Abortion Notes

Please bury babies ripped to parts,
Especially their tiny hearts.

They’re slain in hiding from our sight.
And even scheduled in the night.

We never hear the babies’ cries.
We cannot see them with our eyes.

We do not hear when hauled away
In backs of trucks. How much they weigh

Reporters will not find for us,
That’s too much bother and a fuss.

What will the schedule be tomorrow?
It’s babies dying, full of sorrow.



Phil Flott is a retired Catholic priest living in Omaha, Nebraska. Lately, he has been published in Raven’s Perch, Evening Street Press, Last Stanza Poetry, and others.

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27 Responses

  1. .Sally Cook

    I see this poem and thank God there are still still some in the Church who care.Thank you too for writing these lines..

  2. Noreen E Haas Lephardt

    A brutally truthful poem.

    No doubt it will resonate it a different way with the people who support Roe vs. Wade. Glad you are the voice of the unborn human being that our society has so casually dismissed.

  3. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Abortion is one of the prime contributors to the demise of the formerly great Western culture and society and is our national shame. As right on target as it is sad.

  4. Monika Cooper

    Father, thank you. This is haunting. I’m reminded of the end of The First Circle when political prisoners are transported in a truck marked MEAT. The dehumanization of the unborn is terrible but a poem like yours counters it, as would proper burial for the little ones.

    Did you know Fr. Matt Robinson, by any chance? He also wrote pro-life poetry and was a very wonderful and holy man.

  5. Maura Harrison

    It’s wonderful to see your work on the SCP website. So often, we avert our gaze in terms of the realities and ramifications of abortion. With this poem, you make us look directly at the horrors and sorrows, especially when we consider “especially their tiny hearts.”

  6. Joseph S. Salemi

    Abortion is hidden murder, in the sense that many people can pretend that it doesn’t exist because you don’t see it. But it leads to direct and open infanticide, as can be seen from California’s new law on that subject.

  7. Margaret Coats

    With the numbers of abortions in the last 50+ years, there is not a single one of us who is not directly touched by the brutality you describe, Father Flott. If no member of our immediate family has been aborted, we need not look far among friends, neighbors, colleagues, and associates. We live within traumatic social blindness and hardening, as Joseph Salemi and Roy Peterson have indicated. It’s good to break through it with a poem like this.

  8. V. Paige Parker

    Dear Father Phil, I am so pleased to see you sticking up for the unborn. Your poem is so meaningful. I’m also impressed with your rhyming tetrameter couplets. Good job!

  9. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    I am certain that the more details the world is given on the sheer horror of this ungodly act, the more children will be born. I applaud the shocking images in these potent and impacting couplets – poetry is a perfect medium to expose the news hidden from the public eye. Thank you!

  10. Joshua C. Frank

    Thank you for these couplets, Father. Abortion is the greatest abomination in all of human history (with the possible exception of the murder of Jesus and Adam bringing death into the world). You may have read my comments to the effect that the Abortion Holocaust greatly dwarfs the evil of the Nazi Holocaust in every way, and that liberals don’t have a moral leg to stand on as long as they think it’s okay. I’d comment more on your poem itself, but it’s a difficult subject.

    Have you seen this? https://classicalpoets.org/2022/12/09/elegy-for-miran-sutherland-by-joshua-c-frank/

    • Brian A. Yapko

      Josh, I simply cannot abide a comment which so dramatically trivializes the Holocaust and the systematic slaughter of 6,000, 000 living, breathing Jews who had relationships with husbands, wives, daughters, sons, rabbis — who were doctors and lawyers and poets and musicians. I have avoided commenting on your frequent comparisons to abortion and the Holocaust because I know in your heart you believe this to be a fair comparison. But it is NOT. I don’t know what history you have read or not read but if you actually knew anything about the sheer brutality of a regime that would conduct vivisection on live people, turn grandmothers into lampshades, and separate families from each other from sheer cruelty, sending screaming, weeping victim after victim into a shower of poison, you would stop making this insidious comparison. It is deeply offensive. That’s all I’m going to say. I’m done.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        No, it wasn’t ignorance of history, just a stubborn attachment to my own opinion. I’d heard other Catholics say the same thing (Peter Kreeft is one of them), as well as other pro-life believers, so I didn’t think there was a problem… but I’ve been thinking about your comment all morning. I’m sorry about having made a statement that was deeply offensive. Please accept my apology, and I won’t say that again.

      • Brian A. Yapko

        Thank you, Josh. I both appreciate and accept your apology. There is a great danger to comparing different horrific things. Each one really is sui generis.

