Once upon a time, a close friend of mine had an abortion.
I didn’t know it at the time, or even for years afterwards. In fact, while it happened 17 years ago, I didn’t find out until last year around this time. This friend (we’ll call her Sally since I don’t want to keep saying “this friend”) was very close to me at the time of her abortion. I’m not surprised that Sally didn’t tell me, though, because I know what my reaction would have been. I would have tried to change her mind, which she also undoubtedly knew.
What I don’t know for sure is how I would have gone about it. I’d like to think that I would have gently provided her with assistance and guidance. I hope I would have helped her through a pregnancy that would have disrupted college. I wonder if I would have hugged her as she cried over what would happen to her life if she decided to raise her baby, or tears over what would happen to her baby if she gave him or her up for adoption
But let’s be honest about what a 19 year old pro-lifer can look like. (Notice I said can not does.) Zealous, yes. Knowledgeable, yes. Exuberant, yes. Heavy-handed, also yes. That was me, to a T. It’s more likely that I would have tried to out-logic, out-inform, or out-emote her with everything I knew. And in the end, when I most likely would have failed, I would have felt that loss so deeply that I wouldn’t have been able to look her in the eyes.
Maybe my pro-life friends will be mad at me for writing this post. Perhaps it looks like I’m being wishy-washy or inconsistent. Maybe they’re right. But I think if you read my post today “Pro-Life, for Eternity,” over at Catholic Exchange, that’s not at all the case.
All I know is that Sally went through an abortion while the one person who might have tried to talk her out of it (me) was so engrossed in the principles, I forgot about the people. Principles that pushed her away, rather than the love that may have drawn her in.
Sally still doesn’t know that I know about her abortion. She doesn’t know that I picture her lost child as a strapping 17 year old man with curly black hair and a quick laugh. Sally has no idea that I pray for her almost every day, just like I pray for all women who have suffered the loss of a baby. She doesn’t know that every time I post a pro-life message on Facebook, her face runs before my eyes.
Sally is my filter. Because while my pro-life beliefs run hot and deep and true, I know that if I’m not careful I will make the same mistake I did those 18 years ago. I will push her or someone else away instead of drawing them in. Maybe I can be excused for my mistake back then. I was young and dumb. Today, though, at least one of those things isn’t true. So I try. I hope you will too.
Feminists for Life: Resources for Crisis Pregnancies (Financial, material! and emotional support)