In college, a group of students and I would pray outside an abortion clinic early Saturday mornings. After several weeks of praying outside on my knees in the cold, I had an itch to do more, so I trained to be a sidewalk counselor to try and convince women, between the distance of the parking lot and the door of the clinic, to turn around.
My first morning as a counselor, a car parked in front of me, and a woman got out and began walking toward the clinic. The moment I got close enough to talk to her, a Pro-Choice Escort put herself between the two of us. I kept walking as closely as I could, trying to speak to the girl, but every sound I made was drowned out by the heckling of the escort trying to block my access to the girl.
Right outside the clinic door, the girl stopped and looked at me.
“Please. Come talk to me?,” I asked her.
“What do you want to tell me?” She answered. She looked kind. She looked like she could have been one of my friends.
Hearing my words escape without protest, a Pro-Choice Escort immediately stepped in front of me, so close that I could feel her breath. She carried a gun, and was a head taller than me. I was scared, and my words choked, as I tried to dodge the escort to get another view of the woman who was still looking at me.
“What do you want to tell me?” She asked again.
“Please don’t go in! Please come and talk to me!” And with that, the doors of the locked and barred clinic were opened, and the girl went inside.
I never went back to the abortion clinic.
Ten years later, with a family of my own, I don’t live anywhere near an abortion clinic. I’m busy with my house and kids, and while I’m pro-life, it is easy for me to think that because I’m off the front lines, that my stance on life issues labels me “Pro-Life In Name Only.”
Am I a PLINO?
It’s not a difficult conclusion to make, if you think that to be pro-life means only to lobby, protest, and counsel women.
But maybe you’re like me and have a young family, or are a busy college student trying to keep your grades up and prepare for a career. You might not know anyone who’s had an abortion, considered an abortion, or live near any abortion facilities. Are you a PLINO then, too?
You don’t have to be.
There is a quote by Mother Teresa that says, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
That I can do. That you can do.
You can be Pro-Life away from the front lines, too. I call it being Pro-Life in the trenches.
Being in trenches isn’t necessarily easier than on the frontlines. These might be women and families in your own community that you live next to, work with, or see at your child’s school. The intimacy can make it more challenging, and can blur the lines of what is appropriately Pro-Life.
In the trenches, the lines of what is Pro-Life and what is not, is not about what you do, but equally what you don’t do.
It is not Pro-Life to ask if a pregnancy is planned, if a woman can afford a baby (or another baby), or to press her to tell you what she’s going to “do” about it.
It is not Pro-Life to ask if this baby is going to be the last, or how many more a woman is planning on having.
It is not Pro-Life to comment on a woman’s weight during pregnancy, the size of her growing belly, or to act surprised that a woman’s due date seems further away than you expected.
It is not Pro-Life to brush off a pregnant woman’s complaints because you think that you, or someone else, had it worse.
It is not Pro-Life to stop congratulating a woman after she’s had more children than you find worthy of congratulation. Every new life deserves excitement.
On the flip side:
It is Pro-Life to smile at a pregnant woman to show your support and understanding.
It is Pro-Life to congratulate a pregnant woman on a pregnancy and birth no matter what.
It is Pro-Life to compliment a pregnant woman on how great she looks, to take joy in her growing form. She needs this.
It is Pro-Life to donate your unused diapers, bedding, clothing, and baby equipment, either to a pregnancy resource center available in most communities, or to anyone who might benefit from your unwanted things.
It is Pro-Life to watch a pregnant or new mother’s other children to give her time for rest and recovery.
It is Pro-Life to vacuum a pregnant or new mother’s floors and do the dishes, change the bedding, carpool her other children to activities, weed her garden, and drop off groceries.
Anything and everything will be appreciated. You can be Pro-Life in your community by showing support, love, and encouragement to pregnant women and new mothers in all things. Always.
And when we do this, when we show woman the kindness and respect their bodies, babies, and children deserve, little by little a culture of life can be transformed from the inside out.
We can do small things. We can support and love woman when they need it most. Let’s all do what we can in the trenches, and when it’s no longer necessary, retreat from the frontlines and remember the war that was fought on the battleground of the heart.
If you will, think for a moment about all the controversy and disagreement on the issue of abortion as if it were playing out on a huge chess board. Imagine the opposing sides facing off in a battle to win the decisions of women about what to do in instances of pregnancy; pro-choice and abortion on one side, pro-life and birth on the other. Each move of the pieces shows the pro-choicers trying to turn women towards freedom from pregnancy and fertility in preference for everything else, and on the other side the pro-lifers trying to sway women towards acceptance of life and their bodies natural functions before everything else. The desired outcomes for women are opposites, yet each side is assigned pieces or players that are similar.