    • Margaret Coats

      The root meaning of the word “holocaust” as a type of ritual sacrifice makes it in many ways a poor choice of term for either Nazi mass murders or abortion. But since the term “Holocaust” now commonly signifies persecution and mass destruction of Jewish life that took place in Europe under the Nazi regime, I like Brian consider it improper to apply the term to other phenomena including abortion. Such application of the term involves a comparison that is imprudent to make. Abortion has ended many more human lives in a much wider sphere over a much longer period. Thus to call abortion a holocaust cannot help but trivialize what is known as the Holocaust. This ought not to be done. As well, such usage ignores many reasons why the two things under consideration are not comparable–and these reasons deserve attention. Abortion deserves revulsion on its own demerits.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Point taken. Perhaps “genocide” would be better? How would you have said it in my place?

      • Mia

        I think my comment below was meant for here.
        I was trying to think of a new term, an answer to Joshua’s question.

    • Monika Cooper

      Joshua and Brian, I admire you both so much for this exchange. I learned a lot just by quietly following it. Thank you for your zeal and courage in the cause of truth and justice. You are men of honor.

      I also appreciate the contributions of Margaret, Joe Salemi, Mia, and Mike Bryant to the conversation. Once again, I’ve learned a lot.

      • Mike Bryant

        Monika, I believe that we here at SCP are helping to resurrect free speech. There is much talk about the wonders of diversity, however diversity of thought and speech is not to be tolerated. When ideas are shared by people of good will, amazing things happen.

  11. Mike Bryant

    I agree that the term “Holocaust” has taken on a very specific meaning since WWII. I also agree that it makes sense that the term is more properly used in this newest sense so that it does not become trivialized.
    Britannica has an interesting short article about the word here:


    I think that the results of the weaponization of the medical/pharma/counseling complex on the unborn AND everyone else (excluding billionaires and their toadies) deserves its own new descriptive/pejorative term. The word “democide” has been proposed. It is apt but, to my mind, not nearly disgusting enough.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      That’s the problem… There’s really nothing bad enough to say about it, because it’s unprecedented. If someone isn’t already horrified by it, how can it be explained to him?

      • Mia

        I just looked up a Greek word my late mother used for Infant;
        that’s the word vrephos,)
        As I was trying to see if it was there in English somewhere, I was so surprised to find a church website called exactly that but spelled Brefos. As you might know in Greek v is represented by the letter b.
        The website is about abortion.
        I do prefer my own spelling as it is closer to the original and also phos is the greek word for light.
        Vrephoscide- the killing of babies and the extinguishing of light..
        but Brefoscide could also work.
        I am sorry I do not know how to add a link to the website but I am sure you can find it if you google Brefos. I have not looked further into the website but they might have a word already that applies.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      The issue often comes down to quantification — there have been many mass killings in modern history, such as the Turkish attempted genocide of the Armenians in 1915, the Holodomor of Ukrainians by deliberate Soviet policy in 1932-33, the Japanese rape of Nanking in the 1930s, the countless murders of dissidents by Communists in both Soviet Russia and Maoist China. But the unjust murder of even a single human being cries out to heaven for vengeance, or to put it in other terms, it echoes throughout the entire universe. So I think it is unfortunate for anyone to measure the iniquity of these actions by the number of persons slain (i.e. saying “My Holocaust is bigger than yours”). They are all horrid and unspeakable atrocities, and the agonies involved in each one were shattering.

      But I agree with Mike: Let’s save the word “Holocaust” for the actions perpetrated by the Nazi regime, which involved not just Jews but Gypsies, Poles, Catholic clergy, prisoners of war, German dissidents, and anyone else the Nazis felt like murdering.

      In addition, I think it would be better for those of us who are outraged by the mass murder of abortion to avoid making quantitative comparisons with other mass murders. Any single victim of all the above-mentioned atrocities was just as precious in the sight of God as any other.

      My father witnessed an American atrocity in Sicily on July 14, 1943. He never forgot it, and it cast a shadow over his life and the lives of all of us in the family. The number of victims was no more than ten or twelve. That number did not matter. But the place and the date, eighty years later, are burned into my memory like encaustic paint.

      • Brian A. Yapko

        Thank you for this comment, Joe, which I believe is very fair — especially regarding the insidious nature of making quantitative comparisons of who has suffered the most from mass murders. It’s something of a rabbit-hole. As I mentioned above, every such tragedy is sui generis.

        I’ve never heard of the 1943 American atrocity in Sicily that you mention. Would you be able/willing to give some more information regarding what sounds like a horrific event?

