Thank you to everyone for your prayers on behalf of my mom. The recovery has been agonizing, but this was expected. My dad sent me a photo of her scar. It’s a nasty and Frankenstein-like. Yesterday I posted a photo of it onto Facebook. The image was really small on my phone, but the new time line format made it humongous. I apologize to anyone who caught a glimpse of the gruesome incision site. I removed it when I saw how big it was!
I beg for more prayers that the surgery was actually effective in curing her trigeminal neuralgia pain (it’s too early to tell) and if it wasn’t, that we can remember that Christ came to heal – not necessarily cure – the sick.
I’m thinking of changing the name of this blog to “Of Breast and Women.”
Not really, but I do find it fascinating that the two posts of mine to receive the most traffic have had to do with breasts. One listed my top 10 reasons for nursing a toddler. The other examined the Komen debacle. Crazier still, my most infamous freelance article to date discussed how I overcame my reluctance to nurse at Mass.
I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the Komen discussions, but a good friend of mine did have several Facebook friends argue, charitably I should add, against some of my points made in my post.
One such individual wrote (and also commented after the original post),
“I think the reason that Planned Parenthood is a necessary ‘middleman’ is because women go to the clinic for services (let’s just assume that they aren’t there for an abortion), receive a breast exam they might not otherwise have performed (either on themselves OR by another doctor), something abnormal is detected and they are then referred on to another location where they can receive a necessary mammogram (thereby benefiting from that Komen grant). Without the ‘middleman’ those women would probably not proceed directly to a mammogram clinic at all thereby making the Komen grant reach fewer women.”
Although she makes a valid point about the possibility of women going to Planned Parenthood and receiving a breast exam and then possibly being referred to a low-cost mammogram, she’s missing a big point* as did so many people when we thought Komen was definitely defunding Planned Parenthood. Komen is a non-profit with limited resources. It has the responsibility to be the best steward of its funds. I think we can all agree on that. So for now, let’s put my pro-life and others’ pro-choice (or pro-Planned Parenthood; that’s one in the same to me) beliefs aside and just look at this issue from a practical standpoint. Planned Parenthood primarily serves women of reproductive age; yet, screening mammograms are recommended to start at age 50 unless you have an increased risk of breast cancer. Thus, Planned Parenthood’s target population is not the women who really should be getting mammograms. Komen has limited resources, so doesn’t it simply make more fiscal sense to give grants to organizations that directly bring mammograms to the population that is most at risk for getting breast cancer such as mobile mammography units, charitable health clinics, and organizations that provide health fairs, etc.?
This doesn’t mean that Planned Parenthood doesn’t catch any breast cancer because maybe a manual breast exam performed there does lead to an early cancer diagnosis and a saved life, but how many more lives could be saved if the money was directed elsewhere?
Likewise, it should also be noted that the kind of manual breast exams offered at Planned Parenthood aren’t much different than the ones a woman can perform in the shower. An individual’s own self breast exam might be even more useful, in fact, because she gets to know her breasts and might notice subtle nuances a health professional might miss.
What’s more, some health agencies have argued manual breast exams are not effective in detecting breast cancer early. They can also lead to unnecessary testing. Maybe a health professional feels something unusual that’s actually not unusual for your breast and refers you for what proves to be an unnecessary mammogram. This drives up all of our health care costs.
Try to put your feelings – whatever they may be – about Planned Parenthood aside for a minute. Shouldn’t what Komen really have done is look at how many dollars it takes to catch a certain number of breast cancers supporting Planned Parenthood’s breast health care versus how many dollars it takes to catch a certain amount of breast cancers at an organization that is actually reaching the target audience that is most at risk for breast cancer? I’m betting less money would be spent and more lives would be saved if the grants were offered to places that actually served the people who need screening mammograms.