In the pro-choice and pro-life movements there are many players on each side. Just like in chess some players are more powerful or useful in their ability to actualize the end goal of their team. The goal of chess is to capture the King. In real life, the goal is to capture women’s attention and popular opinion. The pieces may change in value as the game progresses and based upon the circumstances of the board positioning, but all of the chessmen are important and play some vital role in the success of their team.
Now of course no analogy is perfect, so bear with me a little bit and follow this through to see if you agree with my final premise.
In our real world “game” we first have the pawns, or the donors and volunteers to each side of the abortion debate. Pawns are like the regular people all around us who might write a check to an organization, yet still go about daily life just like everyone else. There are more pawns than any other piece in chess (eight) and often they are the first to exit the game as they make the first moves. The donors and volunteers are the easiest to fall out of these movements and much like the chess pieces, their range of motion/effect is rather small compared to the other pieces. However, just as donor money and volunteer time establishes the centers on both sides of the abortion issue pawns can change the entire direction of a game by staying in it long enough to score the win. A pawn that is able to reach the opposing side of the board can be promoted into any other piece, resulting in more powerful pieces for one team. A dedicated volunteer or a generous donor can have far-reaching effects.
Then there are the two knights, or in our larger “game” the clinic escorts and the sidewalk counselors. Both are facing off heroically in a battle for the women at the precipice of their decision. Both in chess and in our real life “game” they are restricted in their movement to awkward patterns (governed by right-of-way and Clinic Entrance laws in most real life instances) and can only strike when the exact right opportunity arises. Their armor consists of clinic escort vests for the pro-choice team and homemade signs and pamphlets for the pro-lifers.
The bishops are pieces that are easy to see the real-world counterpart for; obviously our clergy. There are two bishops for each team on the chess board. Each side of the abortion issue has clergy lining up to back their position. Pro-choicers have the Episcopals, the Unitarian Universalists and some more liberal Christian churches, while pro-lifers generally have the Catholics, Muslims, and Jewish faiths. The chessmen bishops can move any number of vacant squares in a diagonal direction, which means they never leave their assigned color. Much like how we see the real-world bishops preaching within the square walls of their own churches, not often infiltrating into the public discourse outside their own color. They can move far which makes them very powerful, but can only make a strike if someone wanders into their space.
Next come the two rooks, or the abortion clinic workers and pregnancy resource and care centers workers. Rooks are a valuable piece as they are able to move any number of vacant squares forward, backward, left or right. Our clinic and center workers are valuable in this way too as they also can reach far across the board with their messages through utilizing media, fundraising campaigns, and direct contact with women. Rooks are more valuable because of their ability to be more places on the board. They live regular lives and interact in churches, schools, with friends and family. Their experiences with a wide range of people make them a powerful tool. An interesting note on the rooks is that when they are protecting each other and working together they are particularly powerful pieces.
The Queen is widely regarded as the most powerful of all the chess pieces on the board. There is only one Queen on each team. Her range of motion is unmatched by another piece as she can move any number of vacant squares in any direction forwards, backwards, left, right, or diagonally. She is the greatest barrier to the opposition achieving their goal. She is the greatest threat to both teams winning the hearts and minds of women. She protects her own King piece as she also goes out and risks herself in pursuit of the opposition’s King piece.
Remember, the King is the end object for both teams. Capturing the King means access to abortions for the pro-choice team and for the pro-life side support for birth. In chess Kings can only move one square at a time. So while they can help a little bit by avoiding a possible attack they are pretty vulnerable to attacks by multiple pieces working together and are relentlessly pursued by all. Just like real women facing the abortion question.
So who are the “Queens” or the most powerful players in our movements?
For the pro-choice team the Queen piece is clearly the abortionist, the only person capable of executing the hard fought for right to terminate a pregnancy. They move from clinic to clinic as circuit riders and are all over the board speaking with the authority that their medical degree and experience affords them.
For the pro-life side this question has not been asked, or perhaps just not answered nearly enough. Many people in the pro-life movement would have a difficult time articulating who in their own movement has the greatest ability to bring about the immediate end goal of beautiful, loving births.
Many might say the players who have switched teams mid-game are the most valuable as they can attest to the horrors of their former team, share opposing strategy, and buoy the spirits of their new team onward. While this is a very valuable gain that could possibly result in a win if enough of the opposition transferred to the opponent’s side, these pieces are still only the pieces they always were on their original team. A former abortion clinic worker may become an outspoken advocate for life, but will remain a rook on their new team too. They are valuable indeed, but no, they are not the people capable of bringing about the goal we aim for. But who is? Who is the Queen piece of the pro-life movement?
The Pro-Life Midwife or Doctor.
