Monday, March 30, 2009

Defending life in the Culture of Death

I'm posting this at nearly 11 pm on Tuesday, March 31, despite what it says here. Weird.

Today is Day 35 in the Spring 40 Days for Life campaign. This grassroots effort began a few years ago in College Station, Texas with a small group of pro-lifers fasting and praying for an end to abortion. It has since expanded to cities all over the United States and even overseas. The current campaign began on Ash Wednesday and ends on Palm Sunday. According to the 40 Days for Life blog, 297 babies have been spared the horror of abortion. This means that there will be 297 more children in our world than there might otherwise have been! Is this cause for celebration or what?

Yesterday I joined a group of women from my parish and drove to an abortion facility about an hour away to pray for the women and their babies, as well as the abortionist and the clinic workers for their conversion. (Thank God there are no abortion mills where I live!) When we arrived, there were two people praying on the sidewalk already. They told us that Mondays were pretty uneventful at this particular clinic because it was the employees' day to do paperwork and no abortions were likely to be scheduled. We found a spot near the clinic's driveway and began to pray the Rosary. By the time all the members of our group arrived, there were eight or nine of us altogether, some of whom had their small children with them. I'm sure we were quite a sight, and quite a few motorists turned their heads for a second look at us as they drove by.

We were scheduled to pray at the clinic for an hour. About fifteen minutes before we planned to head back to our cars, a young couple stopped and parked on the opposite side of the street. They seemed particularly interested in us, and the young woman even took out her cell phone to snap a picture. They stayed in the car for several minutes, smoking, talking, and laughing, and seemed to be getting a kick out of the whole thing. After a while the young woman got out of the car and began walking toward us. My heart began to speed up as I said a prayer of thanks to God that I wasn't standing there all by myself.

"What exactly are you all doing here?" I expected a hostile confrontation, but she seemed pleasant enough and genuinely perplexed at our little spectacle (that is, if you consider a group of women and children quietly praying together a "spectacle"). My friend Barb (I was thanking God for her right about then) explained that we were here to pray for the mothers who come here seeking abortions, that they would choose to give their children life; and that the women who opt for abortion would find healing and peace through Jesus.

"Why do you have to get in their face? Don't you think seeing all of you here with these beautiful children would be intimidating?" Thus began a dialogue with this young woman and her friend (we didn't know if the young man with her was her boyfriend, her brother, or what) that lasted well over forty-five minutes. They wanted to know why women shouldn't have a right to choose what do do with their own bodies (she used dyeing your hair and getting a tattoo as a comparison to abortion), and we explained that a baby in the womb is not just her body; it's a whole other person. One of the women works at a pregnancy resource center, and she talked to them about the work that they do to provide whatever assistance is needed to women facing unplanned pregnancies. We assured her that we would never harass or even confront anyone who might come to the clinic for an abortion, but that we would pray for her and if she wanted to talk to us, we would offer other choices she could make. During the course of the conversation we learned that the young woman had given birth to a child at age fifteen, and that some of her friends work at that very clinic.

The couple asked some thought provoking questions of us. Would any of us be willing to take a pregnant woman into our homes if she needed a place to stay? (Possibly; that would depend on her situation and how willing she is to help herself. Personally that would be a difficult one for me having fairly young kids, taking in someone I don't know.) How did we feel about gun control? The death penalty? Animal rights? (We all have different opinions on these issues, but we all agree that killing an unborn baby is morally wrong.) What would we do if our daughter were pregnant and chose to abort her baby? Would we still oppose abortion? (Of course we would still stand up for the unborn. We would do everything we could to help our daughter make the right decision, but if she chose abortion we would still love and forgive her just as God loves and offers forgiveness to all women who have abortions.) What if she wanted us to come with her to the clinic for support? (This was an interesting question; we all agreed that while we would give our daughter all the love and support she needed, we would not drive or accompany her to the abortion.)

When the couple finally felt satisfied and were preparing to depart, we thanked them for stopping by and that we would pray for her friends who work in the clinic. After they left we all said a prayer for them and for their friends. Maybe a seed was planted in their hearts, and they will come to recognize the sacredness of human life. After all, I used to be pro-choice.

They are asking for parishioners from my church to pray at another clinic on Saturday. I really want to go. I'm already leaving my husband for part of the day, and he'll be schlepping the kids to their flag football games (and coaching one of them). I'm not sure if I'll be attending that vigil, but I will definitely be there in spirit if not in person.

Please pray for the two young people my friends and I had the privilege of speaking with about the beauty of human life.


  1. Wow...I hope something got through to them. Bless you for talking with them. I think often about my daughters and I pray that they all get through adolescence without sexual activity, but I will do my best to make sure they know that they can come to me, I will still love them, and abortion is evil. It would break my heart to give up my grandchild, but if it was best for my daughter and the baby, I would encourage adoption. Difficult things, to be sure. How I pray I never have to find out.

  2. That is so great that these people came and spoke to you. I will remember them also in my prayers.


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