision**.

Jane Roe was a pseudonym for the plaintiff in the case, used to keep her identity anonymous. This article explained that John Doe and Jane Doe are used when a person’s identity is unknown, while Roe and Poe are used for those whose identity is known but who wish to remain anonymous. The woman known as Jane Roe continued to be known as Jane Roe for the rest of her life, though she revealed her real name after the case was decided: Norma McCorvey.

I spent a few minutes this morning reading articles about her with, at first, a sort of detached onomastic perspective — I was interested in finding anything that discussed her names. As has happened every time I’ve ever looked her up, though, I was moved by how much she experienced and endured from her earliest days. Even though there are questions about what was truth and what was fiction, not knowing what and especially who could be trusted seems a constant characteristic in her life. As does a definite vulnerability; I found this namey quote particularly sad and telling: “Norma McCorvey had little more to her name than a pseudonym. But it was the most famous pseudonym in American legal history: Jane Roe.” And when she became pro-life, she said before a Senate subcommittee in 1998, “I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.”

What a lady, and what a life, for better and for worse. May she, and all deceased victims of abortion, rest in peace.

* Things I’ve written about abortion from a name perspective:
I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names
Planned Parenthood vs. the Holy Name of Jesus (CatholicMom) (and my blog post sharing it, which includes further thoughts)
March for Life: Comfort and confidence in the Holy Name of Jesus
The name of Mother Teresa (includes a link to her amazing address at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast)
Book reviews, radio appearance, naming aborted babies

** Roe v. Wade (1973) “determined that a woman’s right to decide whether to have an abortion involved the question of whether the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The justices answered this question by asserting that the 14th Amendment, which prohibits states from “depriv[ing] any person of … liberty … without due process of law,” protected a fundamental right to privacy. Further, after considerable discussion of the law’s historical lack of recognition of rights of a fetus, the justices concluded “the word ‘person,’ as used in the 14th Amendment, does not include the unborn.” The right of a woman to choose to have an abortion fell within this fundamental right to privacy, and was protected by the Constitution.”


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

March for Life: Comfort and confidence in the Holy Name of Jesus

I really wanted to write about the March for Life today, I feel like my heart’s right in D.C. with the marchers who are braving the cold and snow and ridicule and hatred and silent media all for the babies. And I thought — what better way than by writing about the Holy Name of Jesus? I found such comfort in the Holy Name during the height of the Planned Parenthood Videos expose, even writing about it in my August CatholicMom.com column: Planned Parenthood vs. the Holy Name of Jesus. I also looked into devotion to the Holy Name a little more, and was delighted to discover that the saint my alma mater was named after, St. Bernardine of Siena, was THE promoter of the Holy Name! And then yesterday my mom and I were talking about Jesus’ different names and what they mean, specifically Christ, Emmanuel, Jesus, and Messiah. So I thought I’d do just a small bit of info about each:

Christ
From Behind the Name: “Means ‘anointed’, derived from Greek χριω (chrio) ‘to anoint’. This was a name applied to Jesus by early Greek-speaking Christians. It is a translation of the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach), commonly spelled in English messiah, which also means ‘anointed’.”

There are a lot of names connected to Christ that are familiar, like Christian, Christopher, Christine/a, and some that are unfamiliar, like (according to the DMNES): Christophera, Christred, Christwin, and Christwina! I think my favorite version is Christiana.

Emmanuel
From Behind the Name: “From the Hebrew name עִמָּנוּאֵל (‘Immanu’el) meaning ‘God is with us’. This was the foretold name of the Messiah in the Old Testament. It has been used in England since the 16th century in the spellings Emmanuel and Immanuel, though it has not been widespread. The name has been more common in continental Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal (in the spellings Manuel and Manoel).”

I know you’ll laugh, but ever since seeing Manny the Mammoth in Ice Age, I’ve though Manny was a pretty great nickname for a boy, and I love the meaning of Emmanuel. It would be great for a Christmas baby! I love the feminine variants Emmanuelle and Emmanuela as well — lots of good nickname options! Emma, Ella, Nell(a), and even Manny (my husband’s godmother’s name was one of the Emmanuel variants [I’m just not sure which] and she went by Manny).