Pro-lifers have been accused of making this about our pro-life ideals. But not supporting Planned Parenthood has always been about our ideals (and thus political for us since the issue of abortion has been political ever since Roe. v. Wade). It’s the people who claimed they weren’t pushing their pro-choice agendas and insisted they were only angry at Komen because they didn’t want to deny women of life-saving breast exams who seemed to be being more furtive. Either they didn’t know the facts about how little Planned Parenthood actually does to detect breast cancer early and/or how there would be more fiscally responsible partnerships for Komen to pursue in an effort to save lives. Or they should have just come out and said this was really about their pushing their pro-choice agenda.
*After I shared a lot of the above with her, she left another comment agreeing that I’d made a good point about Planned Parenthood’s target audience not being the women who need life-saving breast cancer screenings the most. It’s been a good discussion for me, but I definitely started doing what I promised myself (for the sake of my kids and family) I wouldn’t do and started feeling like I had to answer every argument against my logic. I can’t do it anymore. Maybe some of my readers will make up for my slack. But I haven’t been as present as a mama as I aspire to be, and these kids entrusted to me are number one priority (and that husband of mine needs some TLC, too, after working over 80 hours in one week).
On another but related note, I turned in my request to leave the BlogHer Network on 2/2, and I received a very gracious note from one of the network’s managers in which she explained that the community needs a voice like mine because BlogHer really does strive to create a forum where we can talk about issues near and dear to us in a “healthy, intelligent way.”
Since then I’ve had many Catholic/Christian bloggers point out that I’m mostly preaching to the choir here on this blog, but that BlogHer might bring some people to this space who would never normally read the musings of a crazy, extended breastfeeding, passionately pro-life mama. I also had someone comment after my Komen post that they found me through BlogHer and that my blog has made her think twice [about abortion].
I’m not sure BlogHer needs my voice, but maybe those unborn babies do.
The manager also sent me two links from the BlogHer main site that offered a different point-of-view on the Komen situation, but neither was passionately pro-life. One was pro-Komen even though the woman was grateful for Planned Parenthood and the other was pointing out all the mistakes Komen made by waffling on its decicion. While the Network may have a diverse range of voices, I still feel the main site needs a more balanced approach to issues and that an email should not have gone out headlining a post that was clearly in support of Planned Parenthood.
Nevertheless, all of this has made me pause. How do I best serve God? And my family? Truth is, as much as my ambitious, little self would love to start a social media revolution and launch a pro-life publishing network or something like that, that wouldn’t be fair to my family or even possible given the other demands of my life.
Barbara Curtis left BlogHer and has never looked back. She encouraged me to be still and pray about this, so that’s what I’m trying to do. I really, really want to do put my personal agenda, feelings, pride, etc. aside and make the right decision. I don’t want to seem like a fickle, flip-flopper, but I have to ask myself: Am I giving the unborn more of a voice by making a stand and leaving BlogHer, or did I jump the (emotional) gun and would have more of an impact by remaining in a Network that gives voices who don’t share my ideals a bigger microphone over at their main blog? These are questions only I can answer. I have lots to ponder. Discernment has never been my strength.
At least I know I’m not alone in my confusion. Candace is pondering, too.
Whatever I decide, this whole experience made me aware of the number of women who do share my passionately pro-life position. I was blown away by the outpouring of support and solidarity from the online community, and I’m very grateful for all of the words of hope and encouragement I received. Let’s keep up the good fight! For LIFE!!!
I just received my copy of Welcome Risen Jesus: Lenten and Easter Reflections for Families, which, ahem, was a good reminder that Lent is right around the corner. Reading Sarah Reinhard’s little book together is a simple but meaningful way for families to make the most of this beautiful, sanctifying season. And it’s only $1.99!!! That’s quite the steal for a book that just might help your children (and you!) grow closer to Christ this Lent.
If you’re still not sold, consider my 4-year-old’s glowing endorsement.
“What’s that, Mama?” she asked me as I pulled the book out of its packaging.
“It’s a book we’re going to read together during Lent. My friend wrote it!”
“Your friend wrote it?” she gasped. She flipped through it. “Wow! Your friend is a good writer-er.”
(I believe I used the phrase “true dat” in my last QTs post. My kids are consistently and simply stating some big truths.)
Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t somehow marble Star Wars into this post.
My older brother drew this hilarious spoof of some of our family as Star Wars characters. My kids call my parents Gaba and Papa, so we have Gaba the Hutt and Chewpapa. Mary Elizabeth (also known as M.E.) is the “M”peroror (fitting since she bounces around here on a mission and doesn’t let anyone stop her). Madeline, of course, is Madeline Skywalker. Rae, our resident princess, makes a lovely Princess Raea. Thomas is a cute Yoda, but my favorite is our Darth Layla. Layla is our black Lab-Great Dane mix.
I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if Madeline signed all of her valentines this year with “Yoda the one for me.”
Some of these “takes” weren’t so quick so if you’ve stuck with me for this long, you’re a real fan.
Have a wonderful weekend!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
I drafted this post last night. I should have published it then because now it seems like pro-lifers such as myself (and many but not all of my readers) are too late, or Planned Parenthood is too much of a bully. I just saw this article. Komen is backing off its decision to defund Planned Parenthood. There’s this from Creative Minority Report, too. Sigh.
I’m still going to publish my original post below because the point I make about needing to make our voice heard is more important than ever. In addition, my point about not understanding why people were so upset since Komen’s original decision simply prevented Planned Parenthood from funneling money to other organizations that provide low-cost mammograms is a valid one. Komen’s new (and now, it seems, reneged) policy intended to give the grants directly to the organizations that provided the low-cost mammograms rather than providing the money directly to Planned Parenthood to refer women to get the mammograms elsewhere. What’s the problem with here? The fact that Komen, instead of Planned Parenthood, has been accused of turning this in to a left-right issue boggles my mind. I’ve also seen arguments from people who were angry with Komen suggest that this isn’t about being pro-life or pro-choice; it’s about caring about women. It’s a human issue, not a health issue. Um, how is abortion not a human issue as well as a health issue? Oh, that’s right because abortion doesn’t kill babies. It helps women. No matter that having an abortion is linked to an increased risk of depression and addiction.
I guess the mama bear in me has finally reared its mad, I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore-head!
At any rate, here’s my original post:
I’m not a particularly courageous person. It’s not that I’m not brave because I am. I caught a snake that had found its way into our laundry room all my own and freed it outside, for example. However, my vanity and my desire to be a people-pleaser usually wins out and tempers my bravery. I’m not concerned what snakes think of me.
But when it comes to protecting my family or looking out for my children, the chutzpah in me takes over and I can be downright feisty. Just ask my husband who’s close to me and knows my inner strength or the big kid at the playground who kicked my toddler down the slide (true story). The mama bear in me is strong and easily revved up if someone threatens my children. Do. Not. Test. Me.
Today I found myself asking myself why I was only considering my children to be the four children whom I carried in my womb and now live under the same roof as I do. Why wasn’t I extending my mama bear instincts to the rest of children – including the most fragile and precious ones of all? The tiny ones without a voice? The ones who need me to be a roaring mama bear if they have any chance of being heard?
It comes right down to fear, fear of being misunderstood, fear of rejection, fear that not everyone will like me, fear that I’ll offend someone even if I make every effort to express my opinions in a charitable way. It also can just be downright exhausting to put my pro-life views out there even when people are charitable about disagreeing. I just don’t have the time to ping-pong rational arguments back and forth.
But this mama bear is putting her fears and vanity aside and climbing, claws clenched, atop her soapbox today. I know for certain I have several pro-choice readers. I always welcome benevolent discourse, but I’m putting it on the record that I’m not going to feel like I have to defend anything I say here. Take it or leave it, my friends.
Like many of my fellow pro-lifers, I was thrilled when I heard the news that the breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure had announced it was ceasing to disperse all grants and further donations to Planned Parenthood. I never understood the relationship in the first place. One organization has a mission set on saving lives; the other one – no matter how many primary care health services it provides – destroys lives. And not just those of babies. I happen to know women whose past abortion haunts them and has caused emotional damage. I also have a friend who worked as a doctor in a city ER and had to treat several women with perforated uteruses that were the result of botched up Planned Parenthood abortions, so many women are left with more than emotional scars. She can’t understand why anyone in the medical community – no matter their views on abortion – would be against an investigation into an organization that provides medical services.
