Mother Teresa’s disdain for publicity has taken a back seat lately to her efforts to decry abortion.

In February, the Nobel laureate filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a potential landmark abortion case. She also delivered a major address at a Washington, D.C., prayer breakfast.

Mother Teresa’s brief was filed in connection with a possible review by the Supreme Court of a New Jersey man’s conviction for trespassing at an abortion facility. Alexander Loce had tried unsuccessfully to prevent his fiancée from having an abortion. He has appealed his conviction on the grounds that a fetus is a human being with civil rights, which a parent is obligated to protect.

At the National Prayer Breakfast, Mother Teresa, undaunted by the presence of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, proclaimed, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”

Mother Teresa’s predominantly Protestant, evangelical audience greeted her words with mixed response. She received thundering applause for calling abortion “the greatest destroyer of peace today” and labeling the act “a direct killing of the innocent child.”

But the audience grew silent when the 83-year-old nun, who works among Calcutta’s poor, spoke with equal urgency against contraception, saying it is “destroying the power of giving life,” and “abortion follows very easily.” Mother Teresa indicated using birth control should disqualify a couple from adopting. “I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child.”

Evangelicals generally regard contraceptive aids as morally acceptable tools through which to limit unwanted pregnancies. In the pro-life movement, contraception is rarely discussed because most leaders recognize it would split pro-life forces.

Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, opposes contraception, claiming that “biblically, a closed womb is always a sign of a curse.” The National Right to Life Committee is silent on the issue of contraception, as is the Cincinnati-based Life Issues Institute, headed by Roman Catholic Jack Willke.

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