The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Reflections on My 2nd March for Life

Wow, I can't believe it's been a little over 2 weeks since the March for Life.  Life has been zooming by lately.  I guess it does all the time, but it just seems more so now for some reason. I guess the good part is, I've had some time to let my second March for Life experience sink in.  This time I knew what to expect for the most part, but there were still happenings that came out of nowhere.  We had twice the number of people in our group this year and I had a good friend along with me.  She doesn't know anything about my abortion at all, but still it was comforting to have someone to talk to to keep me grounded a bit.  We did talk about the abortion debate for a little while.  I was mostly silent on the subject because I'm still not sure how to talk about it all without outing myself when the whole justification for my being prolife is my very own story.

One of the good priests from our parish was along too which lent much comfort to me personally - just to have him nearby.  This particular Good Father, who I just love to pieces, does know about my journey and even though we didn’t discuss it during the day, it was a comfort to know that someone with me knew why I was there even if our solidarity was in silence.

The time leading up to the March was probably the most difficult to endure really with all the hoopla and the Catholic blogosphere being lit up with abortion 24/7.  Not the main stream media – of course, but everything I usually tap into on a daily basis was all abortion - all the time.  I was really excited a day earlier in the week before the march though when I noticed super-blogger, Simcha Fisher, had mentioned and tagged my blog in her post, "Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Abortion Images at the March for Life."  Now, I will have to forgive Mrs. Fisher for her choice of words that actually linked to my blog.  The words she chose were "the thing that often keeps them in decades-long cycles of self-loathing and despair."  The phrase was just kind of ironic and funny at the same time.  Although 100% true and on the money - on a bad day those words could have sent me in a tailspin.  All this time writing this blog and I'm still just "self-loathing and despair!"  But, not this day.

Who cares how she referred to me!  Wow, I thought.  The Simcha Fisher, I love her!  In the same post, Simcha tagged Katrina Fernandez over at The Crescat who posted in the same week, "How The Nine Days of Prayers Comforted Me While I Fought Demons..."  Wow, now I've really made it, I thought.  This is huge!  How many people may read my story and, I don't know, do something!  Maybe they'll go to the March for Life now.  Maybe they'll put down their ugly signs!  I'm making a difference!

I kept an eye on Simcha’s post and the combox for a few days.  Quickly, my inbox was filling up with responses to Simcha’s post and then personal emails to me.  The good, the bad, and ugly of all that occurs on the internet happened the next few days.  Then the sedevacantists got a hold of my blog again and oh how they love to tell me I’m going to hell and my entire belief system is flawed and meaningless.

I decided to write one response in the combox and then leave it for good because there was nothing I could do or say that would change some minds.  The level of anger and self-righteousness sometimes hidden or even proudly out in the open under the prolife banner frightens me.  We will never win this fight with so much derision and we all know who is happy about that fact.  The graphic pictures are what I was most braced for at the MFL and I knew they were coming.  So, I decided to be grateful for Simcha's recognition, turned the comment moderator back on on my own blog, and continued to prep mentally for the March on Friday.

Like last year, riding on a bus full of youth does not lend itself to deep self reflection and discovery.  It doesn’t lend itself to much aside from some giggling and silent prayers for them.  The highlight of the bus trip down though was when our “Bus Captain,” gave a little talk about the march and why we were all there, etc.  He had talked about himself and his own conversion from an in-your-face, prolife radical who yelled and screamed and had little sensitivity to those who may have been through it and he didn’t know the circumstances.  He mentioned that postabortive women and men would be at the march and encouraged sensitivity and understanding and said that they should get a “big hug” if happened upon. I wanted to get up and hug him right there.  I wondered what changed his mind over his journey?  Perhaps one day I’ll have to ask him, but not yet.

