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.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Difference Does it Make?

I've been following the Gosnell coverage on Twitter and around the Catholic Blogosphere tepidly.  I am trying to exercise some caution for my tender soul as any foray too deep into the details has a strong likelihood of disaster.  I skim over the day's coverage, say a quick prayer, and then try to move on.  I follow the story with the hope that I'll start to see some kind of turn around in the abortion "debate."  How could somebody read the Grand Jury report and not completely change their thinking if they claim to be prochoice?  But that may be the reason nobody who is prochoice is reading it - for fear of what may happen.  Kind of makes the safe, legal, and rare argument null and void when you see what looks to be a very viable baby, a human being, with a hole in their neck just big enough for scissors to fit through in order to snip their tiny spinal cord.

I don't usually enter into the debate battleground because I'm not strong enough to defend my position without using the biggest weapon in my arsenal - the fact that I had an abortion.  Until I'm ready to engage with everything I've got, I think it's better for me to battle in ways that preserve my sanity - as fleeting as it may seem at times.

Today I came across a tweet by Live Action, that I followed to The American Thinker and an article entitled, Gosnell's 'House of Horrors'? What difference does it make? by Lauren Kathryn McCall.  [emphasis mine.]

The words uttered by a certain secretary of state emeritus keep coming to mind as I read the accounts of Kermit Gosnell's services in Philadelphia.   

Filthy equipment, underage and unqualified staff, bodies of children in orange juice containers, animals running loose.  One would think that is the greater scandal here.

I have an anaphylactic response to the premise of the outrage here.  What difference does it make?

The clinic I went to 30 years ago was immaculate.  The furniture was comfortable.  It was staffed by registered nurses and board-certified physicians.  There were warm smiles, cold utensils, and a professionally produced follow-up instruction sheet to accompany you out the door.  My baby was early first trimester, tiny in size. 

And I am sure that my experience is exactly the same as those of the clients of Gosnell's clinic.  The effect of destroying our own children and the consequent damage to our souls and society does not discriminate when it comes to hygiene, credential, or zip code. 

Or size of the baby.

One step out the door, and I am quite sure I would not have noticed -- or cared -- if the place was filthy or ill-staffed. 

The memory of paying a stranger to murder my own child, pretending to return to a normal life, and then subsisting  in a society of unfathomable contradiction and hypocrisy toward the unborn trumps any outrage about filth or licensure for me.   What difference does it make?

Almost thirty years ago to the day, I am exhausted from the pretense, denial, and fakery that is the post-abortive life.  Good God, if it were any different, I would question if I am still human!  Stories abound about the addiction, suicidal tendencies, and promiscuity that follow abortion.  Perhaps, though, the greater population of women are like me.  We returned to our careers, raised our families, and have tried daily to hide the consequences of misery and disorder that abortion has wrought in our lives.  Each day its shameful reality compounds to a degree that we struggle to comprehend.

As for the effects on society and our future generations, I can only shudder.  So I retreat to the aforementioned pretense and denial.  I wait for the headlines and feigned outrage to disappear.  They always do.  Reconciliation with my God, counseling, and spiritual support only mitigate the horror and pain I live with each day. 

So the fact that the place was filthy and the staff was unlicensed doesn't make a bit of difference to me.  Not a damn bit of difference at all.
"Ditto" doesn't express my endorsement of Ms. McCall's sentiments very effectively, but it was my first response.  Gosnell and the atrocities he has committed stir up rage within me and sadness and a certain knowledge that only those who have had an abortion truly understand. That knowledge is what leads me from the outrage to the realization that abortion is always an atrocity. A postabortive woman stands on the edge a great precipice of spurning Gosnell and condemning he and his minions to the very depths of hell for what they have done and condemning ourselves at the same time.  We all fall together.  What Gosnell has done - scandalous, atrocious and just plain evil - is really, not one damn bit different than the abortion I had.  The abortion I paid for.  The abortion I lay on the table for. The abortion I drove home from, the memory of which I stuffed into the dark corners of my mind and heart for decades.  My abortion was just as gruesome.  The instruments may have been cleaner (were they?)  The floors may have been scrubbed till the wax shone (were they?) It doesn't matter - my daughter was killed and deposited into a glass jar (piece by tiny piece most likely).  I don't know what happened to my daughter after I left the room.  Where did that jar go? I'll never know.  I have to find solace in the fact that her soul went to Heaven that moment and she never knew what the tearing of her tiny body felt like or how cold the jar was.

But, the truth remains, I don't know.  I'll never know what happened to Grace's body after I left.  Where do all the bodies go from all the safe and legal abortion clinics?  I'm sure that is something that no prochoicer ever wants the answer to.  Maybe if we investigated where all the bodies go - 12 weeks or 32 - people would start to see that's its all the same. Pristine procedure rooms and sterile instruments are just as bloodied by abortion.  It doesn't much matter if they started out clean or not.  Gosnell's evil is horrifying but it's no anomaly.  For every one Gosnell that is caught, I have no doubt dozens more are hurriedly cleaning up their own house of horrors before the feds show up, maybe a bit more hastily at the current moment. 

Abortion is abortion is abortion.  17 year old girl, 30 year old married mom of 3, rape victim, welfare recipient, or Main Line resident who believes the lie that their maybe trisomy 13 baby will ruin their life.  Abortion is abortion is abortion.  It kills a life and ruins those left to live their now "unencumbered" life.