Now I’d like to believe the Susan G. Komen foundation is basing this recent decision on a pro-life stance. That’s what Planned Parenthood and others who immediately started politicizing this announcement are raging about – that Komen is choosing sides and has been bullied by the mean, old pro-lifers to stop supporting Planned Parenthood. Similarly, some of the pro-life announcements I’ve seen seem to think this decision is based entirely on pressure from the pro-life community. However, the way I see it is the non-profit organization’s new policy is a focused effort to be better steward of Komen’s resources. If your organization provides low-cost mammograms to women who need them, it will still be available for grants. Planned Parenthood offers manual breast exams in their clinics. It does not offer mammograms onsite. Instead, some Planned Parenthood locations provide grants to women to receive low-cost mammograms at other organizations. Why does Komen need a middle man? Why should Planned Parenthood receive money to give grants for mammograms to other organizations? Komen is wise to give the money directly to the clinics that actually give the breast cancer screenings rather than funneling it through Planned Parenthood (or any other establishment for that matter).
Likewise, I don’t understand why so many Planned Parenthood supporters are threatening to stop giving to Komen. Were you only giving to Komen to support Planned Parenthood, or were you interested in finding a cure for breast cancer and/or helping it to be detected early in women of all socioeconomic levels? You can still give to Komen and then also write a check directly Planned Parenthood. Opponents of the decision are arguing that Komen’s decision is going to reduce access to care to women who need lifesaving screening exams but as I pointed out above, this policy change really just removes an unnecessary middle man. The very people who are going to stop giving to Komen because of reduced access to care are the real ones who will be disenfranchising women looking for affordable breast screenings. If they’re not only concerned about the breast screenings, then, again, like I just said give directly to Planned Parenthood.
As for those of you who are pro-life and agree with Komen’s decision, make your voice heard. I have a friend who knows someone who works for the organization who left her job in tears yesterday because she spent the entire day answering the phone calls of angry people expressing their disdain for Komen’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood. She did not hear one single positive voice all day; no one on the other side of the issue took the time to applaud the organization for its decision to make saving lives its priority. I know many pro-lifers remain reluctant to make a donation because they’re unsure if this new Komen policy is set in stone. Others have argued that Komen still funds embryonic stem cell research, but this isn’t the case any longer. At any rate, if you’re not ready to put your money where your mouth is, then just use your mouth for now. Don’t feel like you need to write a check just yet, but do send email, write a letter, or make a phone call and say something positive about this turn of events.
Finally, if, like me, you happen to be a pro-life blogger, I wonder how you feel about being a part of the BlogHer Publishing Network now. I have no intention of partaking in any mud-slinging here. I’ve been honored to be a part of this Network for several years now despite the fact that the main page for BlogHer frequently pushes ideals I don’t subscribe to. But they do include a diverse group of voices in their networks and people who are on both sides of the fence politically and some who don’t even know or care that there’s a political fence. Whatever their views, the caliber of bloggers in this network never fails to impress me. BlogHer and its founders and employees have built word by word, blog by blog, a tremendous social media community. The Network has empowered women from all walks of life as well as given us a voice – and a very powerful one at that. I’m also extremely indebted to BlogHer for paying me to engage in something I love to do, especially since so many organizations fail to put their money where their mouths are and ask writers to blog for free (and I am trained journalist by trade; this is my work). Likewise, I’ve enjoyed other perks of being a part of BlogHer such as receiving free samples, gift cards, review opportunities, etc. The publishing network also offered you great freedom in choosing the type of ads you wanted to appear on your site, so if a certain product – something that wasn’t environmentally friendly, contraception, etc. – wasn’t something you’d want to support, you could refuse it.
But this freedom, the paycheck, the other perks, and the sense of community cannot make up for my recent unease. Yesterday I received a BlogHer newsletter with a headlined piece written by BlogHer co-founder and CEO Lisa Stone. She wrote,
You know where BlogHer stands: We’re non-partisan because we exist to create a global stage where our bloggers can be sopartisan. And as an American, I’m religious about your right to free speech, no matter what side of the abortion issue you embrace.
