Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, 53, is the Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota. He grew up in Denver, Colorado, the youngest of three children in a devout Catholic family. His father was an aerospace engineer and his mother a school teacher….
Bishop Cozzens: When my mother was 20 weeks pregnant with me, her water broke. Her doctor wanted to induce labor and abort me, saying that tests showed I would be a severely deformed child—a “freak” was the word he used.
Thank goodness my parents were devout Catholics and asked for a new doctor. The second doctor told my mother that if she spent the next 20 weeks in bed there was a good chance I’d come out healthy, and that is what happened. I was born with severe allergies, which I still have, but otherwise I have no health defects.
My parents’ insurance didn’t cover the cost of the treatment, but a funny thing happened. My mother’s second doctor made a bet with the first doctor that I would come out healthy. The loser would cover the cost of the medical treatment. So, as it turned out, the first doctor ended up paying the costs related to my birth….
Catholic World Report: You were active in the pro-life movement. Was that motivated by the realization that if you had had other parents, you might have been aborted?
Bishop Cozzens: That’s certainly part of it. My parents would talk to me about their pro-life convictions by reminding me, “The doctor told us to abort you!” They’d also say that God spared my life because He had plans for it, so I grew up with a strong sense of vocation.
It was while I was attending Benedictine College that I had a good friend who was a freshman who had been involved in Operation Rescue and had convinced me to participate. I was arrested seven times, and when you get arrested that much, you end up in jail. Twice I did a week in jail. In fact, my senior year of college, I had to finish my finals early so I could do my time in jail.
CWR: If you could go back in time, would you do it again?
Bishop Cozzens: Absolutely. However, there are now prudential questions involved. During the Clinton Administration the law changed to make trespassing at an abortion clinic a federal crime with a minimum of six months in jail. So, prudentially, there are other ways we can save lives without getting arrested. In those days it made sense as the penalties were not as high.
CWR: The U.S. Supreme Court will soon announce its decision in the Dobbs vs. Jackson case, which could mean the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision. Are you following this case?
Bishop Cozzens: Very much so. We need to pray and make sacrifices so that the high court will do the right thing….
The above comes from an April 17 story in Catholic World Report.