The Queen piece of our movement must be the people capable of bringing women through the event that has challenged them to welcome new life. Our doctors and midwives are there to joyfully catch the new child that has entered our world and are uniquely able to fulfill the goal of allowing new life to develop and blossom. They empower the mother in her decision to choose life for her child and help her on the first steps to motherhood. We must raise up and recognize those who have the most power in moving all over the board to share the truths about life and have the opportunity to work with women in their times of greatest needs.
The Queen pieces speak with authority and move with greater power than an ordinary pawn, such that a board filled with Queen pieces on one team would decimate the opposition in a few moves. This is true for the pro-choice side too. If suddenly there were hundreds more abortionists setting up clinics it would not take long to overcome the resources of the pro-life movement and abortion would appear to become an uncontested practice in our world. Pro-life doctors and midwives hold their pro-choice colleagues in line by challenging them professionally and with research as to what is best for women and families. We need as many outspokenly pro-life doctor and midwife Queen pieces as possible to capture the King, or the hearts and minds of women everywhere.
Not only must we work to honor and bring up more pro-life midwives and doctors, but we also must work to provide safe places for them to practice the type of medicine that is life-affirming and focused on the holistic whole-life view of women and families. Many of our Queen pieces have been blocked into corners on the board by hospitals and healthcare systems that hinder their power to move and be effective. They are often required to refer for or prescribe drugs that are in opposition to their beliefs. The right for pro-life doctors and midwives to practice medicine in accordance with their conscience is being challenged today.
When this happens our strongest piece has been crippled!
We cannot allow that to continue. We need to think differently about where we ask our doctors and midwives to practice. We must find ways to unleash their fullest potential. Why would we want to cripple their ability to serve the way we need them to by locking them into employment at restrictive places?
Abortionists practice in clinics outside of hospital and often even state oversight. They have an immense freedom to persuade and convince women in the privacy of their clinics to receive a certain type of care. Why don’t we simply follow suit?
Imagine our strong doctors and midwives free to meet the needs of their patients in private practice clinics. Imagine all the pieces of the pro-life chess team working together to create a center that truly competes with the pro-choice abortion clinic. Only when our pieces are allowed the same freedom as our opponents to aggressively pursue the goal will the game ever be a fair match.
This is exactly the premise and the goal of The Guiding Star Project. We want to make this a fair battle by creating centers that can truly compete with the abortion clinics and Planned Parenthoods. Why should we settle for pregnancy help centers with limited medical capacity when the opposition is capable of realizing their entire goal in their facilities? Why can’t we create centers that not only can help a women process an unexpected pregnancy, but also walk beside her through the pregnancy, delivery, and early years of raising her child? The pieces of the pro-life team currently seem to be spread across the chess board and the table and even down onto the floor. Let’s pick ourselves up and line up to face the opposition by getting onto the same board and working together as a team.
All the chessman on the board play an important role in the victory of their team. Without any one of them the battle would likely be lost. We are all called to take part in this “game” in some way. Our conscience demands of us to become a player on the board and not a passive observer. Whether we are mere pawns or powerful Queens we can trust that our gifts and talents will be used for the win if we simply give what we have and allow ourselves to be used.
When we all work together we will be able to finally declare “checkmate” on abortion.
It was Thanksgiving my freshmen year of college. After the standard family time, I had plans to spend some time with one of my best friends. He picked me up and we went to his parent’s house so we could catch up. He told me how his classes were going and all about his most recent break up. I told him about my classes and how I had just started seeing someone new. I remember gushing a little, because I just felt really happy. Within a few moments, the conversation turned and suddenly he was on top of me in the dark. I asked him repeatedly to stop: I reminded him that I was seeing someone. It was as though he could not hear me. I was terrified of the person I thought was my best friend. I retreated inside my head and repeated the Hail Mary as I was certain the night would end in my virginity being stolen. After a few minutes, he sat up and I asked if he could take me home. He talked to me the entire ride home nonchalantly as I stared out the passenger window, relieved that he only assaulted me. I asked my dad to take me back to school early so I could be alone.
It took some time for me to come to terms with what had happened. I over-analyzed everything I had said to him, certain that I just had not been clear enough with him. My confidence was shattered, and I felt used.
I was lucky in a twisted way. While it was the first time something like that had happened to me, I was not unfamiliar at the time with the tragedy of sexual assault. In the years since the assault, I certainly have seen and heard worse from women of all shapes, sizes, colors and walks of life. Statistically, one in six women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape. Sexual violence awareness agencies go above and beyond to spread the message that women are experiencing the ultimate violation on a daily basis: there are campaigns that promote self-defense (helpful, though not an answer to the problem), encourage disclosure, and that provide women with a way to seek help and to heal from sexual assault experiences. There are initiatives that focus on providing awareness among men by encouraging men help end violence against women, and initiatives that focus on the healthcare and employer costs of violence against women.
