A Sign of the Times

Though Hillary Clinton continues to talk about the home for infants she founded with Mother Teresa, it has been closed for almost a decade—a revelation rich in symbolism.

Emily Belz of the evangelical publication WORLD magazine made a fascinating discovery after listening to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s keynote address to the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. In that February speech, Clinton once again—as she has done often for years—touted the “common ground” she found with the late Mother Teresa.

Specifically, Clinton, the fierce abortion advocate, and Mother Teresa, the relentless abortion adversary, put their differences aside and worked together in establishing the Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children in the Chevy Chase neighborhood, just outside of Washington, DC. The home opened in 1995.

Mrs. Clinton and her supporters have not been bashful in highlighting this success. I myself wrote about it at length in a 2007 book on the faith of Hillary Clinton, and also in an article for this publication in January 2008 (“‘When Do I Get My Center for Babies?’”). But what Mrs. Clinton and her followers have been less vocal about is a most pertinent piece of missing information: the home has been closed for almost 10 years now.

This was the scoop by Emily Belz in her WORLD piece. Belz heard Clinton’s words at the prayer breakfast and decided to do a simple follow-up, telephoning the home, only to find out that it was no longer operating.

This report on the closing of the home comes at a fitting moment. It is one more marker of the tragic shift in the political landscape created by the 2008 election and all the setbacks for the culture of life since then.

President Obama’s first strike against life occurred with Hillary Clinton’s full approval as head of the State Department: the reversal of the Mexico City Policy. Just days after his inauguration, and the day after the 2009 March for Life in Washington, President Obama signed an executive order officially reversing the Mexico City Policy begun by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and preserved by President George W. Bush. That policy had ensured that US taxpayer funding could not go to international groups that promote and perform abortions overseas, such as Planned Parenthood International.

The Clintons had supported a reversal of that policy in 1992, which was one of the matters that concerned Mother Teresa when she first encountered Hillary Clinton at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 1994. By that point, in an eerie harbinger of where we are today with health care reform, First Lady Clinton had been worrying Catholic leaders everywhere with her own efforts to revolutionize the American health care industry. This included, as Mrs. Clinton explained in an October 1993 televised forum discussing her national health care plan, a pledge that abortion services “would be widely available.” That goal prompted the Coates Amendment in the US House of Representatives, which sought to strip abortion funding from the plan. (Today, the Stupak Amendment has the same intention.)

With these matters on her mind, Mother Teresa came to Washington in February 1994. She gave not only the most forceful, eloquent, and courageous testimony against abortion in the history of the National Prayer Breakfast, but did so under direct scrutiny by Mrs. Clinton, who sat a few feet away from the dais in stony silence as Mother Teresa’s tremendous defense of unborn life sent the rest of the room to its feet in raucous applause.

Shortly after the talk, Mother Teresa told Mrs. Clinton that she wanted a few words with her. “Mother Teresa was unerringly direct,” Clinton later recalled. “She disagreed with my viewson a woman’s right to choose and told me so.”

Most unerring had been these words Mother Teresa directed to Hillary and the auditorium of 3,000 attendees that day: “Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Give me the child. I’m willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.” Mother Teresa continued, “I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption.”

And it was here that, to her credit, Mrs. Clinton indeed found some common ground with Mother Teresa. Mother told the first lady of her desire to build a home for adoption in Washington, DC. Would Mrs. Clinton help? Hillary Clinton did just that, working the phones from the White House, and rounding up community leaders in a genuinely commendable effort. The home opened in Chevy Chase the next year.

Now we learn, thanks to the digging of Emily Belz, that this home—heralded for years by Mrs. Clinton—has been shut down for nearly a decade. Consider the troubling symbolism: by reaching out to Hillary Clinton, in a joint eff ort to establish a center to adopt babies rather than to abort them, Mother Teresa hoped and prayed that she could help set Hillary upon a road toward a culture of life. In the interim, unfortunately, the center has been shut down—stopped—just as any progression by Mrs. Clinton toward that culture of life has stopped.

Instead, Hillary Clinton took the fork in the road that is the Obama administration, becoming its chief foreign diplomat, which has meant, among other things, lowing full steam ahead toward a culture of death, beginning in Mexico City. America’s “foreign aid” now includes billions of taxpayer dollars to lobby for abortion overseas in poor countries.

In a particularly grim irony, Secretary of State Clinton showed up in Mexico less than two months after Obama reversed the Mexico City Policy, paying a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where she prayed alongside the rector, Msgr. Diego Monroy. After that personal encounter with the patroness of the pro-life movement, Mrs. Clinton headed straight for Houston, Texas, where, on March 28, 2009, she spoke at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Awards Gala and received its highest honor: the annual Margaret Sanger Award.

This might have made Mother Teresa drop to her knees. Mrs. Clinton, however, was uplifted, telling Planned Parenthood that she stood “in awe” of Sanger. Mrs. Clinton heaped praise upon the racial eugenicist, ignoring Sanger’s now well-known record of trying to purge the gene pool of “human weeds” and “morons” (Sanger’s own words) and other “unfit” and “illbred” misfits who obstructed her vision of “race improvement.” In her remarks after accepting the award, Clinton said she admired Sanger “enormously,” for “her courage, her tenacity, her vision.”

Then in April, Clinton made a startling admission, confi rming what prolifers have always asserted: that when liberal Democrat administrations talk about “reproductive rights” and “family planning” at their various international forums, they are speaking euphemistically about an agenda that includes abortion. Clinton’s answer was prompted by Catholic Congressman Chris Smith, a pro-life Republican from New Jersey. “We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health,” Clinton informed Smith, speaking for both herself and the Obama administration at a hearing before the House of Representatives’ Committ ee on Foreign Aff airs. “And reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal, and rare.”

Smith, in turn, told LifeNews.com that Clinton’s testimony reveals that the Obama administration wants to expand abortion as an international right, and will do so at taxpayer expense. “It is evident that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama want to force the tragedy of abortion upon women around the world,” said Smith, “especially and including in countries where democratically elected leaders want to continue to protect their unborn children…this will mean more babies will die and more women will suffer the consequence of abortion as a result of US foreign policy overseas.”

As LifeNews.com noted, Clinton’s explicit linking of abortion to “family planning” is not only a total break from the previous administration, but a violation of the 1994 Cairo statement, negotiated by herself and Vice President Al Gore, where the Clinton team assured the world—and especially a very skeptical Vatican—that abortion was not part of their push for family planning.

Here again, the Obama administration has broken entirely new ground. And this global abortion push by Secretary of State Clinton has only gott en worse. In June, she thrilled at the appointment of her former chief-of-staff Melanne Verveer as head of the State Department’s Offi ce of Global Women’s Issues, where the devoutly proabortion Verveer can employ the offi ce to push a worldwide abortion agenda.

Thus, there seems a deep spiritual symbolism in the closing of the Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children that Hillary Clinton once helped establish: it’s a sign of the times and measure of where Mrs. Clinton’s commitment headed since she parted from the saintly nun from Calcutta.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Dr. Paul Kengor 54 Articles
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, and, most recently, The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism's Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration.