You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.
– Martin Luther
I start this personal testimony with great trepidation. Fortunately I’ve never been in a position of having to make a “choice.” I was raised in a very conservative family and I, likewise, hold very conservative opinions. This does not mean I am argumentative or mean. I have a close friend who is just as liberal as I am conservative and we have lovely conversations because we know we each want what’s best for people and society – it’s just our methodologies are vastly different.
I started this blog on life issues and yes, it’s definitively pro-life. It will also be pro-adoption and anti-euthanasia, but let me first mention a couple things.
When I was about 15 I walked out of my high school and had a pamphlet shoved in my hand, which I made the grave mistake of dutifully reading. It was anti-abortion and as I recall was okay on the outsides but when I opened the leaflet I was confronted with the fetal porn, as you put it. I felt abused and I was so angry that what had been seen could never be unseen. I felt like somebody vomited all over me and I could do nothing to wash it off. I hated those people who wrenched me out of my blissfully ignorant teenage cocoon. Now, I understand more of the reasoning, but I still hate the tactic.
Even though I have remained absolutely anti-abortion, I refused to discuss the matter for almost 30 years, as I’m now 44. That’s what that person produced in me – total shutdown. I saw the protest of the early 1990’s and knew those people were virtually criminals – especially the ones who were definitely criminals for killing and maiming folks. I could never reconcile myself to such behavior.
Then something happened. I was convicted by the Lord to speak out on life issues after 1) the horrible Gosnell case became known; 2) 55 million deaths milestone was reached after the 40th Anniversary of legalized abortion in the USA; 3) President Obama was the first president to serve as keynote speaker for the annual Planned Parenthood gathering. This trifecta of what I call “darkness” disheartened me so much I felt I should see what I could do personally and what my church was doing. I feel especially close to the issue as so many millions of my fellow Generation X babies were killed in this act labeled as choice; I could no longer remain silent.
I was scared to death. I didn’t like talking about it, I don’t like the fetal porn and I refuse to use it on my new site or in the information I pass along. That’s important to ME. In poking around on YouTube and the inner-webs (a small joke), I slowly started to educate myself on the issues. If I was going to speak about it – what could I say? I’ve never had an abortion – statistically I’m probably related to or friends with a woman who has had one, but they’ve never discussed it with me. Does that mean I have nothing to contribute to the discussion? Of course not.
I’ve read that one of the hardest tasks a pro-life person could do is stand out at a clinic and try to engage anyone in a conversation. To me, that’s the true trenches, another being college campuses where people are shouted at and knocked around and sometimes targeted with frightening rage. I told my husband that if I ever was to be present at a clinic I probably wouldn’t try to speak to anyone – I would just pray. At most I would hold a sign saying there is love and forgiveness in Jesus. That, if you find after your “choice” a sadness, anger or desperation, there are women and men who have have had to make the same choices. You are not alone.
The young twenty-three year old man doing sidewalk counseling who says the same script over and over does so because many of us who sincerely want to be supportive, are scared shitless of what to say. We ARE ignorant of what to say. We DO feel embarrassed about coming off as a religious nut, and yet we feel if we help just ONE woman who maybe just wanted a prayer before going in, even that small act would be worth hours of our time. Ministry is often not rewarding in conjunction with our time-frame. Most often we may never expect to know if we’ve said or done something that truly meant something to someone. We have to just let it go. It’s not for us to know.
Men aren’t always the greatest communicators, but when I hear about that young man at your clinic, it makes me smile that someone is trying to do *something*. Many may disagree with his actions, but he has love in his heart and not contempt. Maybe it’s not meant for you to see, but if he helps one woman to be a bit braver about her choice, wouldn’t that be worth it?
I end with a quote by Martin Luther.
“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.”