Jesus
From Behind the Name: “English form of Ιησους (Iesous), which was the Greek form of the Aramaic name יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu’a). Yeshu’a is itself a contracted form of Yehoshu’a (see JOSHUA). Yeshua ben Yoseph, better known as Jesus Christ, was the central figure of the New Testament and the source of the Christian religion. The four Gospels state that he was the son of God and the Virgin Mary who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. He preached for three years before being crucified in Jerusalem.”

“Yeshua ben Yoseph” always jumps out at me — it’s equal parts so cool and also so common. Does that make sense? I always think of Him as Jesus, which equals God in my mind; seeing Yeshua ben Yoseph makes Him seem so “normal.” Which of course he was, both, God and Man, fully. What an awesome mystery.

This is the Joshua bit: “From the Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (Yehoshu’a) meaning “YAHWEH is salvation”. Joshua was one of the twelve spies sent into Canaan by Moses, as told in the Old Testament. After Moses died Joshua succeeded him as leader of the Israelites. As an English name, Joshua has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. The name Jesus comes from a Greek translation of the Aramaic short form יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu’a), which was the real name of Jesus.”

Messiah
See Christ above. The entry at Nameberry references that Tennessee judge who ruled that parents couldn’t name their son Messiah “because there’s only one” — it was overturned, and in fact the name Messiah was #298 in 2014!

I was delighted to discover recently that the month of January also happens to be devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus! I’m sure it’s no coincidence — even if the organizers of the March for Life didn’t realize that in the beginning, we all know Heaven did.


So I have a small giveaway today! I have three copies of Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.’s book The Wonders of the Holy Name, and how I’d like to do it is offer them first to any of you readers that might be at the March for Life today. I know you’re probably not reading this if you are! So I won’t choose the recipients until Sunday evening, in hopes that gives enough time to get home, thaw out (!), and catch up on your blog reading. 🙂 Second, if none of our readers are marchers, I’d like to give them to any of you who personally know a marcher, who can pass it on to that person. Finally, if there are no marchers and no friends of marchers, I’ll pick randomly from those who comment on this post. It’s a powerful little book! And I love the dedication: “This booklet is lovingly dedicated to the Sweet Mother of Jesus. No one loves the name of Jesus as she does.”

Therefore God highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth …” (Philippians 2:9-10).

From the footnote in my bible (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, Second Edition RSV): “heaven … earth … under the earth: The three principal realms in the worldview of ancient Israel (Ex 20:4). Homage will come from all creatures great and small — the angels and saints above, the family of man and beasts spread over the earth, and the dead and the demons of the underworld.”

(You might also be interested in reading my post from the summer: I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names, which doesn’t mention the Name of Jesus but totally should. It does reference Call Him Emmett and the 50 Million Names project.)

My newest CatholicMom.com column

You all know I’m struggling with these Planned Parenthood videos so you shouldn’t be surprised that my August column at CatholicMom.com (up today) tackles the issue again (my previous post here on the blog, I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names, was the most shared of all the posts I’ve ever written, by a landslide, so I know you’re all feeling it too): Planned Parenthood vs. the Holy Name of Jesus.

catholicmom-08.19.15

(I blogged about the Holy Name the other day too, especially in regards to Its major promoter, St. Bernardine of Siena.)

Of course I had no way of knowing when I wrote it that the seventh video would be released today, but I’m glad my article’s coinciding with the release of this new information of horror: babies alive after an attempted abortion, with still beating hearts, having body parts harvested, including “how the abortionist made [the “former procurement technician with Planned Parenthood partner StemExpress” who revealed this info] harvest the baby’s brain by cutting his face open with scissors.”

This is a bit from a historical novel I just read (Winter of the World by Ken Follett, about the Second World War, including the Nazis):

image

This particular bit is about how the Nazis rounded up disabled children — and adults too, though it doesn’t reference them in this particular passage — but most of the German citizens either didn’t know it or didn’t believe it.

Then there’s this, from the same book:

imageIt explains more about that very program:

The program was called Aktion T4 after its address, 4 Tiergarten Strasse. The agency was officially the Charitable Foundation for Cure and Institutionalized Care … Its job was to arrange the painless deaths of handicapped people who could not survive without costly care. It had done splendid work in the last couple of years, disposing of tens of thousands of useless people … The problem was that German public opinion was not yet sophisticated enough to understand the need for such deaths, so the program had to be kept quiet.”

