I have been going to abortion facilities to pray for 30 years. I have watched as “safe and rare” has turned into “abortion at any time for any reason.” I have witnessed the hardening of hearts, which I believe can often be attributed to the silent suffering of those who have experienced abortion.
We are told abortion is “women’s health,” that life will go back to “normal” with the termination of an “unwanted pregnancy,” that abortion is common, and even that it “saves lives.” Despite tons of evidence to the contrary, the adverse impact of abortion on millions of women is still denied, leaving them to feel crazy and alone if they in fact don’t find peace with their abortions.
As the abortion debate again fills headlines and minds while the Supreme Court deliberates on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that could see a reversal of Roe v. Wade, I’ve been feeling that we do not speak clearly enough to the heart of the mother going in for an abortion.
The abortion side focuses on the woman and her supposed rights. The pro-life side tends to focus on the baby, in a justified attempt to stop the slaughter of the innocent unborn. I believe we must speak to both the mother and the baby, who have been joined together by a gift from God.
With this in mind, I have tried to think of a few slogans to put on my signs that will touch the mother seeking the abortion. The one I currently am using says, “I had an Abortion. Life does NOT go back to normal. Save your baby and yourself. For help call: 800 723 8331.”
The number is for Good Counsel Homes, a place mothers can get the help they need to have their babies, including a place to stay, training in life skills, and support throughout their pregnancy and after.
Here in New York, we are often met at the abortion facilities by an extreme pro-abortion group named “New York City for Abortion Rights.” Although they claim we are the ones harassing women by our prayerful presence, they attempt to block our walk to the building from a church where we begin the morning with Mass and adoration, shouting their slogans like “God loves abortion,” “This church harasses Women,” “Abortion is freedom,” and a retinue of others as they bang on their drums to drown out our prayer. Sadly, they honestly believe what they are shouting.
Having worked in a ministry of healing from abortion for over 25 years, I recognize the desperate need to keep justifying abortion. I have seen it many times and as someone who had a coerced abortion at 17 years old, I can identify with the emotions they are experiencing. To look at the truth without the light of God’s love would be next to impossible, so they need to stand strong in their rhetoric for the sake of survival.
Once at the abortion facility, the participants of NYC for Abortion Rights continue to shout, bang their drums, and block us from any woman who may be coming for an abortion. My sign is a thorn in their side. On more than one occasion they have frantically tried to keep it hidden from the view of the women coming for an abortion.
This past Saturday, one of the abortion rights participants continually obstructed the view of the sign telling me she did not want the women “to see that sh-t.” Her own sign spoke to ending “forced birth.”
As they proclaimed the normality of abortion, it struck me how we actually have much in common. None of our lives have gone back to normal. Abortion has altered us forever. It is not “normal” to spend your Saturday mornings at an abortionist’s office either shouting abortion’s praises or praying for its destruction.
Since the passage of Roe v. Wade, abortion has touched millions of women in our country. Most are not in front of abortion facilities. Some never share their experiences, for fear of judgment or because they are oppressed by guilt and shame. Many often keep it to themselves for years, not even telling husbands or others they are close to, living in the fear of being found out.
With Dobbs v. Jackson before the Supreme Court, emotions are high. I cannot help but wonder how those living in silent suffering are coping. It must be exceedingly difficult for them as they hear both sides arguing their points with neither somehow speaking to their hearts.
I am certain many feel stuck in the middle of a debate that sometimes does not seem to get it. We often speak about these babies in abstracts, but they are not abstract; they are each someone’s child, often the silent suffering.
A couple of months ago I dropped my sign at a “Witness for Life” event in Brooklyn. One of the women from NYC for Abortion Rights grabbed it and wrote across the back, “God loves Abortion.” A police officer saw and made her give the sign back to me. To cover up her writing, I placed a picture of Saint Maximillian Kolbe on the back with a quote of his that simply says, “Don’t ever forget to love.”
Rev. Fidelis Moscinski, who leads our vigils, often reminds us, before we take to the streets to pray, that we are not to confront the opposition but to remain in prayer. That they are “not our enemies.”
Little did I know how significant the back of my sign would become as I continue to pray and be confronted by the angry shouts and actions of the other side. Abortion is the ultimate failure of love. Saint Maximillian Kolbe now reminds me as we are on the streets, “Don’t ever forget to love.”
The above comes from a Dec. 8 story on the Federalist.com.
Theresa Bonopartis, the author of the article, is a true servant of God, who shows with actions what most of the rest of us only ply with words. A singularly beautiful soul.
I really like your sign and I am sorry for your loss. May God bless you.
“Abortion is the ultimate failure of love.” This is perhaps the most succinct, truthful, and touching statement I have ever heard concerning abortion. Thank you for your thoughtful article and service.
I totally agree on a given point: a coerced procedure of any type is fundamentally wrong. i am truly sorry about your loss. A second point I agree with is that if your group is going to stop an abortion, it needs to do so without invoking shame and guilt, but rather appeal to the mother. Failing that, the abortion will likely proceed despite your value, convictions, prayers and wishes.
