I am not usually one to join public rallies- yet I will be getting on a train to Washington, D.C. early tomorrow morning to join the March for Life on Friday. Why pick this time to become a joiner? There are a host of reasons:
- I am marching to honor my father. He was a wonderful dad who passed away when I was 24 years old. He was a pretty permissive parent- in many ways a product of the ’60’s and ’70’s. But the one area that he was unwavering on was that of abortion. When I was a (pretty wild) teen, he said to me- “If you ever find yourself pregnant, just come to me and we will work it out. I would love to have the “pitter-patter” of little footsteps in the house again. But if you have an abortion, you will have killed my grandchild, and I can’t live with that.” I was so blessed to have parents that took this view- not blaming but appealing to higher values. I have many friends who had abortions either at the insistence of their parents, or to avoid being disowned by their parents should they discover their child was pregnant. I have encouraged my sons to do the same if they were to have a girlfriend who became pregnant- or any friend for that matter who needed help. A message of acceptance and forgiveness- and hope!- for women and men who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy on their hands is so important. I march to encourage parents and adults to guide teens and others in difficult circumstances to choose life.
- I have 3 living children, and two children in heaven who I am eager to see face to face when the time comes. With both of the babies that I lost, the doctors tried very hard to convince me to abort. In the first case they thought his medical condition was incompatible with life (while they were wrong about that, he was born prematurely and didn’t survive). With my second loss, my obstetrician was sure I wouldn’t survive the pregnancy and refused to be my doctor for any service other than an abortion. So I found a nice orthodox Jewish doctor who didn’t believe in abortion, and we worked at this together. The baby did die, and I did not. While I grieved for both losses, I felt that I did all I could – so I was at peace. I know that had I followed the doctors advice the result would have been the same- the babies would be dead- but I would spend the rest of my life with the weight of guilt on me. I march to encourage doctors to not put pressure on patients to make decisions that will have far reaching negative ramifications for the rest of their lives.
- I believe that the Catholic Church’s unwavering support for life – from conception to natural death, is a beacon of hope for the entire world. While this march is about putting an end to abortion, I also think it is equally about raising awareness of the sanctity of all life- people who are oppressed, poor, disabled, elderly- everyone. The reason that the Catholic Church has the most hospitals in the world, has the most schools in the world, provides charity through Catholic Charities more than most other charitable organizations, is that the focus is on the value of all life. While not all Catholics agree on all social policy- and that is ok- the one area that the Church is firm and unwavering on is it’s stance against abortion. As a devout Catholic I march in solidarity with the Church.
- I strongly believe that abortion is the civil rights issue of our day. Living in New York City – the abortion capital of the United States, it is heart breaking that more black children are aborted than born. We are killing our future. We need to stop. In other countries the issue is the desire for boys that is causing girls to be killed in utero. This can’t be positive for the future of our world. I march that parents will prayerfully consider the value of their child, recognizing that there are sacrifices that will come with raising a child in difficult circumstances, or in giving up a baby for adoption.
- The women I know who have had abortions are wonderful people, mothers and friends. They are people I love – and I want them to know that there is healing, not blame. Whether it was parents forcing them to have an abortion, a situation that seemed untenable to them financially or emotionally, or the fear of raising a child with disabilities, or a doctor or partner that pressured them- whatever the reason, there is forgiveness. Our God is filled with Mercy as well as Justice- but he is there in Reconciliation to hear the broken hearts and to respond in Love. I march for my friends and their babies in heaven – and for healing.
Please pray for all of us at the march for safety and for expressing views on this difficult topic with grace and love.