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.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Win the Prolife Fight

I normally stay far away from the political areas of the prolife "fight."  The main reason being that the most effective weapon I have in my arsenal is the fact that I am a postabortive woman, but this weapon I can not bring to bear outside of this keyboard.  So, I choose to fight the good fight with the story of my journey, prayerful and hopeful that my story helps someone, somewhere, at some time.  I also tend to stay out of it because I'm not always sure who my enemy is, the prochoicer or the prolifer.

That being said, I have entered a bit into the prolife movement since beginning my journey.  My attendance is regarded as just another prolife Christian and usually no one knows the real reason I'm present.  I attend a prolife mass often and take part in a silent, prayerful witness outside of an abortion clinic.  I've attended the March for Life the last two years.  And, although I'm not carrying a sign that reads, "I regret my abortion," my Father in Heaven sees me and knows the intention of my heart.  I am hopeful that my physical presence, as just one of many others, is enough to help to someday turn the tide.

When I take part in any public prolife events with my secret harbored in my heart and mind, I brace myself for any kind of words or rhetoric that would cause me pain, or worse, doubt, or even worse yet, despair. My concerns are rarely, if ever, unfounded.  I look around and try to imagine that there are women and men around me who harbor the same secret since, statistically speaking, there just have to be.  I've seen the prolife signs and graphics that state the safest place for a baby should be in their mother's womb.  Well, I think that the safest place for a postabortive person would be at a prolife event.  Sadly, this is not the case.

I've written before about the use of graphic abortion signs and how I feel about them, but sadly, some in this fight will argue their effectiveness until they are blue in the face.  They can keep arguing about it, I think they are wrong, but I can't stop them.  They're still wrong.

If you've read my blog before you know that I'm a Lord of the Rings fan.  If you are familiar with the story, in the final installment of the trilogy, the good guys are in their last ditch effort to save all of mankind and the odds are not good.  Aragon needs to find the numbers to win the war, and where he goes to find them is not a popular decision.  Aragon himself is horrified at the thought of even asking these "murderers" to fight along side him.  He must go to summon the Army of the Dead, he must face the evil he believes them to be, evil, murderous, traitorous men who are bound in limbo because of their actions.  Aragon promises them release from their debt if they choose to fight with him.

The army agrees and the epic war is suddenly over when the ships carrying them dock and dead men pour out like a crashing waves against the bad guys, destroying all in their path. 

Redemption is a powerful motivator.

That's how I see the postabortive people in this world being the key to the prolife "fight."  55 million abortions in the United States in the past 40 years - 55 million babies translates to 55 million possible foot soldiers in the prolife fight.  55 million.  Even though the prochoice crowd has been chanting for 40 years about how abortion is a choice and a right - those who have chosen to exercise that right mostly remain in the shadows or in secret.  Few stand up and shout from the rooftops how fantastic is is that they chose abortion, fewer still stand up and shout how they regret their choice.

Why? Because the prolife fight can be one of the most scary and dangerous places for a postabortive person.  Whether you are public about the fact that you had an abortion and bearing a sign that says so or holding it secret in your heart, when standing in a sea of hundreds of thousands of prolife people, there remains a fear that the same, smiley, happy Jesus-loving people will unleash their wrath upon you. A wrath that sometimes simmers just below the surface. 

I'm not saying that every person at the March for Life or any event is capable of rendering harm to a postabortive person, nor has the desire to do so.  But, I can say that just about every one of my prolife experiences in the last couple of years has had moments that have triggered the fight or flight endorphins in my brain.  The first year I attended the March for Life, there was a gentlemen chaparoning our group, a member of the Knights of Columbus no less.  As we were walking he struck up a conversation with some folks behind me and began a very vocal condemnation of women who have abortions with the typical, "they should just say no to sex, keep their legs shut!"  His conversation lasted for a good 15 minutes with all of his opinions spouting about women who have an abortions.  Granted, he had no idea that a postabortive woman was walking right in front of him.  But, what if he had known?  What if he hadn't known, but he acted as if he was surrounded by post abortive women anyway?  What if at the rally before the March - he heard compassionate words regarding postabortive and those words sunk into his heart and soul?