That said, I must also share that I am horrified by this turn of events, at a time when America’s health care lags at #37 and exhibits dramatic differences based on race and income. Just as women are about more than our breasts, so is health care for women about more than abortions. [emphasis hers] Especially the kind of primary health care that Planned Parenthood has been providing for years to women and children who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
I hope the Susan G. Komen organization is listening.
Non-partisan? Well, I’ve loved writing as part of the BlogHer Publishing Network. That said, farewell.
This wasn’t an easy decision. It’s not like I make tons of money from the affiliation, but it does have its perks and I’m just a peon standing up against a media-machine. I guarantee no one at BlogHer will be losing any sleep over the fact that that crazy, Catholic mama Kate Wicker is leaving the BlogHer Network. But change always starts out small doesn’t it? One rain droplet and there’s a ring of ripples on the glassy surface of a pond. One voice speaks up and says she won’t stand for this, and maybe others join her.
No, making the decision to break my affiliation with BlogHer wasn’t easy. Drafting this post wasn’t particularly easy either (partly because we’ve been engaged in some serious germ warfare around here, and I’m just wiped out), but last night I talked to a friend who stood up as the only vocal pro-lifer out of more than 100 students in a policy-making classes. That took courage, chutzpah, and she’s just starting to tap into her mama bear instincts. Her first baby is in utero, and she/he kept kicking every time someone mentioned Planned Parenthood. Courage must run in families.
If she could stand out like that, then I certainly could put this blog post out there and have the courage to leave the media megastar, BlogHer*.
So that’s what I’m doing. And I’m going to contact Komen, too, as I urged you to do above. I also ask other pro-women, pro-life bloggers out there to take a stand and step out of your comfort zone, even if you don’t usually blog about serious issues. Unleash your mama bear. We are all spiritual mothers whether we have our own children or not, and we owe it to them to speak up.
Now I just need to start my own publishing network that financially backs bloggers who are pro-life, pro-women, and new feminists. Seriously, it’s a good idea, isn’t it? I’d be all over it if I didn’t have four little ones who need a hands-on mama more than a media maven.
*Since BlogHer makes agreements with advertisers about how many blogs will be showcasing their ads, I’m not able to pull my BlogHer advertising immediately. In fact, I have to find out when my one-year contract ends, but I am only allowed to pull out after it ends after filing a 60-days written notice. I’ve already submitted my written notice and am waiting to see what the next step is.
Along with a lot of Internet surfers, I recently read this honest and poignant post about a mom who found herself in a “crisis” pregnancy that ended up giving her not only a new life in the form of a baby but a new life to live. (Her follow-up post about why offering a woman’s “choice” is not compassionate is excellent as well and worth a read.)
Calah of Barefoot and Pregnant (one of my new favorite blogs) writes,
When I got that positive pregnancy test, the one that changed my life, I was addicted to crystal meth.
And do you know what the people around me did? They didn’t take the secular line and say, “this baby’s life would be horibble. You’re unfit to be a mother. Better for it to not be born at all.”
But neither did they take the typical pro-life line in that situation and say, “you are clearly unfit to be a mother, but all you have to do is carry the baby to term and give a stable couple a wonderful gift.”
The Ogre said, “you’re a mother now, and I’m a father, and together we’ll raise our child.”
My parents said, “marry that man, and raise that baby. You’ve made the choices, you have to live with them.”
My friends said, “you screwed up, big time. But we love you. We’ll throw you a baby shower, buy you maternity clothes, and babysit while you finish your semester.”
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, being a newly-pregnant drug addict. But it gave me something to live for. Someone to live for.
Her post reminded me of something I wrote back in January that I never got around to polishing up or submitting for publication. Calah’s honest sharing of what helped her during this difficult time mirrored what a dear friend of mine who works intimately with women who are labeled as being in “crisis pregnancies” has always told me are the best ways we can best minister to these women. My friend’s wisdom was the genesis for the original article, which I posted below. Calah’s courageous post gave me the impetus I needed to put my words out there.
