Every Life is a Gift. #marchforlife— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 22, 2015
So, I am sure at this point that my title is cause for some confusion. If I am indeed a Catholic (as my blog title suggests) and I support life (which my past posts regarding Natural Family Planning and three children suggest) then why wouldn't I march?
On this day, millions around the world think about and pray for the little lives lost through abortion. Millions of people talk about what the world missed out on by the taking of these lives, how we will never know the potential those lives held for our future, who they would have become and the worth they had. Everyone talks about the babies...What people don't talk about is the slightly smaller, yet no less important, group that is also thinking about these babies. The group made up of the incredible, strong, beautiful women who faced what they believed was an impossible decision. The group of women who had no one to confide in for fear of judgment and scorn, who believed choosing life for one child may mean an inability to care for the other three, who had no support or education or financial stability to encourage a different decision, who didn't have a choice when the child was made, who believed their child would face the same abuse they did, who chose life when they knew a pregnancy would have killed them. These women are out there today, watching the news and reading the social media articles. They are getting the message loud and clear: EVERY LIFE IS A GIFT.
But when is the last time someone told them that they are a gift, too?
I know...too many women who have gone through an abortion. Friends, loved ones, family members. They aren't murderers. They aren't evil. They are people who continue to act out of love every day toward the people in their lives, their children, their friends, even strangers. They are beautiful beings, and I am incredibly grateful for their existence. Yes, their existence resulted in another life being taken from this world. I also happen to know that their existence has resulted in lives remaining in this world, in lives being enhanced and appreciated and loved. They have made my life better, my world a better place, and it breaks my heart that movements like #marchforlife too often trivialize these women's lives or motives or souls....somehow these women become the enemy.
And why? Why do we find it so important to place the blame, mold the villain, and sharpen the stakes against these women? Is it not bad enough that they had to face such circumstances, such a choice, such judgment, that now they must also hear time and time again the condemnation of the very God that made them?
I cannot march. Every time I think about the marches, the protests, and the demonstrations, I think of the women I know and love and wonder if anyone has told them lately that they matter, that they have worth, that they are more than one moment and one choice. I cannot march. Instead, I pray. I pray for the lives taken through the act of abortion. I pray for the women who thought they had no choice. I pray for the women who continue to feel shame and have no support to help them overcome it. I pray for the women I know and love, that they know they are a gift. Because they are. They are an incredible gift. And perhaps the more we share that message, the more we can work toward changing an attitude that outcasts the broken. Because as broken as they may be to us, they are a priceless gift to God.
**If you or someone you know has experienced an abortion, Rachel's Hope is an organization created to provide support and healing to those in need. Please feel free to visit http://www.rachelshope.org/ **