Who do you go for?

Of all the accusations hurled at pro-lifers though the years, I find this one most curious: that those against abortion care nothing about women or the issues surrounding pregnancy:
Think past the fetus and consider the systemic issues of children living in poverty, think of the women who died unnecessary, bloody and painful deaths. Pro-choice is not an immoral stance, it is a stance, which holistically considers multiple layers of moral decisions and the impact they have on others. People will find a way to have abortions whether or not you ban them, but that does not mean they will be safe.
"Pro-choice...holistically considers multiple layers of moral decisions." Wow. There's a stretch.

But that thought came to mind as Baby J and I arrived at Planned Parenthood yesterday during our 40 Days for Life time slot. A woman drove up and parked behind me as I was unloading the stroller from my trunk. She later introduced herself as Robin from a local parish, and we had a pleasant little pro-life tête-à-tête, as most of the prayer volunteers do.

Baby J and I then commenced our little ritual: I pray a rosary while pushing the stroller and, if good baby behavior and good weather permit, a Divine Mercy chaplet; he eats Cheerios and plays with an old cell phone, giving the occasional wave to a passing motorcycle.

At the end of our time slot, I saw that another woman had joined Robin, who was praying a rosary. The second woman didn't have a rosary, and as I was passing, I asked if she'd like to pray with my spare. She took me up on the offer. Robin then introduced her as Sandy, also sharing that she worked at the local crisis pregnancy center.

Wonderful, I said! But then Robin gave me a bit of a wink, and said, "Hey, show her those signs I saw in your trunk, Mary."

Hmm. Robin had sharp eyes. Inside my trunk, I keep two signs from the Silent No More awareness campaign--a subgroup of Priests for Life who encourage post-abortive men and women to share their pain and bring to light the bitter truth that yes, abortion really does harm women. While I had no qualms giving away one of my two signs, I didn't want to force a sign reading "Women Do Regret Abortion" on an unsuspecting gal. I said as much to them.

But then Sandy, in a voice low but firm, said, "Well, I am post-abortive, so I'd love to hold it."

Bam. Bam bam bam. Few times in my life have I gotten to talk with, pray with and hug a woman with an abortion in her past, but every time I do, I feel the grace of God's divine, healing, fulfilling, heart-filling love.

I am inspired by their courage. I am awed by their humility. I am chastened that my own heart can be so quick to judge. And I am renewed in my resolve to be at that abortion clinic.

You never know who are out there for: pregnant mothers, scared teenagers, or post-abortive women suffering silently. You never know who God is about to put in your path.

We must think past the rhetoric that an abortion is ever a good solution for a woman and her baby. We must think past the idea that poverty, poor medical conditions or other "hard cases" of moral severity justify the taking of innocent life.

Do pro-lifers stand in peaceful protest outside of abortion clinics because they care about unborn children and not pregnant mothers? Ask Sandy.

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