Despite all these efforts, I see survivors of sexual assault treated in unspeakable ways. They are blamed for the violations they experience in court and in the public arena. Their sexual history, what they were wearing, and their location suddenly become mostly to blame for the assault and the actions of the perpetrator seem to fade into the back ground. “She must have been asking for it: look at what she was wearing!” “Why didn’t she fight?” “She should not have been at a bar that late at night.” More often than not, it is forgotten that she said no or was unable to give consent, and he took what he wanted.
It is no wonder there is so much shame tied to sexual assault! I will admit that I struggled to write about my own experience, even though I was the one that was violated and my actions were not shameful. I was sober, wearing jeans and a sweater, and was spending time with one of my best friends. Even if I had been wearing a mini-skirt and drinking in a bar, my actions would not have been the problem.
As if you could possibly add to the shame, women that experience rape and assault are further exploited by the abortion industry. They are told that any potential child from rape should be unwanted and disposed of in a timely fashion. They are touted as primary examples of why abortion should be legal, and their most intimate violations become subject for public debates. Politicians and public figures (pro-choice and pro-life alike) speak of these violations in extreme, compassion-less ways: victims should not have to carry the child of a monster, or victims should look at the rape (and potential children conceived) as a blessing. Both extremes claim to want only what is in the best interest of the survivor, but neither seems to understand the complexity of rape and sexual assault.
This is a conversation that desperately needs to occur, but must change. Sexual assault is not pretty, but it is currently a reality. When we are ashamed of things, we sometimes cope with their existence in harmful ways. We must keep the focus on the crime that has been committed, not whether or not we like the victim. We cannot continue to utilize the violence of abortion to cover up the crime that has been committed: abortion will not magically heal the victim or erase the crime. The more men and women that speak out as children conceived in rape, the more difficult it becomes to ignore that abortion, even in cases of rape, perpetuates violence against our most innocent.
I propose we begin to re-frame this discussion. What can we do to implement change in our own homes? April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In my next post, we will hear from several women that have experienced sexual violence, and the impact it has had on their lives.
Often times the “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960s is hailed as a time of liberation and independence for all, but in particular for women. Freed of the “shackles” of the consequences of sexual encounters, the hormonal contraception (aka “the pill”) gave women the opportunity to “have sex like men” without being bound or hindered by any consequences. At the time, this was seen as a great liberation from the “unnecessary” restrictions on sexual activity, which to the secular eye seemed to be ridiculous. From the secular perspective, the moral arguments were irrelevant and archaic; the only real barrier was the actual physical consequence of sexual intercourse: a new human life, a baby. When that was eliminated by taking the pill, men and women were now “free” to have sexual encounters at will, without constraint.
Yet, was this really the beginning of true freedom? Why was/ is sex sought after so much? I believe people recognize the great capacity of pleasure it holds and there is a natural attraction towards sex in each of us. However, with any pleasure producing activity (sex, food, drink, or pleasure-stimulating drugs), one must be very careful. These activities produce a force that when not held within a controlled environment, could become addictions. When you remove any restraint from eating chocolate, for example, the more you eat, the more you desire it and then, in turn, the even more you eat, and the even more you want to eat it. The pleasure chocolate gives you is recorded in your mind and without our reason to tell the compulsion of desire “no,” it will keep seeking that pleasure.
When one takes away all boundaries to sex, it is very easy to slip from a “never say ‘no’!” mentality to a “can’t say ‘no’” mental state. Taking the pleasure piece of sex out of the context of procreation and lifelong, monogamous partnership of a woman and man, reduces it to the level of a drug. We are trying to harness a power that cannot be controlled. Instead of men and women freely choosing to have sex if they wanted to, we are now in a generation of young adults that are compelled to engage in sexual intercourse. It is a generation that is incapable of saying ‘no.’ Well, perhaps that is too harsh. Let’s just say that they have never been trained to use their intellect to control their passions and this makes keeping passion out of an addictive state very difficult.
Even if an individual is not addicted to sex themselves, they are surrounded by a culture of young people who are sold on the idea of ‘sex without constraint.’ So, young ladies are now pressured into sexual situations that they do not really want to partake in. A generation ago they would have at least had some support of society agreeing with them that they should wait until they were married, but not now. Are they more liberated this way?
I doubt Chevonea Kendall-Bryan felt very free. Chevonea died at the age of 13. She had been pressured to perform a sex act on a boy she knew. He recorded it and was showing the phone video clip to all his buddies. Chevonea lived on the 4th floor of an apartment building and threatened to jump from her window to the street below (where he was standing) if he didn’t delete it. She then slipped and fell 60 feet to the ground, dying from massive brain injuries. (See story here) Did Chevonea feel very free? Steve Biddulph, author of Raising Boys who has now written a sequel Raising Girls, is quoted in the article as saying, “Never before has girlhood been under such a sustained assault – from ads, alcohol marketing, girls’ magazines, sexually explicit TV programmes and the hard pornography that is regularly accessed in so many teenager’s bedrooms … Boys are under pressure too, being led to believe that girls will look and behave like porn stars. Our children are becoming victims of pornification.”