Of course parallels have been drawn for a long time between the Holocaust and abortion, but still I was struck by the similarity between what I was reading and what Planned Parenthood (and all abortionists) is and has been doing. In fact, our government does sanction the killing of handicapped children. Healthy children too! The particular horrors have been kept quiet for some time, and there are those (one example here) that seem to think the same as what’s being said in this passage — that the graphic revelation of horror shouldn’t change hearts because we need to be “sophisticated” enough to understand the need for this “necessary” evil.

Just like the Nazis.

God help us all, in Jesus’ name.

I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names

I’d been composing this post in my head all morning, and when I sat down just now to write it, I logged into Twitter to access the link to an article I wanted to reference here, and saw that the fifth Planned Parenthood video has just been released (warning: graphic). I briefly skimmed the beginning of the article, stopping before I got to any graphic visuals, and yes, it’s truly awful, and I’m glad to join in the outrage in the way that a name blog can.

This was the article I logged into Twitter to get, which I’d retweeted the other day: The Difference a Name Makes by Molly Oshatz at First Things. An excerpt:

It’s amazing the difference a name makes. On one day this past week, nearly a hundred endangered elephants were killed and around 3,000 abortions were performed in the United States alone, and we were unfazed—but the killing of Cecil the lion broke our hearts. He wasn’t just any random lion. He was Cecil. Mere lions (along with chickens, cows, lambs, and pigs) are killed, but Cecil was murdered. We love the lion that was named Cecil. We feel as though we knew him.”

I hadn’t given one thought to the idea that Cecil had made such huge headlines because he had a name (and all that a name implies) before reading this, but it makes sense. Knowing one’s name is what makes a person — or in this case, a lion — emerge from the nameless hoards as an individual. It’s like a sea of body-shaped gray-scale shades until names become known, and then faces emerge, detailed and clear and in color. It’s an individual marker for an individual, an entity separate from the crowd.

“The abortion industry knows very well the difference a name can make … “

This was certainly the reasoning behind this article posted at StudentsforLife.org, which I’d also referenced on my Instagram last week: Call Him Emmett. An excerpt:

The little boy in the most recent undercover Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress has been referred to as “Eleven Six”, meaning that he was aborted at 11 weeks 6 days gestation. His tiny body parts are easily identifiable in the horrific videos as they are sorted in order to be sold.

This baby deserves a name, deserves dignity that is rightly afforded him as a member of the human race … 

His name should be Emmett, after the boy of the same name who became the catalyst for the 1950s and 60s Civil Rights Movement.

Emmett Till was a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago who dared to speak to a white woman when he was visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was subsequently beaten with one eye gouged out, and then shot through the head before being tethered to a heavy gin and thrown in the river. His body was recovered three days later and returned to his mother in Chicago … 

Rosa Parks even said she was inspired by the boy: “I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn’t go back.”

This baby boy in the Center for Medical Progress is the Emmett Till of the pro-life movement.”

I thought Emmett seemed most appropriate for this baby. It made me think of the web site 50 Million Names, a “grassroots campaign to collect names for the now-more-than 50,000,000 children aborted in our country.” As it says,

We ask Namers to register and then add names in a way that shows reverence for the lives of the aborted babies. Each name registration is accompanied by some concrete gesture made by the Namer in honor of this particular child.

Our hope is that these names will someday be read into state congressional records one by one, once each state’s million names are given. When all the names have been collected, perhaps the entire list could be read into the national congressional record.”

Because names are that important. How different it is to say, “These are the aborted babies: Daniel, Jayden, Marisa, Benjamin, Keisha, Trey, Moses, Ava, Chloe …” than to say, “Fifty million babies have been aborted.” (It’s actually closer to 60 million. God help us.) Even I, a lifelong ardently pro-life pro-lifer, get lulled into an almost settled unhappiness when faced with the abortion statistics (all numbers, of course) instead of the devastation and horror I should always have when presented with this information. But now, when I think of Emmett? I’m going to think of that one individual baby, and the gruesome specifics of his death, and the injustice and evil of it all.

Names have power. But more than that, being named=being loved and known and wanted, and that sense doesn’t come from nowhere. God tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5) and, as we’re reminded at the end of the First Things article,

“… everyone is loved and named, even those whose parents don’t want them and can’t bear to love them, and whose lives the rest of us don’t deem worth living. Even before each and every one of us emerges from the womb and gains official “baby” status, we are already known, named, and loved; as in Isaiah 43:1, God says to us, “I have called you by name, and you are mine””