Some points to ponder: Realizing the religious conviction most readers here have concerning abortion, i would point out that despite best wishes and fervent prayers, our populations are so diverse in culture, values, and sheer numbers that the rescinding of Roe V Wade does not mean abortion will end, it will simply be amended to out of state/country clinics, or worse, back alley rooms. i get that one possible true objective of being pro-life is less about saving a fetus (which cannot survive outside a womb) and creating the fearful possibility of of getting pregnant as a means of curtailing sexual activity. As much as any political or religious group desires, it cannot, at least in this country thus far, impose its value system on the entire citizenry.
Don’t approve of abortion because you value fetal life? Great! Don’t get an abortion, but do not take the young lady who is pregnant due to rape or incest to have to carry a child, whether to give up for adoption or raise it herself. You as a group cannot impose that any more than another group can impose that you MUST have an abortion if you have X number of children, or any other reason. Imagine this scenario: abortion is mandated by the state, imposed by a fervently emotional group that protests at hospitals if they know the mothers are having more than X number of children, or under a certain age, or unmarried, or any other criteria.
Now imagine you have some clandestine method to bring those mothers to a safe area to have their children. Imagine free citizens who identify you as the mother, or pregnant without grounds, or someone who helps you escape the new mandate, can sue you for money so as to avoid any tricky Constitutional entanglements (use of state police, etc). It’s easy to say, “Every child can be adopted”, the truth of the matter is that the vetting process is rather arduous (though not insurmountable) to become an adoptive parent, and there are a fair amount of children who, through no fault of their own, do not get adopted until later in their youth. Also, for males, it’s a no brainer: let the female have the baby in 9 months, be criticized, etc for having a baby out of wedlock, and then give up the child.
Easy to do when you’re a male to “endure” it all. I don’t have an easy solution, but it smacks of a religious tyranny when one group may impose a value system that is NOT congruent with all, and then mask it as righteous because the imposing group is religious. Perhaps appealing to the mothers, but not in an “in your face” approach would be more helpful. As for the woman who wrote “God loves abortion”, etc., please do not stereotype the entire pro-choice group as acting similarly, else one would face the same stereotyping when it comes to highly motivated zealots shooting doctors all in the name of their God.
“Easy to do when you’re a male to “endure” it all. I don’t have an easy solution, but it smacks of a religious tyranny when one group may impose a value system that is NOT congruent with all…”
Michael Joseph Dremel, you eloquently present a pro-choice position promulgated at length by politicians, entertainers, actors and most of the media. And this last statement gets to the heart of the matter. Pro-life as religious tyranny is unanwenbar, as the German language has it– beside the point, or irrelevant. Pro-life is based on the Natural Law, which is understandable to everyone though, obviously, everyone does not bend the knee to it. The Natural Law can nevertheless speak to such deniers in their conscience when they violate it, as we see in the hidden shame in men and women when abortion is procured. The Natural Law is thus always at work whether it is acknowledged or not. An important aim of pro-life education is to return everyone’s attention to the Natural Law’s dictate on the prohibition against the taking of innocent human life. A consequence of this is that sexual activity which would lead to an abortion is immoral. Since the great majority of abortions are not hard cases, the pro-life effort is a frontal attack on the libertine sexual habits of our day. So it is not popular, but it has universal commendation in our inner consciences despite almost universal condemnation by the outer powers that be.
Nobody criticizes out of wedlock pregnancies anymore.
Your arguments are like from the 1970s.
People don’t have to die. These are deaths that are very easy to prevent.
Some of them might die anyway. Some of the mothers might have emotional issues.
You don’t kill people to avoid being upset.
1) “…..As much as any political or religious group desires, it cannot, at least in this country thus far, impose its value system on the entire citizenry.”….do you also oppose civil rights legislation?
2) “….Don’t get an abortion, but do not take the young lady who is pregnant due to rape or incest to have to carry a child, whether to give up for adoption or raise it herself.”….why do you object to adoption?
3) “….It’s easy to say, “Every child can be adopted”, the truth of the matter is that the vetting process is rather arduous (though not insurmountable) to become an adoptive parent, and there are a fair amount of children who, through no fault of their own, do not get adopted until later in their youth…”…do you object to reforming the adoption process?
4) “…..Easy to do when you’re a male to “endure” it all. I don’t have an easy solution, but it smacks of a religious tyranny when one group may impose a value system that is NOT congruent with all, and then mask it as righteous because the imposing group is religious”…..do you question the authenticity of slavery abolitionists too?
Abortion is violent and ends in DEATH. A baby is killed. All of your false justifications fall by the wayside – a baby is killed.
Let’s applaud the heroes. 32% of women who conceive a child by rape choose to raise that child. God bless them. Pray for them and pray for legislation that gives parental rights to the mom because in many states the rapist can claim parental rights and the rape victim is forced to co-parent with her rapist.
Guttmacher Institute which is not pro-life estimates 1% of abortions of children conceived during rape and .5% of abortions are children conceived during incest.
i get that one possible true objective of being pro-life is less about saving a fetus (which cannot survive outside a womb) and creating the fearful possibility of of getting pregnant as a means of curtailing sexual activity. As much as any political or religious group desires, it cannot, at least in this country thus far, impose its value system on the entire citizenry.
The point is to save lives, not run lives or ruin lives.
Those who have been promiscuous know better than anyone the consequences-and pregnancy is just one. It would be good if we could save people all their heartaches, But that is not the point.
Don’t kill people. Just don’t.