Also quoted in the above article is Claire Perrp, MP. She says, “It is usually girls who are on the receiving end of some pretty degrading stuff … We’ve got young girls being asked to write their names on their boobs and send pictures. Parents would be really shocked to know this is happening in pretty much every school in the country. Our children are growing up in a very sexualized world.”
That’s the generation after the “great” Sexual Revolution. Does this seem to be a world in which a young woman would be dignified and given every opportunity to succeed without feeling degraded? And when we continue to separate the dignity of life from the most powerful human connection that is supposed to bring life into the world, our view of what life is begins to fade. If contraception fails, we move to abortion. If the baby has a problem, then that child must be better off dead. Is this a compassionate state? It is a cold calculation. It is no wonder that women, who find themselves in such a troubled state that they seek abortion, never find much compassion nor love there. And if something would go wrong, are they even able to speak to the doctor? Jennifer McKenna Morbelli and her family found that answer out the hard way. She was a beautiful, 29 year old kindergarten teacher, who learned that her unborn baby (33 weeks along) had fetal anomalies. She, her husband and her parents sought the help (albeit misguidedly) of late term abortiontist, LeRoy Carhart. (Read full story here on Jill Stanek’s site.) Long story short, Jennifer had complications and Carhart was not available. Jennifer and the baby both died from that abortion. These are the heartbreaking consequences in a world where life is not valued.
Sex is a powerful force, no doubt, but are we right in trying to control it and dissect it from its natural place? (my latest blog went into more detail on this, so I’ll let you read it there.) When we look at how we opened “Pandora’s Box” in the ‘60s, should we really be surprised that this is the state our world is in?
There is one more interesting facet at work here, too, a “catch 22” in a way. When sex is stripped away from procreation, then it is also taken away from being isolated in a strong marriage. Contraception will not always work and the out of wedlock birth rates have increased greatly since the “Sexual Revolution.” These children are being raised mostly by single mothers. (A second side note: single motherhood has risen since the 1960s and that group of people are one of the poorest in the country. Another great “feminine” consequence of the “Sexual Revolution”…) Children who are raised by only one parent, or who lack a mother and a father, are more likely to become addicted to something, because there is a void within them that they are seeking to fill. The more children/ teenagers become addicted to sex, the more the problem perpetuates itself and compounds onto itself. What a mess!
It is for the protection and dignity of women that sex ought to be put back in a lifelong, monogamous relationship. Marriage should not be a place of confinement and subordination of the woman, but instead a place of dignity and respect. If one seeks a society that truly dignifies the woman, it is not rampant sexual encounters we should seek, but a determined, resolute attitude towards the roles of men and women and the importance of holding all marriages to live up to that ideal.
For further reading on truly dignifying women, please check out my book “Woman, How Great Thou Art.”
The Guiding Star Project was very pleased to be able to participate in the March for Life this year. It was a chilly and snowy day in Washington, D.C. full of meetings and speakers and conventions and of course the March itself. Conservative estimates said it was attended by over 500,00 people. According to Eternal Word Television Network, which hired a private group to assess the numbers in attendance, the estimates were closer to 650,000. What struck me was the number of young people. Everywhere you turned there were throngs of young adults and teens joyfully standing up for life. These young people are the future and they are overwhelmingly pro-life. They are so open to the message of New Feminism. They “get it,” they can articulate it, and they aren’t intimidated. For me this was perhaps the single most encouraging aspect of the March for Life.
This year marked the 40th Anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision to legalize abortion. Forty years of abortion on demand in this nation. Forty years of lies and mis-truths about women, their bodies, and their babies. While this is a sobering and heartbreaking reality, it was heartening to see that while it may at times seem we fight a stagnant or losing battle, we are making headway – we will bring about a culture of life! The Guiding Star Project is prepared to play a big part in this cultural transition. We met with pro-life leaders from across the country. We made connections and forged new friendships. The response was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. ”This is just what we need!” The vision and mission of the Guiding Star Project is exactly what is needed to propel our culture towards life.
We at Guiding Star are committed to using the New Feminist methodology to proclaim the dignity and beauty of femininity, birth, mothering, and natural law. Women are entrusted with the human person in a unique and personal way, and so as we are unabashedly pro-life, we are also unabashedly “pro-woman.” While we hope that this was the last March for Life that will ever be needed here in America, we are committed to stay the course and to boldly stand up for women and their children for as long as it takes – until we have reached our goal and truly Lit the way to a Culture of Life!