  12. Joseph S. Salemi

    Brian, I can direct you to the following online location:


    This will bring you to Axis History Forum, a website dedicated to World War II, and in this case to the subheading “Allied war crimes of the Campaign of Sicily.” There you will find my published and signed account of February 9, 2005, about The Massacre at the Narbone-Garilli Soap Factory, 1943, as related to me by my father, Corporal Salvatore J. Salemi (Military Service Number 32622166), at that time an IPW attached to 2680 Headquarters Military Intelligence Service in Sicily. Ten to twelve unarmed and captured civilians were coldly shot dead by an American officer.

    The sole perpetrator of this atrocity was:

    Lieutenant-Colonel George Herbert McCaffrey
    Military Service Number O-147388
    Senior Civil Affairs Officer for Agrigento Province
    Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories (AMGOT)

    In addition to my father Salvatore J. Salemi, two other American witnesses of the atrocity were Lieutenant Augustine Zegarelli, and Lieutenant William Katz, who along with my father were attached to the 2680 Headquarters Military Intelligence Service. A detachment of American MPs along with their officer were also present.

    Eight of the approximately ten to twelve victims have been identified so far:

    Vincenzo Corbo (age 22)
    Antonio Diana (age 50)
    Salvatore Giarratana (age 48)
    Alfonso La Morella (age 43)
    Vincenzo Messina (age 40)
    Giuseppe Salerno (age 31)
    Giuseppe Sanfilippo (age 39)
    Vincenza Todaro (age 11)

    The incident took place July 14, 1943, around 6 PM, at the Narbone-Garilli soap factory and food warehouse, located on the Viale Carlo Alberto in Redentore parish, in the town of Canicatti, Sicily. I located independent confirmation of the event in our National Archives.

    Here are some facts about LTC George Herbert McCaffrey (1890-1954):

    Roxbury Latin School, 1908
    A.B. (magna cum laude) Harvard, 1912
    M.A. Harvard, 1913
    Ph.D. Harvard, 1937

    Home address in the United States:
    209 Lorraine Avenue
    Upper Montclair, New Jersey

    Business address in the United States:
    942 Woolworth Building
    New York City, New York

    In civilian life, LTC McCaffrey was a publicist and a city government advisor (he helped redraft the New York Building Code). During the war he became a political advisor to General Mark Clark, and later served as an AMGOT officer in mainland Italy and Austria, and in occupied Japan. He saw active service in three wars: World War I, World War II, and Korea.

    All personal facts about LTC McCaffrey have been obtained from public records.

  13. Brian A. Yapko

    Joe — after reading the account of the Narbone-Garilli Massacre in which you memorialized the testimony of your father, an eye witness, I am speechless with horror. It proves that it is possible to find evil on either side of any conflict and that the line between barbarism and civilization is a vanishingly thin one. How is it possible that Colonel McCaffrey was not court-martialed for what was clearly an extra-legal act of mass murder? Is there even a memorial to the victims?

    Thank you for sharing this sad information. It is the stuff of nightmares, but it needs to be remembered.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      The persons murdered were caught in the act of looting the warehouse, and that excuse is sometimes put forward as a defense of LTC McCaffrey’s actions. But the plain fact (as my father both saw and said) is that they were all under arrest by the American MPs. You don’t shoot unarmed and captured enemy soldiers, much less helpless civilians who are already in custody.

      This is why the members of the MP detachment — including the young lieutenant who was in command of them — refused to obey McCaffrey’s order. Nor would my father and the other two IPWs (Zegarelli and Katz). They all knew very well that an order to kill arrested civilians was illegal, as well as pointless.

      Refusing a direct order in a combat zone leaves a soldier subject to immediately being shot. McCaffrey could have killed my father, the other two IPWs, and the entire MP detachment. But that would have raised a lot of problems and questions that the LTC did not want to deal with. So in his rage he simply turned towards the crowd of civilians and fired point-blank, and randomly. He reloaded his magazine twice before he finished, while the terrified civilians tried to escape (they were in a closed area, which made this impossible).

      No charges were brought against LTC George Herbert McCaffrey because what occurred was right at the beginning of the Allied invasion, and there was a great deal of confusion and movement. There was also the fact of his rank, and his chestful of fruit salad from his World War I service. As the Senior Civil Affairs Officer in AMGOT, officially in charge of the captured town of Canicatti, he had both power and authority.

      There was absolutely no military necessity or excuse for this atrocity to happen. McCaffrey could simply have ordered the MP officer to fire a terrifying burst from a submachinegun into the air, and have ordered my father to give a very harsh order in Sicilian to the civilians to go home and stay there, or be shot. Instead, in his rage and frustration over being disobeyed by fellow soldiers, McCaffrey fired into that crowd.

      I learned quite a lot about McCaffrey during the years that I researched this matter. He was an angry and resentful man, for whom war was like catnip.


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