What if every speech, at every pro life rally or event, began with mention of the postabortive and their pain and struggle and more importantly about the mercy of God?  When I do hear the postabortive mentioned at events - it's sadly an afterthought, as in "and... we can't forget about the women who have had abortions."  I think the postabortive should be the first mentioned.  What the man behind me at that first march wasn't aware of was millions of abortions happen as a result of coercion by parents, boyfriends, husbands, lovers, or friends.  Millions more occur out of fear and anxiety over hopeless prenatal diagnoses given by doctors.  Millions of abortions happen because the woman feels she has no choice at all.  And yes, millions of abortions happen because a pregnant women decides to exercise her right to have her pregnancy terminated, but that woman too deserves sympathy because she has bought into the lie and is a victim of the Culture of Death.  People like that man behind me need to be told these facts, over and over and over again.

All of the postabortive, regardless of the circumstances that led them to having an abortion, all of us deserve love, compassion, and mercy which we receive in abundance from God.  Who we need it from also is the prolife movement.  What would we be capable of then?  What if every flyer and every poster and every email blast for a prolife event invited first and foremost, the postabortive.  Invite us to come in secret or with our Silent No More signs.  Either way, assure us that the words spoken will be words of love and mercy.  Assure us that you will do everything in your power to make sure we are not harmed by word or deed.

The comment below is one I received on my blog post The Story of My Abortion:
"You. Make. Me. Sick. I sincerely hope you die a death as horrible as your unborn baby did. Good riddance."
I wonder how my events the above "prolifer" attends during a year?  I wonder how many other postabortive women she's said the same words to?  I've received a lot of comments on my blog since I began writing it - this is one that I can quote word for word.  It's the comment the Devil whispers in my ear when I board the bus to the March for Life.  It's the comment he whispers to me when I sit down to write this blog.  Thanks be to God for the strength to shake the words off and continue on, but there are days when I'm unable to shake those words off and they play in my ears like a sinful, sweet melody.

There has been talk recently about how to engage the prochoicers instead of preaching to the choir.  My suggestion to the prolife movers and shakers - there's another choir you are ignoring.  Engage the postabortive.  Engage us with love, and compassion, and mercy free from any semblance of judgment regardless of why we had an abortion, whether we had an abortion 26 years ago or yesterday.  Be at the ready, with open, loving arms, to embrace us with the knowledge that there is no judgment here.

How could the main stream media resist if the March for Life numbers swelled from hundreds of thousands to millions?  The prolife movement is self-defeating.  You are either ignoring or alienating your toughest, largest, and what could be your most passionate, ally.

Make it the mission of every prolife event to be, first and foremost, an ocean of mercy towards those most harmed by abortion, the women who have them.  What an army it would be - 55 million strong with all of the children lost interceding with and for their mothers.

Then maybe there is a chance for victory.

You. Make. Me. Sick.
I sincerely hope you die a death
As horrible as your unborn baby did.
Good riddance. - See more at:


  1. I haven't read any of your other post, but my heart breaks for you. You certainly have some great points--the prolife movement definitely needs to engage the women that have come face-to-face with abortion, be it through coercion or otherwise. I'm sorry that you may find yourself bombarded by insensitive remarks.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and bringing up these points. I pray daily for post-abortive women and I am sorry you have had to endure the pain of such comments. I hope pro-lifers remember to treat everyone with love!

  3. I agree that we need to make any pro-life event a haven of mercy. I don't know if it helps at all, but I remember when Katrina of "The Crescat" first told her story, one of the first comments (not on her own site) was something similar to what you got (accusing her of being evil and prostituting her child or something). A bunch of people replied with calls for love and mercy and it turned out rather quickly that the person was a pro-abortion troll who simply hated the honestly of the harm that abortion does to the mother as well as the baby. Still a horrible comment that you got, but perhaps not from any actually "pro-life" person and maybe easier to ignore if it's possible that it didn't reflect what people around you at pro-life events are thinking (not that there aren't crazies out there, sometimes, it seems, in the pro-life circles more than others b/c we'll take the "imperfect" folks too...)

  4. I pray for you and encourage you. All of us start from different points,
    make mistakes along the way, but we are headed in the same direction: towards
    God, with God. Thanks be to God for our rescue.

