Don't step on the crack, you'll break your mother's back

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How to convince someone to be pro-choice. Or better yet, how to convince someone to be pro-abortion:

Get them addicted to crack.

Consequently, crack numbs their value of life over death by making fuzzy that line between reality and their next high. This allows them to see murder in a justified light, if the chips fall in your favor.

No, not all abortion advocates rode the train to Pro-Choice Town by smoking a rock. But their mindsets are similar and they both reached the not-so-equilibrium of murder on their terms. This is the crux of the pro-choice argument. If someone feels it’s okay to murder their baby, then it should be okay.

I watched “The Fighter” the other day and was blown away by the performances. Producer Mark Wahlberg is a daily Mass, Latin Mass Catholic who generously funds the Church and programs in his hometown. Though many of you know that, it’s a surprise to others considering the number of F-bombs dropped in each of his productions. He knows what he’s doing, you’ll see.

Christian Bale‘s performance, in particular, really drove home the character of a crack-addicted, family man who selfishly fools his mother into believing he’s still her little boy even after he spends two weeks in a crack house, high as a kite.

Click to watch the documentary, "High on Crack Street." Viewer discretion advised.

I was so fascinated by the idea of gangs of people who do nothing but work toward their next fix, either by stealing, prostitution, or get-rich-quick schemes, that I found the documentary portrayed in the Hollywood version of this true life story. The Wahlberg film showed an HBO film crew following around the older brother of Mark Wahlberg’s boxer character. It turns out this HBO flick was a special on the effect of crack cocaine on a small town and its inhabitants on a community and an individual level.

I couldn’t resist finding and watching the documentary that same night. It was like watching a turtle take the first few steps toward a busy highway. I could follow the patterns, see the monotonous progression, and witness the determination of these folks to spend their lives getting high, but I could also see where they were headed. These addicts couldn’t hear the oncoming cars over the call of the pipe.

Three of the most conversely pro-life moments I have ever witnessed in my life stood out (minute 10:25 through 13:55; and 34:22 through 36:31; and 37:11 through 39:25).

One woman, Brenda, who speaks as if she’s a sociologist explaining the habitat of the addicts seconds before taking a drag on her homemade crack pipe, turned to prostitution to pay for her habit. Her strange, sexual business partners opt for “safe sex,” but the man who loves her (and his crack pipe and dirty needles) doesn’t like condoms. She gets pregnant and states that it is time for an abortion.

How do you convince someone to be pro-life?

Let them watch a 20-year-addicted, toothless woman breakdown her confidence in her “right-to-choose” as a trigger for the memory of her first abortion. Her mother forced her to have an abortion as  a 15-year-old and Brenda sobbed about her intense emotional pain, dealing with the fact that she “murdered her baby.”

Later she explains the procedure she chose for the abortion before she was to have it, saying the doctor would inject saline and she’d go into labor. If the “baby” were to “come out alive,” they’d have to “resuscitate it.” They’d have to keep the baby alive, she explained to her family. They advised her to go through with the abortion and to “leave it up to God” (minute 37:11 through 39:25).

This woman understood very well what abortion meant to her unborn child. She often stated that she knew what life with a crack-addicted mother would look like for her unborn child. The latter justified the former.

She could call it a fetus, but it wouldn’t change her definition of murder. She was willing to make her choice knowing she was choosing legal murder.

Brenda disappeared before the end of the filming, but the police told her boyfriend that she cleaned up, had the baby, and did not want to be found. My heart broke for this child, conceived almost 20 years ago, throughout the documentary and when I heard that I prayed that he or she felt the Grace of his or her life everyday.

And this is why Barbara Nicolosi‘s chapter in ‘s book, Sex, Style, and Substance, hit me so deeply. We have spent so much time carving out our own little world of Christian-specific music, films, entertainment, and books that we have deemed the outside versions leprous. Keeping our distance with some media is, of course, essential.

However, lest we forget, this “secular” world evolved this way by entertaining, enlightening, compelling, and talking their way into a takeover of the media.

How can we expect to influence it if we hold the not-with-a-ten-foot-pole standard of interacting with “Hollywood?” Moreover, how can we expect to find more creative ways of witnessing if we don’t partake in the industry, or at least carefully watch a movie or TV show?