So maybe my outrage over Gosnell is misplaced because my outrage is really about there being none to speak of when I walked in and out of the abortion clinic.  I drove home and continued on with my life.  I'm outraged over the severed baby feet in Gosnell's clinic and the snipped spines and I'm just as outraged over Grace's short life ending in a glass jar.  That's the reality of abortion - no matter where the babies end up, no matter if they are whole or in parts, the reality is they are dead. So, you are right Ms. McCall, there's not a damn bit of difference at all. 

Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei, miserere mei, peccatricis.


  1. Thank-you for writing this. I've found myself wondering the same things - why the outrage over this when abortion happens every day?

    I cannot imagine how difficult sharing so honestly is for you, I'm grateful to you for doing so. You are in my prayers daily.

    1. Thank you Rebecca for you words and your prayers. Yes, it's difficult but necessary.

  2. I think all of us who are post abortive are feeling this way. I love the line "Almost thirty years ago to the day, I am exhausted from the pretense, denial, and fakery that is the post-abortive life." She is right, it is exhausting, but time for healing must be taken as you would prepare for any battle. IT will come

    I had a saline abortion and saw my dead son..all I have been thinking is how was his death (or as was said any abortion) any less horrific than what Gosnell is not. The thing here is people can see if they dare to look, which as we know many are not because they cannot face the truth.

    Good op ed in the NY Post yesterday :


  3. For the difference you have made, a candle burns near the Sacred Heart statue in my parish...

    1. Humbled. I was just at adoration and wanted to light a candle myself but couldn't get in to do so. Thank you so much.

  4. I agree with all of you and am thankful that I am finally being honest with myself regarding the abortion I had 35 years ago. But I think what is important about the condition of the clinic is that pro abortion people for years have used the argument that legalized abortion protected women from back alley procedures that maimed or killed them. That was the justification for the law long before the whole "choice" movement got going.

    Be kind to yourselves girls.

  5. I totally agree with you, whats the difference. But I guess in other eyes its different because some of the babies were viable and could have survived. 17 years ago for me and I still regret it, I don't think I'll ever stop thinking out it daily. Wish I would have made a better choice and not listened to my mom. I have 3 children now and my youngest is 8 months old and every time I hold him I think gosh I killed my 1st born..... I've gone to the Rachel's Vineyard Retreat but it still eats me up inside. I really appreciate your blog and all your insight, its nice to know other women that have been through the same.

    1. Am praying with you for the grace to forgive your Mother, too. God bless you and thank you for your ministry.

  6. Thank God I had never have an abortion and I fell sorry for those whom had done it. These horrifc things in most of the cases happen because a lot of this girls and women are misinformed about what abortion is really about its hard to say it but is allowing a doctor who is suppose to save lives to kill that unborn baby girl or baby boy that God put in your womb. I don't mean to hurt nobody or to make your regret worse but to advice those who are thinking about taking away one more life. I'm sure that must of these women would act differently if they had hear the baby's heart beat or had seeing their baby in a sonogram. Also what bather me the most is when the mother advice their daugther to do such a horrible thing. Once you got pregnant there is not choice but to have your baby, before you got pregnant you could choose to have or not to have sex that should be your only choice. If they would tell each of you the effects after an abortion you girls would continue with your pregnancy. But God is merciful and forgive you when you open your heart to him, there is hope, remember that Jesus died for you, for your unborn son or udaugther and for all of us sinner. God love you with eternal love you are his most precius child. Our mother Mary also love you very much. Forgive yourself Jesus already did it.

  7. Tweeted my response:
    to Mark Shea's shout-out to your post:

    While in any event there is no logical difference, God sometimes renders the facts with a rhetoric and grammar aimed at a particular audience that has not yet heard the still small voice. Myself, I didn't realize how emotionally exhausted I was from my incessant #Gosnell tweeting until the following day, realizing in order to teach the teens in my CCD confirmation class I had to consciously thaw my heart out from the deep freeze I had assigned it to with my mind hardened to the wall of indifference so prevalent out there.
    I taught on the Exodus plague/deliverance passages pointing out parallels between blood of the lamb and the Lamb of God as fulfillment of Passover (using excerpts from "Prince of Egypt"). I was able to help the kids connect the dots with the news reports of evil from our city of brotherly love and the sins of slavery then equates with sins of neglect of human dignity now. I didn't have to revisit the particulars (age range makes that inappropriate) the astute animation device of candles being snuffed out as the Angel of Death visits each family where poignant enough. Many questioned why God would kill the innocent, and my Easter answer: he took them home to Him, like He his own Son on Good Friday to teach Pharoah the lesson, to let My people go!
    The cognitive dissonance of such cold facts, our relationship to them, and how we affirm or reject or simply ignore them is what counts: not mere "logic" but rhetoric and grammar of any event we encounter. We have to be on God's side in the proposition of rhetoric we make, and we have to be willing to affirm everyone made in the image of God (even those adversaries incapacitated by their intellectual prejudices). Perhaps this time in history is especially for them, not for us? Their hearts need conversion the most. Arguing over "logic" isn't very meaningful - it looks like we're indifferent to the plight of the actual real-lived contingencies of the women who sought out his services, we cannot simply abstract ourselves that way, that's an illusion of the Deceiver.