“Rachel’s Vineyard” ministry offers healing after abortion across the US and beyond. For more information, click here.
For a list of Pregnancy Resource Centers in Rhode Island, please visit Rhode Island’s Right to Life website, here.
Before you call me a hypocrite and start a petition to the Pope to excommunicate me from the Catholic Church (is that still possible?), hear me out.
In my early twenties, when I was attending a more liberal university and had gone away from the Catholic faith, I used to side more with the “pro-choice” side than the pro-life side.
My opinion on the matter used to be that while I would never have an abortion myself, I did not feel comfortable taking that “choice” away from other women. I thought that abortion should be legal for special circumstances, i.e. women who were raped, incest. etc... In fact, I even wrote a paper about my stance on the subject for a technical writing course.
I really wish I had saved that paper so that I could reflect on it now. I was even a patient of Planned Parenthood, not for an abortion but for the annual exams. I commended PP as I received these exams free of charge when I lacked health insurance. I thought that being pro-choice meant women had control over their bodies. I thought that pro-choice meant women empowerment. I thought that was the priority.
I didn’t know some things, though.
I didn’t know that in 2009, the year that I graduated from college, 789,217 babies were aborted.
I didn’t know that since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, 60,124,681 + babies have been aborted in the US alone.
I didn't know that over ONE BILLION babies that have been aborted worldwide in the past century.
I didn’t know that one in eight Planned Parenthood patients gets an abortion.
I didn’t know that only 1% of abortions were performed on victims of rape.
I didn’t know that women who have an abortion are at a high risk for mental health problems.
I didn’t know that women who have abortions have a higher risk of subsequent health problems.
I didn’t know that having an abortion can be more dangerous than giving birth.
I didn’t know how horrific abortion procedures really are. (Click here to learn more.)
I didn't know that a baby's heart begins to beat as early as 18 days from conception.
I didn't know that that tiny heart will beat 65 times a minute before the first month.*
I didn’t know that a baby can feel pain during the abortion, which is “long and agonizing.”*
I didn’t know any of this.
But, I do now.
And now I can’t “unknow” these facts.
For me, being pro-life means supporting women and babies. It means that there are always other choices instead of abortion. These choices are made possible by various resources available for women. Choice can equal life. Abortion does not equal women empowerment.
This has not been an easy journal to write.
As I have been writing this piece and researching the above facts, I have had to stop several times; especially when learning how abortions are performed, I have struggled and needed breaks.
In these breaks, I’ve cried, almost thrown up, prayed, splashed water on my face, looked at baby photos of our son, prayed again and tried to keep the nausea at bay by grabbing a ginger candy I used to eat when I was pregnant with our son.
I thought of the genetic counselor who calmly and unapologetically told us we had “options” when my son was said to have an elevated risk of Down syndrome when I was pregnant with him. I recall how I almost felt selfish at times for continuing the pregnancy. But then I remembered the unmeasurable joy each time we heard his heartbeat during the ultrasound.
While the facts concerning abortion are brutal and “hard to know”, I wish I had known them sooner.
I wish that I was “pro-life” sooner.
I wish that when I was writing my paper in college for the technical writing class that I had researched the reasons why people (now, me included) are “pro-life” instead of just focusing on making my case.
You see, pro-lifers are not here to “take women’s rights away.”
We just don’t consider murder to be a right.
A baby dies when an abortion is performed.
Even if you think it is just a “clump of cells”, if left alone the clump of cells will become a baby.
The baby will be born and the baby will be alive.
When I was a patient at Planned Parenthood, my mother came with me a couple of times.
Even though I majored in journalism and as a then-aspiring reporter, I should have been more aware of my surroundings, I wasn’t. I just sat in the waiting room, watching whatever was on the television as I waited to be called in for my annual exam.
My mother, on the other hand, caught onto something. She saw young girl after young girl leaving and eating crackers. It took my mom only a few moments to understand that these girls had all just had an abortion. When she told me this, my heart shattered. I chose to never go back to Planned Parenthood after that appointment.
My views on abortion started to change that day. Thank God and my mother that it did.
Having our son was always our only choice
But what if I were pro-choice when we were told that our son had an elevated risk of Down syndrome?
The results were not presented in a positive, encouraging and uplifting manner.
Instead, the genetic counselor said we had "options” (abortion).
Who knows, maybe he wouldn’t be here today.
Maybe my son would have been one of the 67% of babies aborted due to a Down syndrome screening.
But instead, I yelled at her and said abortion would never be an option.
We chose life. His life.
It was God’s choice to give our son to us, whichever way He wanted to.
Oh, and if you haven’t read my previous posts, our son does not have Down syndrome.
Not that it matters to us.
We would have loved and treasured him the same.
What matters to us is that science was wrong and God was right.
Thank you, God.
There is so much more that I feel I could write about this subject, but said son is wrestling in his sleep and I know nap time is almost over.
So while I used to be pro-choice. I am now, 100% unequivocally, irreversibly, completely PRO-LIFE!
I pray that I will revisit this in the future with additional journals. To keep the discussion going, please visit us on Facebook. As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn, pray for us!
“Facts & Figures.” Planned Parenthood, www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/facts-figures.
“Surgical Abortion Procedures: Types, Side Effects and Risks.” American Pregnancy Association, 26 Jan. 2017, americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/surgical-abortions/.
“Reproductive Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Nov. 2017, www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/abortion.htm.
“Stages Of Pregnancy & Fetal Development.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7247-fetal-development-stages-of-growth.
“Demographics.” Guttmacher Institute, 1 Jan. 2018, www.guttmacher.org/united-states/abortion/demographics.
“U.S. Abortion Statistics.” Abort73, abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/.
“Post-Abortion Syndrome.” Abort73, abort73.com/abortion/post_abortion_syndrome/.
“Number of Abortions - Abortion Counters.” Number of Abortions in US & Worldwide - Number of Abortions since 1973, www.numberofabortions.com/.
“AbortionFacts.com.” Fact #13: The 8 Week+ Unborn Baby Feels Real Physical Pain during an Abortion., www.abortionfacts.com/facts/13.
Brown, Allison. “Abortion-The Facts.” Catholic365, www.catholic365.com/article/3391/abortionthe-facts.html.
Yeh, Becky. “New Video Debunks Planned Parenthood's 3% Abortion Myth.” Live Action News, 4 Jan. 2017, www.liveaction.org/news/new-video-debunks-planned-parenthoods-3-percent-abortion-myth/.
“Abortion and Down Syndrome.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health-news/the-debate-over-terminating-down-syndrome-pregnancies#1.
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