  5. Instead of that ugly comment above, I prefer this one:

    God. Makes. Us. Well. I sincerely hope you feel God wrapping His arms around you as surely as He has your unborn baby. God bless.

  6. I also am a postabortive woman but I do not tell people unless my experience will provide a specific witness to a specific person. I attend prolife events regularly and none of my fellow prolifers has ever uttered a negative word about those of us who made the wrong "choice." I guess everyone's experience is different. I am very outspoken and maybe would have told that rude man in hopes of opening his heart to this issue. I consider my abortion wound to be something I may well wear into eternity. Like Jesus's Five Pecious Wounds, He still has them after the resurrection because those wounds are what makes Him our Redeemer. My wound makes me the prolife person and witness to the love, forgiveness, and mercy God has given me. When I get negative comments from people, which happens at every prayer vigil for life, I immediately pray for the conversion of that person. And I remember Jesus telling us we would be hated for His Name's sake. I will keep you in my prayers. Peace be with you.

  7. Hats off to your bravery, your words drip with honesty and come straight from the heart! I praise you for helping women and maybe even men by sharing not only the initial story, but of your continued life long story, as the abortion isn't a one time medical procedure, but a decision that is carried forever, no matter who made the decision. Thank you so much for pointing out that the angry words that were posted to one of your blogs were the words of the devil. I'll be praying for your continued strength! God Bless, and Thanks Once again!

  8. I think Pro-life movement would gain more support from men if we include them in our posters, articles, meetings, talks, etc.

    There are so many men who "aborted" their children after they placed them in the womb of the woman they love.
    Men are suffering so much after they killed their children...

  9. I am an "almost" postabortive woman, as the mother of a mentally challenged child i became unexpectedly pregnant at a late age and all the "information" out there was that it was highly likely that the child I was carrying would have some "problem" Scared and ill informed and knowing that my husband did not want any more kids, and feeling trapped,,,, I decided to have an abortion, the morning of I woke up and my legs were like water. We passed a sign on a church lawn that said "Respect LIFE" It made me cringe,,,,I went to the clinic and sat in the packed and suprisingly jovial waiting room, Thank GOd it took so long because my husband couldnt take it and said come on lets take a walk,,,, so little did I know his plan was the get the heck out of there! He said come on get in the car. We both got in the car and cried and fell very deeply for one another, like we never have before (this was my third pregnancy). We left and never returned.

    Now everyday I see the wonderful beautiful life that I almost destroyed and praise GOD that my husband turned us around. If I think too hard about it I will burst into tears. I feel as though just the thought of considering it was as if I did it and seeing that beautiful face everyday was a constant reminder of how precious life is. And believe it or not I was then and now,,,,against abortion.....I know it sounds weird, but I dont know how I could consider it if I was against it, it was just my thoughts at the time. I too feel like I have this horrible secret. I want so badly to tell my daughter everytime she gets me mad, what I went through to bring her into this world. But then I just calm down and realize what a beautiful gift she is and smile and hug. Because that's all that matters.

    I feel like I want to save all those women thinking about abortion, from the worst mistake of their life, like my husband saved me. Maybe that is all it takes is someone to save you from the decision, to shed new light, to tell you its all going to be okay. To show some love an compassion. I know so many women who had abortions because they had no one to love them enough to save them from it. It is very sad.

    1. Quite a story you have to tell....had me in tears as I am a post abortive woman. To me some of the centers that counsel woman who have unwanted pregnancies should think about having a woman like myself to help with the counseling. WE may be able to share our stories and change a woman's decision to abort. I am so glad that you and your husband chose life for your daughter.

    2. I'm anonymous only because I'm too tired to go look up a password, but I just had to respond to you. Bless you and your husband for the generous decision you made. I don't know how old your daughter is, but it might be a priceless gift to her one day to tell her, when you're both calm and she's receptive, how close you came to losing her and how glad you are that you didn't take what looked like such an easy way out. She will be exposed to the issue, either personally or with a friend, and your story might make a critical difference. Again, bless you!

