an After abortion

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

The responses to the first post have been amazing, and so many are writing me to share their grief, even relatives of women who had abortions. We are getting them in touch with ministries that can help them heal. It was all worth it, if one woman can find healing. And if one more decides not to abort, for whatever reason, that’s one less woman who will be physically damaged by abortion, and someday, cry.

All day at the march, I could see so many of the women who looked sad when they saw my sign, also read my T-shirt, which said, Rachel's Vineyard. They are now one google search away from finding a phenomenal source of caring people and healing.

(Men too, and other relatives, like uncles and grandparents of aborted babies, by the way, are welcome at Rachel’s Vineyard. You don't have to be Catholic, or even Christian. There was a Jewish man on my retreat weekend, everyone there in strictest confidence, and wherever the name “Jesus” was used, they simply said, “Yahweh” for this man.)

The pro-abortion marchers weren’t the only ones with hateful signs and words. Right across the street from me, I also saw the sign bragging about having "popped the abortion doc" (i.e., killed him). It made me so angry I wished I could have gone over and ripped it to shreds myself.

I heard the obscene, antagonistic “pro-life” screaming, and I too object to the bloody pictures. Last year, when I’d first gone to offer compassionate help to the women going into the same abortion clinic where I had my own abortion, I saw someone bring out the huge photo of the dismembered head (missing the lower jaw) of an aborted baby. My son was there with me. I had to turn away; I started retching and almost threw up right there on the sidewalk. My son said, “Mom, don’t look at it!”

That was the first time I’d seen photos such as that. When they tried to show me those pictures 25 years ago, I refused to look. So it wouldn’t get to me. I got so good at blocking out all thought of what I was doing, it lasted for 22 years.

I am ambivalent about showing those pictures ever, but thought they did not have a place at the march. I know that some women have said the pictures were what changed their minds against abortion. But I still think a positive message of offering help, real here-and-now, survival help, is the message better sent than one of horror.

There was a man in his 80s on the sidewalk when I went for my abortion, and he's still there, screaming at the women. A so-called "Catholic" but he isn't. He screamed at me then, “You’re a murderer!” He still does, at the same place where I offer compassionate help. He also still says, "If you die on that table in there now, you deserve to die!" I cringe each time; I've tried everything to stop him. I befriended him over a year ago, and later said to him one day, "Did I deserve to die too?" He looked down, shamefaced, and mumbled, "No." I said, "Neither do these girls." But did that stop him? No, unfortunately. I'd give both arms to silence him and all like him. But despite his venom, my friends and I have helped between 1 and 8 women each of 2 days a week to realize they don't have to have abortions, that there IS a lot of love and help for them, from us and the centers we know offer this. And they are so thankful someone finally offered them the REAL help they needed.

At the march, I also saw the abhorrent "God hates you" signs in the distance. God doesn't hate anyone. Those people holding those signs and saying hateful things to the marchers or to women at clinics need a lot of help, and for those of us who pray, our prayers. Seriously. They may not learn until it is perhaps too late for them, that they've not only gotten God's Word all wrong, but they've disgusted many people who otherwise might not have rejected God's love and blessings.

Operation Witness, a separate group with its own permit, told all their joiners, in writing, to bring none of the bloody photos so I don’t know who those people were. And there was one person arrested, I believe, for throwing the inkpaint-eggs, although it’s questionable now whether it was a pro-lifer who threw it because this photo looks like it was a pro-lifer who got it in the face, since that’s an anti-abortion sign up-close-and-personal next to him. Either way, it’s also shameful.

At the actual start of the march, we in our Silent No More group found ourselves being bumped out of the way by one of the antagonistic “prolife” groups. Neither they nor the pro-death “prolifers” were part of our group; we possessed the only legal permit for the side of the street and that corner that we were on. Police shooed away from their original sites the “God Hates You” ones and braggarts praising killers of abortion doctors. I watched one of the former groups try to usurp our spot. We immediately asked the police to move them up the block past us because we didn’t want to be considered part of their Bible-thumping “holier than thou” message. We did not succeed, to our horror and dismay, so they were interspersed with our women and men. I don’t know where the death-braggart sign ended up. I do know it had been across the street from me.

The vulgarity of the marchers’ signs and chants still amazes me. Here are just some of the printable ones:

“Barbara Chose Poorly”

“Euthanize Christians”

“If you cut off my reproductive choice, can I cut off yours?”

“God is Pro-Choice, She Has Aborted Troubled Fetuses By Miscarriage Billions of Times”

“God, Save Me From Your Followers.”

“Not Every Ejaculation Deserves A Last Name”

“Make Love Not Babies”

“Women Are More Important Than Tissue.”

