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By Michele Chronister, Catholic Exchange, February 5, 2019
The state of New York recently passed a law that guarantees women the “right” to have an abortion right up to birth at full term. The videos of this bill being passed are heartbreaking — a roomful of men and women clapping and cheering for the abortion of unborn children.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who was deeply, deeply saddened by this outcome. But what can we possibly do in the face of so much evil?
Of course, we can pray. We must pray. We can and should fast, too, in whatever way that we are able.
While it may seem inconsequential, the other way that we can respond is with truth. I am the mother of small children, and I am well aware of the fact that they are growing up in a world that lies about the truth of the human person. But one of the ways that we can combat those lies is just by continuing to faithfully tell the truth — to our children, to our friends, to our families, to those who follow us on social media.
The Charity of Speaking the Truth
The abortion debate in this country is fraught with emotion. Pro-life people are often (unjustly) accused of not caring about women. If someone speaks out against abortion, they are met with a barrage of questions, “Don’t you care about women? What if you were in that situation? How can you judge a woman in that situation?”
There is a difference between judging a person and disagreeing with them. Sometimes, disagreeing with someone makes the person we love feel angry or misunderstood. That shouldn’t stop us from speaking the truth.
Every parent understands that you may have to disagree and disappoint those you love because you love them. A loving parent sometimes disappoints a child, because they are trying to avoid that child experiencing even worse pain. In our relationships with friends and family, we will sometimes disappoint someone who disagrees with us, but speaking the truth is charitable when it is done to try to prevent further heartache or pain for our loved one.
In the discussion of abortion in this country, pro-choice advocates often say, “A woman has a right to decide when she is ready to become a mother. If she isn’t ready to become one, she should be permitted to have an abortion.” While I agree with the premise (I think that women can and should know about their fertility – through fertility awareness methods – so they can try to plan their pregnancies according), I disagree with the conclusion. Because the truth is, if a woman is having an abortion she is already a mother.
Although it isn’t a universal experience, many women who have abortions do feel sadness or grief. Many will say that they don’t feel regret (because they thought abortion was their best option), but they are still sad that they had to have an abortion. If you read articles and books written from the pro-choice perspective, many speak from the perspective of sadness, i.e., “No one wants this, but women feel like this is their only option.”
But the sadness and grief tells us something. It tells us that this is not an ideal choice. Obviously, it is disastrous for the life of the child, but it is also not good for mothers. Yet, our culture insists on re-wording things in such a way that the reality of the situation is denied. As one quote I read in the past few days reminded me, it isn’t as if the birth canal is a “magical tunnel” that makes someone a human being with rights. To deny that a child is a child before that point, it is necessary to skirt around the truth of fetal development. Which leads us to the fact that women deserve better than this.
Women Deserve Better
The reason why speaking the truth about abortion is especially charitable (other than the obvious fact that doing so may save the life of an unborn child) is that women deserve better. In reading accounts of women who have found themselves in unplanned pregnancies, there are several common threads. Some of these women were pressured into a sexual relationship before they felt ready. Others willingly engaged in intercourse, but were still terrified and unprepared to raise a child. But many wish there was an option other than abortion.
Of course, we know that there is. Abortion, although presented by the culture as freeing women from “losing” their lives to motherhood, actually leads to loss. Loss of a child, loss of the experience of pregnancy, loss of motherhood. It is, by its nature, loss.
What do women actually deserve? They deserve affirmation, love, and support. They deserve the truth. “You are a mother. You can do this. We will help. It’s okay to be scared. You aren’t alone.”
In a culture gone mad, we must continue to say this. We must continue to affirm that women – and their children – matter. We must continue to affirm that they deserve more.
Support the Culture of Life
Most major cities (and even many smaller ones) have women’s crisis pregnancy centers or homes for mothers that need some extra help getting through pregnancy and early motherhood. Find the one near you and support them. Many mothers truly desire to raise their little ones, and just need an extra boost. Be that extra support for them!
Another way to support the culture of life is to support foster and adoptive families (or discern the call to fostering or adoption). Support them and their children and birth mothers who decide that placing their child in an adoptive family is best for their little one.
But whatever you do — keep speaking the truth about life. It can be so discouraging to see legislation passing like the legislation that was just past in New York, but we can’t give up. The world may not understand, but take heart…Christ has conquered the world.
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