Last night I attended the annual banquet of the Right to Life group in my county. The speaker was a man who had lost a child to abortion about twenty-five years ago. John has a compelling physical presence, as well as a master's degree from Columbia, a very successful career, a lovely wife and six children.
As he said at the end of his talk, "I have a very good life. God has blessed me in many ways. I have repented of what I did, I have been to confession, and I have worked hard to repair the bad habits I developed coping with the emotional aftermath of an abortion both the mother and I wanted. I know that God forgives me. I know that God loves me. That doesn't mean that God takes away the natural consequences of what we did. Like any parent who has lost a child, I live with an ache. I miss my child."
This is a very well-organized county Right to Life organization, and there were about 200 people in the audience.
At the end, the emcee came up for some brief concluding remarks. What he said was, "That could have been any of us."
John and I had spent about half an hour together before the dinner, getting to know each other. I looked at him when the emcee said that. John and I, and anyone who has any level of activism in post-abortion circles, are aware that although there are not completely settled statistics on the prevalence of abortion, somewhere between 30-45% of men and women have lost one or more children to abortion by the time they reach age 45.
I believe that what John was thinking was, "Yes, that could have been any of us, and in this audience of 200, believe me, it's not just Emily and me."
And yet the polite illusion continues to be fostered in pro-life circles that when we talk about people who have lost children to abortion, we're talking about the token post-abortive banquet speaker and all those other people out there, outside the walls.
I noticed another thing, too. I was the dinner speaker for this same group two years ago. At the end of my talk, the emcee did not say, "That could have been any of us."