Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mother figures and abortion -- week one, 40 Days for Life

I've been thinking all weekend about out first 40 Days for Life prayerful protest in front of the abortion clinic. Typically, the time I cover is relatively event free; but for last years gas leak which changed the traffic pattern, we get very few cars, and see very few people. It's peaceful and prayerful. We pray the Rosary, chat to each other, smile while we hold our pro-life signs and make sure the kids are happy.

Yesterday, something was different. The mood seemed a little heavier somehow. I chalked it up to the ominous clouds that were moving in overhead. We started to pray the Rosary, and by the second decade, a reason for the heaviness appeared as an older woman and girl, late teens to early twenties, exited the building. The girl was crying and was in obvious discomfort having trouble walking. The woman -- mother figure -- was whispering to her and rubbing her back gently. It looked so loving, so disturbingly loving.

My heart sank, my voice raised up the Hail Mary we were saying, hoping the young woman could hear that the Mother who truly cares about her was not the one who had just taken her to abort her baby. A sick feeling came over me, a pain in my gut and a sorrow so deep. I shot a quick glance at one of my friends hugging her son close to her leg, and the other with her young daughter wrapped in a baby carrier nestled close to her chest. The feeling was reinforced by those images, and the knowledge that the young mother had freely chosen never to hold, love or nurture the child she had just destroyed.

As if to soothe us, from what we had just encountered, a very enthusiastic tractor trailer leaned on his horn and fired several loud blasts of appreciation our way. We all looked up a little startled and smiled at him. Then, leaned our surprised heads back down and prayerfully moved to the next Hail Mary with our voices a bit more spirited.

It only takes about 15-20 min. to say the Rosary through from the Apostles Creed to the Hail Holy Queen. As we reached the end of our Rosary, it happened again. Another mother figure, another young girl crying being consoled. The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery was on our lips -- Jesus is Crucified.

My stomach dropped, twisted and flipped. Anger rose in my body, not violent anger, but the kind that fills you with righteous indignation and makes you ask the simple question: What monster would take their young daughter to kill their baby, possibly their grandchild and disguise it as kindness? This injustice was too big, too overwhelming to bear.

Jesus is Crucified, and so is that tiny embryo, and the future of the young girl. And, what of the mother figures who so generously transported and remained to comfort the young girls after their abortions? I thought about them, too. Prayed for their hearts to be lifted out of darkness. Could they really think that what they had done was helpful, and how would the sight of the weeping, anguished child they had brought to the clinic to kill their baby weigh on them the rest of their lives?

Shouldn't they be talking to their girls about self respect, feelings, emotions, love, the future filled with good things that come from having a loving relationship with God, family, and others? Even if there is no religion attached to the explanation, isn't it easier to tell a young girl that her future holds more promise if she can maintain some self control? The psychological trauma that torments women who have had abortions is well documented and has spawned recovery groups like Rachel's Vineyard and Elliot Institute, that help women heal spiritually and psychologically after abortions.

And shouldn't a mother figure be someone you can trust to protect you?

What good are these mother figures really doing? Are they sparing the young woman anything? Or, are they creating a wound so deep that the trauma that will follow will be bigger, more unbearable, more deadening to the soul and the spirit than the mistake of becoming pregnant, of not being able to say no for one reason or another.

We ended the Rosary,  each of us distraught over what we had witnessed, looking at the children that surrounded us and hoping that somehow, our prayers would be beneficial to the young women and their misguided mentors. I was overcome with the thought that there would be fewer abortions if the mother figures in girls' lives were truly loving. Who will help those women who are so misguided as to think abortion is a loving act? That is where my prayer will rest this week -- for those mother figures.

I pray that next Friday, business at the clinic will be less active or maybe illegal -- please God.

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