There are certain types of people who prey on fear. They know how to use fear to motivate and manipulate. They also know that the antidotes to fear are understanding and Truth. Perhaps one of the most insidious utilizers of fear-as-manipulator is the abortion lobby. The industry survives by profiting off of fear.
Time again we hear statistics that tell us women choose abortion because they believe they have no other choice. They are afraid. Tell me, how can the same people who proclaim “choice” and “freedom of choice” also be the people who use fear to push their abortion agenda? Simple. Because when they say “Choice” they mean “abortion.” And when they say they are “pro-choice” they really mean they are “pro-fear.”
Women have been used and abused by the abortion industry for decades now. Yet, much like an abusive relationship, fear keeps women trapped in the abyss of “choice.” Denying their own biology, women elect to kill their offspring, forever wounding themselves in the process, not because they are exercising some Rite of Liberation, but because they are scared and they feel they have no choice. So I ask the members of the Abortion Lobby, NARAL in particular, What do you mean when you say Choice?
Do you mean you will speak gently and kindly to the scared woman who has come for your help? Will you tell her about her amazing body, how she was made to create and nurture life? Will you tell her about the life she carries? How there are fingers and toes, a heartbeat and completely new and unique DNA? Will you answer her questions without asking her to sign a form, a waiver, or be hurried along? Will you explain to her the options she has that are affirming to her dignity and her beauty as a woman? Will you love and support her and the life she is so afraid to give birth to? Will you support her and affirm her if she chooses to NOT have an abortion?
No. You will not. You will instead play on her fears, feed her fears, and lead her further down a lonely path of uncertainty, pain, regret and more fear. This isn’t “choice.” Some would say it is coercion. It is manipulation of the lowest kind and it is not “choice.”
Women deserve so much more than to have their fears played on. An unplanned pregnancy can be a tremendously scary thing for a woman, teenager, or young adult to face alone. She deserves a real choice, with real information. She deserves to hear the truth about the way she is made, the dignity she has and the life she carries. She deserves to be told that yes she has a choice, but that choice does not mean she must choose to kill her child. Choice should not equal fear. Women who find themselves contemplating abortion most often feel they have no where else to go, and no one to turn to. They are alone and scared. These women need to know that they are loved, that there is support, and there are people who want to help them make the difficult decisions that come along with bringing a new life into the world. Women who experience support, love, and affirmation when facing an unplanned pregnancy overwhelmingly choose to either parent their child or work out an adoption plan. They can lead a life free of the fear, the pain, and the regret that come with having no real choice – abortion. Women who fall victim to the abortion “choice” lie are forever changed and forever wounded by the decision. To make that fate even worse, their emotional stress and pain is often overlooked, misdiagnosed, or belittled by an industry and a culture that refuses to admit women suffer long after they have an abortion.
It is time the pro-abortion bandwagon stopped lying about their version of “choice” and instilling fear into women. Its time that organizations like The Guiding Star Project step boldly forward and loudly proclaim, “Yes, you DO have a choice! A beautiful, life affirming choice that will empower you as a woman, not wound you!” It is time that NARAL, Planned Parenthood, NOW and the like stopped dealing in the business of lies and fear and instead embraced the beauty of womanhood and the unique gift of motherhood. You and I know that day is very very far in the future. So until it comes, we urge you to not be afraid to continue to expose the lie that is the abortion industry. Keep speaking the Truth about femininity and womanhood to dispel the fear, and never be afraid to ask, “Just what Do You Mean by Choice?”
I have been part of an abortion.
I was just a student, still in nursing school, having just completed my OB rotation. The mother was young, like me, but the pregnancy was very much planned. What she didn’t plan for were the “fetal anomalies” that the baby had–developing with kidney problems.
The staff told me about the case, set up for an induction, and prepared the labor monitors.
The baby was only 27 weeks.
Just shy of the legal age of viability for this particular hospital–the age when they would have been legally bound to make an effort to resuscitate the infant–at 28 weeks.
As realization dawned on me, I remained confused. “But, wait, why are we inducing now?” I asked. “Won’t the baby….?”
The staff turned kind, but sad eyes on me.
Just think about how much easier it will be for her, they said.
There will be less pain.
The labor and delivery will be easier because the baby is smaller.
It will be better this way.
Like a river current that starts out gentle, I felt myself get swept up. Yes, of course, I thought. The baby will die either way, right? It will be easier on the mother, poor thing.
Later that day, when I had completely forgotten the case and was crossing through the back room to fetch some supplies, I was humming and singing a song to myself and thinking of the ice cream I was going to eat on my break as I pushed open the swinging door into the dark room.
I practically tripped over him.