  10. Thank you for your thoughts. I will just say that maybe you are wrong about the graphic signs. I think they have a time and a place for use. I have several post-abortive friends who support their use so not every woman who has aborted thinks the way you do. I have seen them change hearts as well. They work. In the right place and time which isn't everywhere.

    1. If I go into a Holocaust museum then I go in fully aware that I will see horrifying images. But if I am a young mother with my small children in a march or heck, just walking around (because marches do take place in actual cities where people live), then I did not consent for those children to see horrific images. What about pregnant mothers? Mothers who just had miscarriages? Children who just lost a little brother or sister? That's why open air public arenas are just not good places to carry graphic signs. PTSD is a real thing, and just because something "works" does not make it the compassionate choice. If we have all knowledge but have not love....

  11. Thank you for your courage in speaking out. When Satan taunts me with my past I remember Psalm 103:12 " As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us." and Hebrews 8:12 "For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more." God forgives and forgets our repented sins, and we are called to imitate him in our relationships with others. May you feel God's loving embrace.

  12. I watched the Walk for Life on EWTN and a lot of people were holding signs saying they regret abortion or they regret lost fatherhood. Signs for Rachel's Vineyard (post-abortive healing) and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. The post-abortive community is a huge part of the pro-life movement.

    People who judge are trying to feel superior. They do not know what post-abortive women have gone through. First, the horrible act itself... most abortions (64%) are done because of coercion, not because of "choice." And then the regret of loss, knowing they killed their own child is so painful. No insults the judgmental types throw can even come close to the pain felt by a post-abortive woman, regardless of whether or not it was really her choice to have that abortion.

    We need to reach out to post-abortive women with love and compassion. Most women (over 70%) do regret their abortions and those numbers increase with time... not necessarily the 21-year-old who had an abortion two years ago, but almost definitely the middle-aged woman who is looking back on what her life should have been.

    If you have already gone to Confession and are sorry for your sins, God has forgiven you. If a voice in your head tells you that you deserve to be ripped apart like your child was, remember that God has forgiven you, your little one has forgiven you, and you will meet a new son or daughter in heaven. Use those times to focus on Jesus and perhaps ask your child to pray for you. Divine Mercy, Jesus forgives. You repented so you will escape being ripped apart in hell by demons.

  13. At a young age I helped a family member who came to me for help get an abortion. 30 years later my grief is still with me. She doesn't know how it has affected my all these years but I can't even imagine what she feels. - Jason

  14. I don't think my comment posted. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for writing and sharing your story. I am so sorry for the hateful things that were said to you. And I am so sorry for the loss of your child. I am a bereaved mom, our son was killed in a car accident, so I know a mother's grief. You are absolutely right, the pro-life movement needs an overhaul, it seems to be absent of love and mercy. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  15. Thank you for sharing your heart-- what courage that takes after all you have been through. The ignorance and literal evil you have had to face because of people's blindness and their clinging to ideology over love is just awful--peace be with you--and thanks again for offering a "window" into your experiences.

  16. I am glad you are writing and using the truth of your experience to touch others. I never had an abortion, but I remember when I discovered I was pregnant with my 6th child concieved in a loving stable married relationship, I knew the feelings of anxiety and fear that may motivate many abortions. I have been blessed with a strong moral compass and the gifts that come from an active sacramental life, and yet I was sorely tempted with the lies about this child and my ability to go through with the pregnancy. Anyone who sees the mothers and fathers who choose abortion as wholey other, have not really known themselves. We all have the capacity for great evil and it is really through the grace of God that we resist. God's mercy is an ocean! Trust in God! Jesus I trust in you! These words are a mighty weapon against the slithering tongue full of lies!

  17. Thank-you for your thoughtful words. I'm sorry you have endured so much suffering. You remind us all that we are fighting to prevent future abortions, not sanction the post-abortive mother or father.
    Coming from the perspective of a high school teacher, I am at the preventive end. To that end, the truth about abortion is the best vaccine. For this reason, the pictures of aborted fetuses, etc, that so offend you (rightfully and sorrowfully), are very helpful in getting the truth out in a culture that bends over backward to hide it. I hope you can understand the goal is not to increase your pain, but to prevent it on future women.

  18. Our Father, Who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be Thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. Amen.