I found it ironic that one of the most prevalent signs said, “WHO DECIDES?” and then right beneath it, the words, “NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA.”

Another sign that may at one time have had some truth but I don’t think does anymore: “77% of anti-abortion leaders are white men…”

  1. Serrin Foster at FFL
  2. Georgette and Janet at SNMAC
  3. (Georgette also is National Director of the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life
  4. and Janet’s also Associate Director of Priests for Life; I don’t think we can have a woman be President of THAT group, now....)
  5. Wanda Franz, President of the National Right to Life Committee
  6. American Life League has Judie Brown (President) as well as Scarlett Clark and Mildred F. Jefferson, M.D....
  7. ...who is also president of Right to Life Crusade, Inc.
  8. Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life (with 6 women out of 11 directors on the board)
  9. Bonnie Chernin Rogoff, Founder of Jews For Life
  10. Mrs. Terry Schlossberg, Executive Director of Presbyterians Pro-Life
  11. Doris Gordon at Libertarians for Life
  12. Roe No More Ministry, founded by the former “Jane Roe,” Norma McCorvey
  13. Carla (Grace4All), Executive Director of Safehaven Ministries...
  14. ...and VP of Ramah International

I think those 13 women leaders (or associate leaders) of about 14 major groups would beg to differ.

For the men, there’s 5 in the major groups; help me out, folks, I may have missed some on both sides of the gender coin: Joe Scheidler, Pro-Life Action League. Dr. David Reardon, Director of the Elliot Institute. J. C. Willke, MD, President of Life Issues Institute. Mark Crutcher, Life Dynamics. Rev. Philip L. (Flip) Benham, Director, Operation Save America.

So the tally, at least at this point, REALLY, is about 26% of leaders of anti-abortion groups are white men (19 groups, 5 men). And 74% of those leaders are WOMEN. Almost the reverse of what the signs said.

(There are others where it HAS to be a man so how can you honestly count it? Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International (a Catholic pro-life missionary training organization), Priests For Life’s Fr. Frank Pavone, and others like them.)

The worst sign was held by the laughing guy whose sign pointed to himself, reading, “BABY KILLER.”

The worst chant was “ROE V. WADE, OR YOU WON’T GET LAID!” I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes. There were hundreds of women, aged 17 through their 80s, chanting this.

I realize that not every woman in the entire march was chanting that, nor would they have if they’d all heard it. I imagine there were more than a few marchers who were mortified to hear such drivel.

It said that the chanters believe that, without the right to abort the results of sexual intimacy, they’d never get a man to sleep with them again. I thought, what could be sadder than that?

When the last of the marchers passed by, we began walking back to the hotel and inadvertently came to the tail end of the march as it made its second-half return circuit. So some of the same people saw us twice, only this time we lined both sides of the street. There were quite a few I REGRET signs on both sides now.

The amount of garbage left behind by some marchers was substantial. Those in our group who’d been around after the Marches for Life said there was a lot more garbage this day after the Choice march; not just piles of signs left on the roads and sidewalks, but consumer garbage too.

After they had all passed by, we continued our walk back. Interestingly, no one said a word to us. No one taunted us, as before. We passed by small groupings of marchers for many blocks and not one person got in our faces. They just stared at our I REGRET signs a long time, and said nothing.

Many thanks to all who’ve commented, especially those sending well-wishes. Remember all the men and women who had the same courage to hold these signs out there Sunday, as well as all the great folks who helped us by standing in support.

If you or someone you know might be hurting from an abortion, please contact me or the folks at Silent No More, toll-free and confidentially, 1-800-395-HELP and 1-866-482-LIFE, or for Rachel’s Vineyard, it’s 1-877-HOPE-4-ME. No one on this or any other blog or anywhere will ever know that you wrote or contacted us. We won’t be writing about it, here or anywhere.

There are also international resources at all these places; find them here and here [just type in the first few letters of your country]. We’ll help you find a good, confidential post-abortive resource. Emily has the homepage links on the left too.

There is no need to stay silent anymore, but then again, you need never go as "public" as we did. Even if no one else in the whole world knows, you can still seek the help we've found, and it'll be just you who knows. A lot of us were where you may be right now. We aren’t here to hate, but to help, even if you may have been one of the ones screaming at and name-calling those of us who held these signs at this counter-protest. So many of my own current friends admit to once being like that, and now they’re running these resource centers to help women, before --and after-- they choose abortion.

Update: Many readers have come to our blog for the first time because of this entry. We warmly welcome you. We encourage you to visit our main page. We offer daily news updates about the post-abortion movement and look forward to your readership and participation.