A crack-addicted “liberated” woman who was ready to choose death for her child taught me more about what it means to be pro-life than most other pro-life efforts have thus far. What else have we missed?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Elizabeth Hillgrove is a young cradle Catholic who grew up in a tight-knit, if not absurdly close family in the tiny Catholic world of Virginia. After a few divots and detours into apathy, embarrassment, and a vested political interest, Jesus Christ jump-started her faith life. Elizabeth has researched her way into a passion for bringing the simple, fulfilling Truth to youth and young adults, especially females. A recovering tomboy, Elizabeth will challenge you on the field, in the pool, on a trek up a mountain, or in the art studio. Game on. She is one of the three Bright Maidens and her website is Startling the Day.[/author_info] [/author]

Elizabeth Hillgrove

Elizabeth Hillgrove

Elizabeth Hillgrove is a young cradle Catholic who grew up in a tight-knit, if not absurdly close family in the tiny Catholic world of Virginia. After a few divots and detours into apathy, embarrassment, and a vested political interest, Jesus Christ jump-started her faith life. Elizabeth has researched her way into a passion for bringing the simple, fulfilling Truth to youth and young adults, especially females. A recovering tomboy, Elizabeth will challenge you on the field, in the pool, on a trek up a mountain, or in the art studio. Game on. She is one of the three Bright Maidens and her website is Startling the Day.

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10 thoughts on “Don't step on the crack, you'll break your mother's back”

  1. Avatar

    Love this. I was just thinking about this the other day. I watch Glee and in the show Sue is pregnant and she just found out an amnio showed abnormalities. They then should her talking to a girl with Down’s Syndrome and said something to the effect of “I’m going to have a beautiful little girl just like you.” I thought what a fantastic message and it’s stuck here in the middle of Glee which so many Christians refuse to watch.

  2. Avatar

    Excellent piece. I don’t have anything against “Christian” movies and books in principle, although many of them strike me as shallow and simplistic (ironically — as our entire faith is built on the murder of God, hardly a shallow or simplistic topic). What meets people’s needs varies with the people. But to refuse to explore real life is wrong.

  3. Avatar

    Elizabeth asks at the end what else the pro-life movement may have missed. I don’t remember it getting very much press at the time, but last November an amendment to the state constitution of Mississippi failed to pass that would have codified in law that life begins at conception. Especially troubling here is the fact pro-life movement has been so successful in this state, that only one operating abortion clinic in Jackson remains open, and that it has been this way since at least the middle of the last decade. Simply put, if there was any place in the country that such an amendment could have been expected to pass handily, it should have been here.

    My particular concern was that if the voters of what seems to be a very pro-life state will not definitively establish the legal status of the unborn, then what hope is there for the rest of the country, or for that matter the future of the pro-life movement itself? Then it occurred to me that Mississippi has the death penalty and I had to ask myself the question if it was possible that by presenting the issue as one of “murder” (emphasis on that word specifically) in a country where murderers are routinely put to death, are people being scared away from even considering the possibility that life begins at conception for fear of being labelled as murderers or accessories to such?


  5. Avatar

    Good stuff, Elizabeth! It’s interesting you brought up this particular movie. I live close to Lowell and am very familiar with the area. My family and I are even mutual friends with people who grew up with and work with the Ecklunds and Wards. Out here everyone knows the good parts and the bad parts of Lowell and can spot a crack house a mile away. This documentary was made before a lot of the gangs moved in and got bigger so there’s even more danger now for women like Brenda.

    This really convicted me though because too often we joke about Lowell, and a lot of people would never volunteer there. So a lot of the good work there is done by the Church, because they’re the only ones willing to go in. I thought about how many opportunities I’ve had to help people there and have chosen not to because “it’s Lowell.” Even the other day there was a big knifing incident and the news was interviewing neighbors about it. Everyone had the same nonchalant response: “It’s Lowell.” No one in my town would probably respond any different. How can I call myself pro-life if I pick and choose who deserves my help? How can I call myself Catholic if I become indifferent to the suffering of those who are most desperate?

  6. Avatar
    Julie Rodrigues

    This is very interesting and I didn’t know that about Mark Wahlberg. I totally agree, we have to be completely IN the world, even though we’re not of the world…

  7. Avatar

    Being from Massachusetts and living so close to Lowell, the movie really hit me. I knew about crack street growing up and I heard stories about it. I went to high school in Lowell and I was really close to it, but what you see as far as buildings and people on the outside isn’t the whole story of the people in. Watching the Fighter gives you a shove of pride you know watching Mark play Mickey ward, that interview at the credits with the real Mickey ward and his brother was shot in a place he still hangs out it. Plus the obvious Catholic references was just really great to see in a movie. But I can relate to Alicia because I hear the same thing. If you went to Lowell you wold told to make sure you leave you know. It’s like Lawerence, once an emerald city, now they’re rebuilding the rubble.

    If we went in head first to Lowell for Christ how great witnesses would we be.

  8. Avatar

    This is excellent. One of my best friends from college grew up in Lowell, and I remember watching “High on Crack Street” in a sociology 101 class and him leaning over and whispering to me, “See that guy, yeah, he went to school with my brother”, and “Oh yeah, we used to see so-and-so on the street all the time”. It was one of the saddest moments of my life, for him.

    Thanks for sharing, and I really like Mark Wahlberg.

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