Today is a day of mourning, a day of silence and sincere prayer. Today we remember a decision that was made forty years ago – a decision that has lead to the slaughter of over fifty million innocent children in the United States alone. Could those judges have ever predicted the far reaching effects of their verdict? Could they know that in one moment, one typed brief, the world would be forever changed? I am heading to adoration in a few minutes, and I am bringing with me all of those men and women who sought abortion as a false promise, a seemingly easy way out, and who are now filled with so much hurt and regret. I see the logic behind abortion; I see how people can be duped into thinking that this is a necessary evil to protect the rights of women. I do understand why the women I know who are in favor of abortion get so defensive at the notion of overturning Roe v. Wade. I just wish they could understand where their logic betrays them – how their solution for the equal rights of women undermines the value and freedom of all people, especially women.
I spent less time than I should have praying and counseling women in front of abortion clinics, but enough time to see the reality of what goes on—the lying and deception that so often occurs inside the waiting area, the complete lack of information available to these women who are making a decision much larger than they realize. Most importantly, I witnessed the truth about abortion; it strips women of the freedom they are seeking. Not one woman spoke to me of her desire to have an abortion, of the joy or peace she felt in having this option available. Every single woman I spoke with – without exception – spoke to me of her lack of options. “I don’t have a choice” they would always say. Followed always by some harrowing line that gave me just a tiny glimpse into the root of their suffering: “they’ll hate me,” “They’ll disown me,” “He’ll leave me,” “He’ll never forgive me.” They weren’t running to the steps of the abortion clinic to find relief from their pain, they were being dragged there by their loved ones – most frequently, and to my horror, their mothers – not to escape their pain, but to rid themselves of the incredible blessing inside of them so that they could return to their pain, their broken relationship, their abuser. What always struck me were the lies they would tell themselves, “it’s ok, after this, it will all be over, and I’ll move on.” What I learned was this: the mere availability of abortion strips women of their right to give their children life. We speak of the right to choose, the freedom of choice, but the reality is that women, more often than not, are forced – either by actual physical force or by emotional coercion – into ending the growing, fledgling life inside of them. Women are robbed of their motherhood and men of their fatherhood – the joys of parenthood they’ll never know. I can’t help but think of all the tiny fingers and toes that have gone uncounted, the belly laughs that have never been heard, the tiny eyes that have never gazed into the eyes of their loving mother.
Nearly fifty-five MILLION people are missing from our nation, and to believe that their lives would have no effect on the outcome of human history, to think that our world is not different for missing them is something more than just naiveté. To characterize abortion as the solution to the “problem of a baby” reveals a true societal sickness, at the root of which is a real disdain not just for the unborn, but for all of humanity. Instead of focusing on the ideas and love and joy that is missing from this world with each individual whose life has been lost to abortion, our society chooses to focus on the financial or emotional burden of which we have been relieved. What does this reveal about our mentality towards human life in general? How can we deny that abortion is at the very root of this culture of death that surrounds us? Yet we hear over and over again how abortion is the solution to so many problems.
Abortion is the result of broken relationships, and, at the same time, it causes a severe breakdown in relationships. Women deserve better – they deserve help, they deserve options, and they deserve the chance to be mothers, to love their babies, and to watch them grow, hear their thoughts and ideas. Women are seeking help, but they are seeking it in the wrong place. Thanks to the undying efforts of so many wonderful men and women, there are crisis pregnancy centers and homes for mothers who need assistance. There are people who would gladly sacrifice their own comfort or convenience to take in any baby who is unwanted by his or her parents. These are places where we need to refer the women in our lives who are seeking help – help lifting the incredible burdens they are carrying – not the precious baby, but the lack of support from their families, boyfriends, husbands. They are facing a huge challenge – no woman would consider an abortion if that wasn’t the case – and, fortunately, there is help out there. Crisis pregnancy centers focus on helping women find a solution to whatever problem is causing them to think that abortion is the only choice they have, be it a way to finish their education or find employment, or just support and encouragement.
We need to work to heal the illness in our society – the illness that sees a baby as a burden, rather than the gift they are intended by their Creator to be. We need to support those around us in choosing life, or perhaps in finding the joy in the life they’ve already chosen. It is always a wonderful treat to see others around us finding happiness in our little one, offering us a few minutes during Mass to pray while they show him a whole new perspective in Church from their pew, or just making a silly face so he’ll stop fussing for a minute while we check out in the grocery line. It reminds us how blessed we are to have him, in case it ever slips our minds. It’s amazing how much of the culture of death can be converted into a beautiful appreciation of life by just a few small efforts on each of our parts.