A "New" MessageBy Annie Banno
It’s been just over one month since I began “sidewalk counseling” at the abortion center. Already, I’ve delivered my story on a local TV show about post-abortive stress disorder and the healing I gained from Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats. The local paper has interviewed me twice for two different articles (my son was pictured in one, holding his sign at the abortuary). I’ve been recruited to become Connecticut State Leader for SILENT NO MORE. I took the Amtrak “LifeTrain” to last week’s March for Life with twenty-five fellow parishioners and 500 more from our Diocese. And I’ve been invited to contribute this column to Catholic Exchange.
Remarkable what our Lord can do when we let Him! Highly unusual? Only if one chooses not to view life through eyes of faith.
The March for Life was remarkable. It felt 14 degrees with the wind-chill, but the sun shone bright all day on the 100,000 life-advocates in attendance on the streets of Washington, D.C. There were many speakers: U.S. bishops, a U.S. senator, 11 congressmen, President Bush by phone from St. Louis; even an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, who lambasted Presidential-hopeful and pro-abortion Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman from my state of Connecticut, calling him “excommunicated” and blowing the shofar horn, the Jewish call to repentance. The speeches were inspiring.
But what stirred me the most were the two women who asked me, “Is that your story on your sign?” When I answered yes, they hugged me and said through tears, “Mine too.” I told them how brave they are; they thanked me for giving voice to our mutual pain. I told them about SILENT NO MORE, the organization helping post-abortive women find healing from their remorse. One wasn’t ready to “come out” but was getting there.
Looking back on the event, I remain less moved by the enormous size and tremendous fervor of the crowd as by the fact that God, through me, helped these two women feel less alone in their struggle of post-abortive grief and guilt. Three other women and two men thanked me for having the courage to hold my sign, and many others photographed it. It loomed high above most others since I’d made the handle very long and sturdy, and the sign itself very large. It was quite heavy, but I wanted many people to see it and likewise be comforted and encouraged.
My sign reflected a message that is relatively new to the pro-life movement. It is a variation of the message of SILENT NO MORE: “I regret my abortion.” Hopefully it is one that will transform the movement into one that gains the support and stirs the passions of an overwhelming majority of American women.
After nearly half a lifetime of hidden pain and regret, I have finally mustered up the courage to proclaim to the world: 24 YEARS LATER, MY ‘CHOICE’ HURTS ME STILL.