The overhead light, the one they used to illuminate x-rays, buzzed as it glowed around him, encasing him in a perfect halo of light as the rest of the room lay in darkness.
I blinked twice, my eyes focusing, understanding. Suddenly, I stopped humming.
Someone had placed a little blue hat on him, arranged a blanket rather haphazardly around him. He was so tiny. Almost see-through. So perfect it hurt to look at him.
My breath left then, like hiccups I couldn’t get ahead of. I felt like I was drowning. Wildly, I looked around. Surely this wasn’t real. Surely they didn’t leave this perfect baby in his blue hat alone and forgotten in our back supply room on the same cold counter we did circumcisions on.
Abortion happens out of fear.
Image: becca cahan on Flickr
Fear for the pain we will endure with a sick child.
Fear for the future that we thought we had.
Fear for the special needs our baby will face.
Fear of the abuse she will endure.
Fear of the memories of the rapist.
Fear of the unwanted.
Fear of the hardship that a young mother will face.
Fear that we can’t take care of another baby.
It’s human to be afraid. And I think it’s easy to get swept up in the thought that abortion is the kind option.
But abortion can not take take those fears away or change the circumstances that led to them.
It can only hide them away, hoping they will remain undiscovered, in a cold, dark back room.
We were contacted today by one of our friends in Ohio who brought to our attention that the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) is now promoting an ad Campaign sponsored by the local abortion provider Preterm. The movement called “My abortion, My life” seeks to “Help people see abortion for what it is: a normal and necessary part of women’s reproductive lives and health.”
What we see in examining this ad campaign and its abortion clinic sponsor is an attempt to drum up business at their center by normalizing and removing lingering stigmas attached to abortion. Even after being legal in our country for nearly 40 years, the initial aversion and discomfort with abortion still keeps many from women sharing this decision proudly. Abortion proponents claim this silence is due only to the negative stigmas the pro-life community has forced upon women who have had abortions. They fail to note that it is pro-life groups offering support and counseling to women who experience the negative physical and psychological effects that abortion brings. Perhaps the relative lack of positive abortion experience sharing is more the result of there not being many women who can claim that abortions are a wonderful experience. Abortion leaves a woman feeling completely at odds with her own body and often ashamed to admit she would mutilate and destroy her body’s beautiful life-giving abilities.
This is, however a very dangerous campaign as it is appealing to women who have suffered through abortions to justify their actions and not only “own” them, but encourage others to follow suit. We know that abortion is an act of great violence in which a human life is ended. We also know that women often make this decision uninformed or due to circumstances that are very difficult and are left traumatized and broken. The type of dialogue that “My abortion, My life” is trying to encourage does not address any of these issues and instead simply glosses over them to the end message of “I had an abortion and I’m fine.” It is an attractive message to a woman in denial of her actions and one that might lead many more women down this terrible path.
The Guiding Star Project recognizes that public opinion and the media’s portrayal of abortion has always played in role in the number of abortions. “Public relations is a huge component of pro-abortion strategy. Wrote NARAL co-founder and pro-life convert Dr. Bernard Nathanson in 2002, “[W]e captured the media, we spent money on public relations.… Our first year’s budget was $7,500. Of that, $5,000 was allotted to a public relations firm to persuade the media of the correctness of our position. That was in 1969.”” Jill Stanek
We know it is important to win the cultural battle of the “rightness or wrongness” of abortion and recognize that messages on public transit systems do have a huge impact in this battle and need to be addressed.
Please spread the word and join us in contacting the GCRTA and supporting the Cleveland Pro-Life community in speaking out against these ads.
General Manager – email@example.com
File a Complaint – http://tpzweb02.gcrta.org/hiwire?.a=cCustomerComplaint
Complaint Line – (216)566-5227
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/riderta
Special thanks to our friends over at Livingthesacrament.com for alerting us to this story and encouraging their members to speak out against this sort of pro-abortion tactic.
New Feminists Encourage NEVER Condemn Other Women
Men have known for ages about the power of a woman’s words; how their wives can completely demoralize their efforts with a simple raise of the eyebrows and a quick, “Really, dear?”. We women instinctively understand how we can use words to manipulate and hurt others if we really want to. We also understand how a quiet word of encouragement to a child or a friend in need can change their whole outlook and lift them to a better place. It is our power, and also our responsibility to use our words carefully.
In the past 100 years women have moved very far apart from one another in terms of our shared identity of “womanhood”. We no longer have a general definition of what it means to be a woman in our world, and with the wide variance of opinions comes the verbal assaults on one another’s decisions. Women are now learning, as men learned long ago, it can be very painful to be on the receiving end of another woman’s words of criticism and condemnation. Gone is the sisterhood of femininity that once demanded a certain level of camaraderie and understanding from someone of the same sex. New Feminists seek to restore the loving encouragement between women that is so necessary for us to live up to our fullest potential.
