All of society has been affected since Roe v. Wade was passed into law in 1973. People thirty-seven years of age or younger in America can be considered survivors of legalized abortion and some post-abortive women are into their eighties.
In Metro Detroit, we are hearing from women who have had abortions and men who were complicit in them, bravely speaking the truth about the damage done to them, their family and society. Barbara Yagley of Troy, President of Central Oakland Right to Life and John and Mary Lockwood in Plymouth, Catholic pro-life speakers, are among them. They are advocates for life and for healing the pain, guilt and regret of post-abortive women.
For years the rights of the unborn have been argued, but some still believe that a mother’s right to choose abortion in the name of compassion is greater than the right of her underdeveloped child to live; some also argue that a child born to unwilling parents is better off dead. But women have learned through hard and painful experience that this notion of compassion is a false one.
The church teaches that loving compassion is support. It is not compassion to say “I will support your decision to have an abortion”. Compassion is helping a woman come to grips with the reality of her crisis pregnancy situation. If she is unmarried, her partner is non-committal or she does not know who the father is, these important life problems are left unresolved by abortion. Psychological and mental problems, wanting to escape, dysfunctional relationships or poor self-esteem are ignored and made worse by abortion. Without stopping to explore these questions and to make changes, a woman can easily find herself in the same place again and again.
Support is intended for building and not destroying. It is strength for weakness. It does not hide, deny the truth, or judge but accepts responsibility for the sake of new life. True compassion demands that all people take the side of baby and mother. In its greatest expression, loving support makes sacrifices. Society has a duty to provide real aid to the woman in a crisis pregnancy; aid that will minister to her psychological, spiritual and physical well-being.
As post-abortive women seek relief for convictions of guilt and feelings of remorse from abortion, Christians should pray that they find new life and mission in helping each other to accept God’s forgiveness and to celebrate it with joy. By turning the focus on healing for the women who have been exploited or deceived or frightened into having an abortion, we may well find the tidal wave of support that seeks to end it. With care, education and assistance, women can find the means, inner strength and self-respect to do the difficult things that love may call them to do.
According to Mary Lockwood who was raised Catholic but never understood Church teaching on abortion, it is by understanding love behind the moral law that we are lead to the truth. That is a gift from God and how we need it today!
Every day is the first day for someone to learn about abortion; every day women find themselves in a crisis pregnancy and the decision is made whether or not to abort a baby. After 37 years it may seem tedious, but we must continue to pray for the end of abortion and to continue to speak up for the defenseless. According to Mark 3:4 – “Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.