Thanks to all women and men who bravely choose life when a foolish society is telling them lies that there’s an easier way and many prayers to all those who are living with the scars of abortion.
Every January, even as the event is largely unnoticed by mainstream media, an overwhelming sea of humanity floods the streets of Washington D.C. and cities throughout the country to give the unborn a voice. Every year I catch glimpses of the event and am filled with hope. I’ve personally never been to the March for Life. I’ve never even been to a pro-life rally closer to home. I’m not sure why when I was younger, single, and had more time than I even realized, I didn’t set my feet walking (probably fear more than anything). Now the desire is there, and I pay close attention to the coverage, but I’ve found this season of my life (young motherhood) usually prevents me from abandoning the domestic front to be right there on the battle lines. There was one year when I was all geared up to go. Then a child cheeks became flushed with fever, and I was stuck at home feeling helpless and ineffectual.
Newly pregnant with my fourth child and still in the wake of a fairly recent miscarriage, I had to go in for an early ultrasound when I started to spot. And so I found myself nervously waiting in my midwife’s office during the same month people would be marching for life. Nervous about what I might see (or not see), I stared at the screen in the examination room, straining my untrained eyes to catch a glimpse of something hopeful and promising. It didn’t take long for my eyes to blur with tears – joyful tears – because I knew what I was looking at: My baby. On the chalkboard-like oval of darkness I saw a tiny cloud of white. Within the the dancing cloud there was a flash that kept pulsating. The ultrasound tech did not need to tell me the flash I was staring at was a heartbeat. We were looking at life at six weeks, growing stronger and stronger by the second.
I was overjoyed seeing this beautiful sight, but I was sad, too. I was reminded why so many Americans brave the bitter cold weather and march every January to give that flash of life more than a brief appearance on a grainy sonogram, to give that child a life, a chance to grow up.
I was also wistful that I wouldn’t be marching in D.C. that January. Yet, there’s still plenty I can do from behind-the-scenes to advance the pro-life movement.
There’s plenty all of us can do.
Some of us aren’t able to attend marches or peacefully protest outside of abortion clinics. Not all of us can pound the pavement in honor of the unborn. These acts send powerful messages, no doubt, but so does the mom with the swollen belly and the two little ones clinging to her legs who is beaming through the exhaustion. So does the man who goes to work and proudly announce he’s expecting another child.
So what does it mean to really be pro-life? It means strongly believing and strongly living a life that sends the sometimes subtle but always present message that human dignity begins from the moment of conception.
Here, several simple ways (no marching required) to send a powerful pro-life message :
Embrace new life within your family and in others.
By celebrating babies and pregnancies, we’re constantly sending the message that children are gifts from God to be cherished. As a mom to little ones, I’ve accepted I may not be able to join a March for Life every year (my job keeps me home a lot of times), but I can still send a pro-life message. The little baby growing inside of me right now is my pro-life badge, and I try to wear him or her with honor (even when I’m feeling green with non-stop nausea).
We also should show our support to any pregnant woman we encounter in our everyday interactions. I remember checking out at the grocery store and noticing the young cashier’s swollen stomach and tired face. “You look radiant,” I told her, and she did. “When are you due?”
She smiled at me and told me a little more about her baby and pregnancy.
Once I saw a pregnant mom trying to juggle a tray of food, a tired toddler, and a behemoth belly at a restaurant. I had my own gang with me, but I offered to help her with her tray. She didn’t accept my help, but she smiled and thanked me all the same.
I happen to go to a midwifery practice that also ministers to women in crisis pregnancies. Knowing this I always put on a happy face when I enter the waiting room (even if I’m feeling like a beached whale). Once my midwife told me that just smiling at a scared woman who might be afraid of the new life being knit within her can offer the gift of serenity. “I cannot count how many moms – always strong and loving Christian women – touched a girl’s heart in the waiting room,” she told me once. “I’ll have a girl come in and say, ‘There was a lady out there who had her kids with her, and they all smiled at me and said something nice to me.’”