As a lactation consulting student, I have the opportunity to often talk with new mothers struggling to learn the art of breastfeeding. In these private sessions of complete vulnerability and honestly, some women have shared with me their stories of deep hurt from their own mothers’, sisters’, and friends’ comments about their mothering decisions. Often times it seems that the women closest to them in their lives criticize everything from how many children they have, to whether or not they work, to their feeding choices, and just about everything else they might be struggling with themselves to accept. The last thing they need is for others to sew seeds of doubt in their minds.
In our world of extreme relativity, it is controversial to say that anything is universally “better” than anything else. But there are simple truths from Natural Law that can guide us to discern that some things certainly do have a “Best Case Scenario” that will fit for most women and families. While I believe this to be true, I would never say that abiding by the ”Best Case Scenario” is the only way that good can come about and that anyone outside of this scenario is always doing something wrong. The exception to this being when someone completely rejects and ignores the “Best Case Scenarios” of Natural Law. For these cases we must stand firmly by the ideal and lovingly challenge our sisters and brothers to accept and strive for a higher standard for the sake of the best interest of our world.
For example, it is certainly the “Best Case Scenario” for a baby to be carried to full-term of at least 37 weeks gestation before being born. However, a family that must choose an emergency cesarean section at 32 weeks to save the life of the baby/or mother is certainly still acting to make the best of their particular situation. They are making a choice in the best interest of their child and are being flexible to allow for the circumstances to direct a new “Best Case Scenario”. In contrast, a woman who chooses to intentionally terminate a pregnancy at 10 weeks is not making an effort to acknowledge the child involved and is in no way concerned for their best interest. This could never be the “Best Case Scenario” for how a pregnancy should end. Not to mention the death of their unborn child and the effects on other family members; the realities of what they have done to their own body could never justify this as a “Best Case Scenario”. Although their circumstances may be legitimately difficult, their disregard for everyone else involved and the very serious nature of the result marks it as a very poor decision. They need and deserve our compassion and support as we work to share with them the truth and wisdom of the ideal in order to build confidence and courage in those who might face this decision again in the future.
Another example that I am very familiar with is breastfeeding. The “Best Case Scenario” according to health literature and numerous medical studies is that newborn babies should ideally be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life. This is a great goal and something we should strive for in the best interest of our children and our own bodies, but sometimes the surrounding circumstances make this very difficult. Some women try very hard for many weeks and months to breastfeed their children exclusively, but for a variety of reasons they are unable to do so. For the women who understand and have strove for the “Best Case Scenario”, there is no need for us to berate them with information about why they should be breastfeeding. We should be offering them comfort and support and encouragement so that they might be strong enough to try it again with any future children. Now in contrast there will be women who for whatever reason do not even consider giving their children the gift of their breastmilk. They will purposely dry up their own milk supply and immediately begin feeding their children milk-replacement formula in complete rejection of the established “Best Case Scenario”. These again are the women who need our compassion and understanding as we work to help them understand the beauty of their bodies and the amazing abilities they created with. Even the women who completely reject what is clearly “best”, we must never condemn them but rather work to make future circumstances more ideal for them to reach for a higher ideal.
Our words can either build relationships and trust with women whose choices we disagree with, or we can isolate ourselves from them with words of judgement and criticism. It is a fine line to walk in holding to the ideal “Best Case Scenario” while also acknowledging and accepting those situations outside the norm. But as women, we are quick-witted enough to form language that is loving and kind and that builds up our sisters struggling to continue to reach for the ideal no matter the circumstance.
Above all, we need to always remember that while Natural Law has established ”Best Case Scenarios” for many things, there are not always clear ways that are “better” than others for every situation. Some things just do not hold that same weight as others in their level of importance for the best interest of society. These things will always be a matter of personal discernment and should be left to our sisters to make their best judgement about. Don’t let it keep you up at night if your sister’s kids have never had a haircut or if she chooses to let them watch tv for a few hours a day. As long as she is lovingly raising them, trust that parenting differences are ok. When we encounter someone who has made a decision very different from our own, we must always first try to understand the situation and circumtances of that decision and then just lovingly uphold our confidence in their ability to achieve what is in the best interest of everyone involved. Share in a non-judgemental way about the beauty of the ideal through your own choices and life decisions.
As New Feminists we need to lovingly build up one another to understand and accept our unique role as mothers to society and the next generation. As long as we are always trying to fulfill this role and doing our best to meet the needs of this position, our world will become a better place with every woman’s choice to strive for the best interest of those around them. Only with the support from one another can we be strengthened enough to do this. Soon we will begin to see a new generation of New Feminists rise up and lead with love and compassion. Let’s start doing our part today by supporting and honoring one another as beautiful, capable women.