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Thursday, April 14, 2005

I wrote earlier this week about Sydna Masse's criticism of post-abortion public awareness groups.

An anonymous comment here takes me to task for a reference to Masse's critical attitude toward "Silent No More" public awareness programs in this post.

The anonymous person says in part that:

I read all of Masse's post & didn't see it at all as her being "very, very angry" when others cry while giving post-ab testimonies.

In Masse's post (& her website), I hear a woman who cares & wants us all to watch out for each other. So let's call the wolves off of Masse and get back to what we redeemed post-abortive women do best -- Love one another!
For reference, here is Sydna Masse's
column about "Silent No More" public awareness programs.

Allow me to concede to this anonymous person that it's a stretch to describe Masse as being "very, very angry".

It would be more accurate to describe Masse as being very critical of others in post-abortion ministry and of some undetermined number of women who participate in the Silent No More Awareness campaign and Operation Outcry/Silent No More.

Leaders of many "awareness" efforts are well-intentioned. Unfortunately, many are inexperienced in the area of post-abortion outreach and unqualified to verify each candidate's healing and spiritual maturity before utilizing them at a public level.
This broad, blanket statement is quite critical and is offered without supporting evidence. Who is she talking about? What makes her think these people are inexperienced and unqualified?

Masse goes on:

I've seen pro-life individuals use the post-abortive person to advance their passion to end abortion. Being "silent no more" before God's healing and without God's empowerment can be disastrous, further wounding the post-abortive individual.
I've never seen anyone be "silent no more" where I would presume to judge that this person was speaking "without God's empowerment". Nor have I seen "disastrous" consequences, or anything remotely approaching that. I'm willing to be educated, and if anyone would like to put me in touch with a post-abortive woman who feels that she was "used [by the pro-life movement] to advance their passion to end abortion" with "disastrous" results for the post-abortive woman, I would very much appreciate the opportunity to learn more.

Overall, though, frankly, if a woman traumatized by abortion can recover and heal, I have to think she could survive the experience of speaking about it. I don't see how it could be "disastrous". An abortion can be (and in my opinion is) disastrous. Speaking about it? Disastrous? Disastrous?

Masse continues:

I am always amazed to hear that many post-abortive individuals are actually seeking out the public platform and feel great delight in being "silent no more." I find this troubling and often come to the conclusion that those who want to share publicly are sometimes the least qualified to do so.
Am I wrong, or is Sydna Masse essentially saying that "many post-abortive individuals" are publicity hounds, who take "great delight" in the media limelight for reasons that are less-than-honorable? It seems to me she means to say approximately that, or else she wouldn't "often" find this behavior "troubling". In all the times I've heard people speak about their abortions, I have to say I have never thought, "She is unqualified to do this". Much less have I ever thought of someone, "Of all the people I know, she is the least qualified to be doing this."

Interestingly, Masse's criticisms of those who have participated in these campaigns veer between two opposites: her concern that the pro-life movement is prematurely pushing women into public awareness campaigns and her seemingly opposite concern that "many post-abortive individuals" are with "great delight" chasing that old media spotlight..."actually seeking out the public platform".

In addition to criticizing the leaders of public awareness campaigns for being unqualified to "verify" whether a woman ought to be part of a public awareness campaign, criticizing some (unspecified) individuals in the pro-life movement for using post-abortive women to advance their agenda with potentially "disastrous" results, and criticizing "many post-abortive individuals" for seeking the media limelight, Masse offers an opinion about how women should speak:

Our voice needs to be strong and confident when we testify, not overwhelmed with emotion.
I think this is very bad advice. I like to listen to people speak authentically from their hearts, with strong and honest emotion. In this I am confident that I am similar to most people. But apart from this, Masse's comment here is implicitly critical of many women who have participated in public awareness campaigns...that is, this is a criticism of every woman (and man) who has spoken in the public square about his or her abortion with strong emotion, and with a less than "strong and confident" voice.

To return to the anonymous comment, it says in part:

In Masse's post (& her website), I hear a woman who cares & wants us all to watch out for each other.
What I hear is a critical woman with unwarranted confidence in her ability to judge the leaders of Silent No More and Operation Outcry, the motivations of women who participate in public awareness campaigns, the way that women should sound when they talk, and the likely fruits of these public awareness campaigns.

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