When we arrived in Washington, I was excited and glad to be back again.  When we got closer to the National Mall people were handing out literature and signs.  The first thing someone handed me – a little card with a prayer on one side and what on the other?  A very graphic, very bloody, color photograph of a tiny baby, in pieces, as the result of an abortion.  Awesome, I thought.  Is this an omen? A sign? Should I just pack it in now?  Good Lord.  I have to admit, against the rules of the MFL, I littered and dropped that card to the ground and walked on.  I didn’t know what else to do and I had to just let it go, so I did - literally. 

A great addition to the rally before the MFL this year was the giant video screens so you could actually see the speakers.  The format was awesome this year too and the selection and variety of speakers was great.  Kudos to the all the politicians who have come before in support – but the change up this year to fewer politicians and more prolife activists and leaders was a good one, especially for the youth to see. 

And then my favorite, dear Georgette Forney, a Pittsburgh girl herself who currently lives in the town I grew up in (small world), took the stage in her bright red hat.  It gets me every time she speaks that her voice still cracks, the pain remains, but look at all she has done.  She is such an inspiration to me.  Behind Georgette stood about a dozen of Silent No More witnesses, all bundled up and holding their “I regret my abortion” signs.  As Georgette spoke, the tears ran, and I thought I wish I was up there with her. I could do that. I could hide behind that sign.  But that’s just it, if I was up there, I don’t want the sign to hide behind, I want to be bold about it, I think.  I’ll get there.  Some day.  Maybe.

After the rally comes the march itself.  Such a mass of people from all over the country.  It's crazy.  I love seeing all the signs, and people, and where they are from.  I love all the priests and sisters and friars, and young people.  When I would start to get cold or sore from walking, an elderly person would go by using a cane so I would try to stifle my complaining.  I could have it a lot worse.  I think the only change I would make for next year is to strike out on my own and head to the Supreme Court and just plant myself there until it's time to get back on the bus.  I'd love to stay in one spot and just let the whole march flow right by me.

I was tweeting throughout the March and that was an added feature for me this year.  Also new this year was the feeling that I belonged there, that I had a right to be there, that I had a voice if I chose to use it.  I knew that there were people at the March who knew me through my blog, who had read my story.  Some could have been standing right next to me and I wouldn't have known, but they are aware of me.  Even the nut jobs who send me horrific emails - they read my story so even if only for a split second there was a pause in their thinking - good.
This year I added to my hat the little pin of baby feet, pink for Grace.  The pin is the exact size of a 10 week old baby's feet.  Grace was just about 12 weeks when I lost her. I also pinned to my hat an angel that someone had given me when my second daughter was born.  She and I share the same birth month, and Grace would have too most likely, had she lived.  

I left the march that day invigorated about my place in this prolife fight, buoyed by the enthusiasm of the youth and hopeful for a turn of the tide.  Time will tell what happens next, but I definitely have more work to do on all fronts.  Whenever I feel like my story is done and my journey through, He gives me more reasons to keep going, sometimes with a change of direction, sometimes a gentle nudge, or a giant shove, but all the same the feeling remains to keep going, keep moving forward.  I have a purpose in all of this and I have to trust in that even though I don't know all the details or the grand plan behind it all.

As I departed the bus late that night, the Good Father said to me, "You did a good job today."  It wasn't just him speaking, I know.  You're right, Lord, I did do a good job today, all because of You.  What's next?


  1. This is beautiful. Yes, you did a good job, and sharing it continues it. Thank you for sharing your story and your Grace.

  2. Good for you for sticking with it. And even if you weren't on stage baring your soul for all and sundry, you were THERE. That counts.

  3. Thank you too for your story. Your story is my story, but of course, the details are a bit different, but in the end...the saddness is the same. I encourage you to keep listening to the Lord, the same as I have been doing and whether they be baby steps or giant leeps in sharing your story...keep moving forward. God is with you as all the other women who regret their abortions and live the pain of that decision. This year, I am stepping out and talking at my son's college and I know that God will be beside me as He has guided me to this place. Ordinarily, I could never "out myself" to such an extent, but it's time and God will bless me for it. We are all in this together. Thank you...

  4. Thank you for your courage. You are an inspiration.