No matter your gender or your station in life, be supportive of all pregnant women you see.
Be pro-life and pro-children.
Don’t stop supporting parents once their perfect babies turn into screaming toddlers. Smile at the mom of three (or four or 17) who looks overwhelmed at the grocery store. Hold the door for the parent entering the post office. Don’t gawk at the noisy family in the pew behind you at church. Instead, encourage them with an understanding or sympathetic smile. Thank all parents for bringing their children to church and to Jesus. Thank all parents period.
Dole out love and support, not judgment.
More than anything, women who have aborted their babies or are considering abortion need our prayers, our support, and our love. Resist the impulse to lecture someone who is pro-choice or any woman you might encounter who is considering abortion and instead offer them your love. If that sounds overly touchy-feely, that’s because it is. But once again my friend who has made it a part of her life’s vocation to get women to change their minds about having an abortion has offered me wise counsel and has told me time and time again that love, support, and kindness are what these women need far more than judgment, statistics, or bloody pictures of aborted babies.
Even from a strictly biological standpoint, it’s not natural for a mother to want to get rid of her baby. Maybe she wants to get rid of the pregnancy or the fear, but not the baby. (Even I sometimes disassociate pregnancy with the baby growing inside of me. “I hate pregnancy!” I’ll lament. But I don’t hate my baby.) Pregnancy and raising a child are hard even when you’re in a loving family and have what appears to be “ideal” conditions to welcome a child into the world (i.e., economically and emotionally secure and in a happy marriage). Add abuse, poverty, an addiction, depression, or the fact that you haven’t graduated from high school yet, and it’s tempting to be crushed under the weight of that tiny new life within you. Women lining up at abortion clinics are numb; they feel nothing. Or they are numb with feeling too much – too much fear, too much self-hatred. Women in crisis pregnancies might give reasons for considering abortion like, “My mom and dad will never approve.” Or, “My husband doesn’t love me.” Or, “I’m not fit to be a mother, not right now.” It’s pro-lifers job to convince them that we always approve of new life – no matter the circumstance – and that they are loved and capable of being mother to a child (or to another child). Love begets love. Let’s plant some love in them and hope it starts growing.
Maybe we’ll have the opportunity to directly minister to a woman in a crisis pregnancy and to show our love. Maybe not. But we all can pray for women and babies threatened by abortion.
Don’t make the baby the sin.
I’ve come across a fair share of pro-lifers who are eager to march and rally for life one day and then the very next they’re off shunning unmarried women or teenagers who are pregnant.
“What went wrong?” they say, sadly shaking their heads.
Nothing went wrong. Something went right! One of sex’s primary functions is procreation, to bring forth new life.
I’ve also heard of Catholic schools that force a pregnant girl to drop out of school or to be homeschooled (the same policy, interestingly, doesn’t apply to the young man who helped get her pregnant). That’s sending the wrong message. Let’s hide this sinful woman away. But all this is doing is suggesting that the baby – rather than the action that led to the miracle of the baby – is the sin. But a baby is never, ever a bad; a baby is a blessing even when it is conceived in pain or unexpectedly, outside of the Sacrament of Marriage, or without love.
As pro-lifers, let’s remember that saying “yes” to life brings new love, new potential, a new human being who can beat the odds to make his mark on the world.
Support pro-life causes.
Ideally, we should do more than write checks to further the pro-life movement, but if you’re unable to make your own voice and life a strong pro-life witness, then let others do the job for you. There are many worthy pro-life causes that work to save lives and minister to women in crisis pregnancies. To name a few: National Right to Life, Life Site, Birth Right International, Priests for Life, and Pro-Life Action League. Many local pro-life organizations that provide support to women and babies exist as well. Finally, there are numerous ministries to support women and families in search of healing after an abortion such as PATH (post-abortion treatment and healing) and Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries.
*If readers know of other pro-life causes, resources, and organizations devoted to helping people heal after abortions, please share them.
Support pro-life politicians.
View the scorecard pro-life roll call votes in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives for any Congress beginning with the 105th Congress (1997-98), up through the current 111th Congress (2009-10) here.