Thursday, January 27, 2005

Be Gentle with the Wounded Soul

Mimi ni sauti, lnayo lillia haruma

I am a voice,
Crying for mercy
Crying for love
Crying for peace
Crying for justice
And dying in need

I am a voice, crying for mercy

~ "I Am A Voice," written by Trish Short

The Silent No More Awareness campaign turned some heads at Monday’s March for Life. For excellent reports on the event, visit the After Abortion blogspot (see sidebar), and my thanks to Emily and Anne Marie for the comments I am using below.

There are some lively remarks about the phenomenon of vocal post-abortive women, from both sides of the issue. One pro-life leader was heard to say, “I think some of these women are just seeking attention. What are we supposed to do when we see a woman holding one of these signs? Applaud? Tell her how wonderful she is?"

A pro-choice writer says, “The thing that gets me is the picture of the two women holding up signs saying, "I Regret My Abortion." You know what? It's your right to regret your decision...And now, because you regret your own actions, you want to take that right away from others? Who are you to decide? Who are you to say that someone else would also regret theirs?”

There is a growing belief in the pro-life movement that it will be post-abortive women who will bring an end to abortion. I believe we will, because we are the common ground on which both sides will meet.

Our pro-life leader laments having to include us in her efforts. For years, she has been telling us not to abort our children. She has given her life to the unborn babies. When we stand before her with all our regrets, we remind her of her failures. How is she supposed to treat us? Are we simply seeking attention?

Speaking for myself, of course I am seeking attention, but perhaps not the attention she might imagine. Many women do not do well after exercising their choice to abort, and the majority live in silence about their feelings. Many women are misinformed before and after the procedure. From a humanitarian perspective, we have to let them know they are not alone. For the purposes of the pro-life movement, we are the graphic images of women who have suffered harm, even if it was at our own hands. We are asking you to use us in your mission to warn others away from abortion.

I wonder if this pro-life leader considers herself a good Christian. And if so, would it help to remind her that He came to heal the sick? No one needs healing more than a woman who regrets her abortion. The pro-lifer need not worry about sending the wrong message by letting us in. I have seen no evidence that a woman who is embraced by the pro-life movement for healing ever feels she has been given tacit permission to abort again. Our healing is incomplete without the realization that abortion is unnatural. So, yes, we want your attention, but not for accolades. When you see a woman brave enough to hold that sign, remember mercy and pray for her. She is there to help you.

The pro-choice movement isn’t any happier about our existence, either. Is it because we threaten the institution they want to uphold, or does it go deeper than that? I hear betrayal in the cry, “Who are you to decide?” We are traitors. We tried to identify with them at least once, and they are confused about why we would change our minds. For a pro-choice woman who has had an abortion or is considering one, we are a grave threat because we cannot be moved, and the more she protests, the more I think she suspects we are right. We don’t have suppositions about how abortion helps people. We have personal experience that we were not helped. Many of us were harmed so that we did not become what we should have been. We represent their failure, too.

Have the pro-choicers considered, though, that they betrayed us first? We trusted them and what they told us, but now they won’t help us with our suffering. We thought they understood us, because they understand the sometimes vicious forces that drive us to slay our own children in the womb. But they forget us after the abortion, because we don’t conform to the happy, well-adjusted women they think we should be after exercising our reproductive freedom. If they were as compassionate after the fact as they proclaim to be beforehand, they would let us march with them, too. What possible threat do we represent, after all? The opposite of abortion is birth. Surely they don’t stand in opposition of reproduction itself?

The inability of the post-abortive woman to fit neatly into either side of the abortion issue is exactly why we are going to build the common ground, and yes, bring the atrocity of abortion to an end. We know the pro-choice arguments through and through because we have lived them and made the choice. We also learned the pro-life lessons, the hard way. All we ask of either side is to let us speak. Listen to what we are saying without an agenda, and with mercy.


At 12:43 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Great post, Julie.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

"Our pro-life leader laments having to include us in her efforts. For years, she has been telling us not to abort our children. She has given her life to the unborn babies. When we stand before her with all our regrets, we remind her of her failures. How is she supposed to treat us?"I don't see the post abortion women as failures of the prolife movement. We did everything in our power to stand between the woman and the abortionist's knife. The post abortion woman is a failure of the prochoice movement. She's living proof that they are selling a deadly lie.

Postabortion women are the vindication of the prolife moment. They're saying, "You were right and I was wrong." What more can anybody ask from them? They're making the most painful admission a human being can make -- not only that they were wrong in a deeply-held belief, but that they caused their own child's death by being wrong. They're doing something that takes incredible honesty and courage.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Silent Rain Drops said...

Amen, Granny Grump! Your compassion toward post-abortive women will help us gain acceptance with those who apparently don't understand.

I am curious - why do you think the SNM presence upset the pro-life leader so much, if it wasn't a reminder of failure? I would like to understand her as much as I would like her to understand us.

If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

At 4:38 PM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

I think a lot of the trouble the prolife movement has with postabortion women is the same trouble the responsible brother had when the prodigal son came home. "I've been slaving here for 25 years, in a thankless job, you show up a day late and a dollar short and everybody thinks you're the bee's knees!"

Well, like Jesus said, there's more rejoicing over the one that was lost than the 99 that were safe all along. I was lost myself in my own way. I'm glad I was welcomed home. Gotta extend the same courtesy to others!


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