If you've had an abortion you know how much it hurts. It’s not over and done with when you walk out of the building.
I want you to know something. And I say this from the bottom of my heart. You are loved. You can be forgiven. And healing is possible.
I want to share a video that has a powerful message of hope for those who’ve suffered through an abortion.
Here is a link to a video of a woman named Lisa who dealt with abuse, divorce, and had three abortions. She has an incredible witness about the healing she received. The beauty of being Catholic is that besides counseling, we have the Sacrament of Confession where Christ Himself forgives us. Lisa experiences peace when she stopped hiding her abortions in the dark. Her shame was wiped away.
The most moving part of this video to me is when she says she can’t wait to get to heaven and have Jesus tell her, “you have three beautiful children here to meet you.”
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who said that a woman has a right to have an abortion because it's her body? This is one of the most common ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏdefenses' of the pro-choice position; so more than likely, you've heard it.
It’s hard to respond to. Here are some ways you can talk about this argument.
A woman's body is one thing; a child's body is another.
This may seem obvious, but to some people it's not. Yes, a woman can do what she wants with her own body. If she really wants a mullet, or to rock that pink hair, by all means – she has a 'right' to that.
On the contrary though, a woman does not have the right to choose what is going to be done to another person. If you were forced into having pink hair, or forced to jump off a bridge – the person who made those decisions for you would have violated your rights. Everyone can agree with that.
When a woman makes a decision to kill her child by having an abortion, that decision doesn't affect only her body, but another person's. That choice infringes the rights of the child for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
No person's rights are more important than another person’s rights. Abortion says the exact opposite.
If a woman has a 'right' to do what she wants with her body, then that responsibility starts before she gets pregnant.
If someone doesn't want bad breath, they brush their teeth (or chew copious amounts of gum). If soccer players don't want broken shins, they wear shin guards. With our bodies, we can see something called cause and effect very clearly.
If someone doesn't care about having bad breath, then they're not going to brush their teeth. There is a natural order so that when you do something to your body (or don't do it) there is a direct result. That same person who doesn't brush their teeth cannot get angry for having bad breath – they made that decision.
A woman who is sexually active and gets pregnant can't really be surprised by the result of life in her womb. The reality is that sex, in it's proper context, is meant for a love that is free, total, faithful, and fruitful – resulting in a baby.
More than 93% of today's abortions are done for social reasons; the woman doesn't want a child to interfere with her plans, or money issues. Those women who knew they didn't want to have a child had the choice to have sex, or not to.
A woman does have a choice about what she can do with her body; it's the same choice you have when you wake up and decide whether or not you want to wear deodorant or not. If you don't, you'll have to deal with the consequences.
The best response is always love.
When talking with someone who uses any argument to defend the right to have an abortion, the best way to approach the conversation is always with care and love.
When a woman says 'this is my body' in talking about her decision, she’s usually speaking more out of fear rather than malice. She doesn't want to deliberately kill her child because she hates children.
Jesus also said “This is my body” (Luke 22:19) at the Last Supper the night before He died. He said this when He was giving Himself to us in the Eucharist. Those words were based on love and self-gift. A mother has the same opportunity to make a gift of her body, her very self, to her child.
Remind her that we have a God who loves us unconditionally, and there is nothing that can change that.
When you hear the word “abortion” you think of a woman. And rightly so. A woman is the one who carries the child, undergoes the procedure, and loses her motherhood. But men are not numb to what is happening. Just as many men are stripped of their fatherhood by this horror. Those who haven’t experienced an abortion, are still passionate about protecting women and children and are saddened by abortion.
I asked a handful of men some questions about abortion and I was deeply moved by their answers. It convinced me that it’s not just women who are hurt by abortion. Men have strong feelings about it and want to stand up for life. They are affected too.
To me abortion is one of the saddest things that happens in our world. It breaks my heart that we live in a society and in a world where we feel like we can take life away. I think I've gained a new appreciation for what it means to have life beginning at conception now that I have a child on the way. – Eric Porteous
I was a public school student and I can remember in 5th grade in 'sex ed' I was taught that abortion was one of three equally appropriate actions to take when a child was conceived. Since that's what I was taught, I thought it was right. Praise God for the gift of my faith and the grace to learn what is true. Especially as an adopted child, I value the gift of life. It would have been easy for my birth mother to 'terminate her pregnancy' but she chose to give me life. – Scott Williams
Are men affected by this issue? How?
Absolutely, and I speak from personal experience. 11 years ago my girlfriend at the time told me she was pregnant, but because she already had one fatherless child and I was a drunk and an addict she told me she was going to abort the baby. I was not practicing my faith back then but I knew it was wrong. I fought for her to keep the baby but in the end I gave up.
Eventually we split up, I went to rehab and straightened out my life and found myself working in youth ministry, all by God's grace. I thought my life was pretty good. But there was something missing. Although I had a lot of joy in my life I felt like there was an emptiness in me that I couldn't fill.
A few years ago I was driving home, listening to our local Catholic radio station and there was a man talking about abortion. I can't remember his name or much of what he said, but the one thing I can remember was that he spoke about how men suffer from abortion too. At that moment I realized what the emptiness in my own life had been, it was the loss of my child, the child I gave up on years before.
I had to stop the car and pull into a parking lot. I sat there and thought about all the times certain T.V. commercials brought me to tears unexplainably, how I was never able to talk about that incident and I could go on and on about all the other bad choices I had made. I tried to forget the part I played in the abortion of my child and it was tearing me up inside.
A few months later I heard about a Rachel’s Way retreat for women and men suffering from the loss of their children. It was there that I learned more about how and why women and men suffer from abortion and how to deal with it. I was also given a special grace from God. As we watched a video of men and women sharing their stories, I heard a small voice. It was the voice of little boy. I heard it clear as a bell, he said 'Joshua, Joshua, my name is Joshua.' I knew it was my son and that God had allowed me to hear him so that I could grieve his death and begin the process of healing.
Today I still regret my lost fatherhood, but I'm able to share that with others. I still cry when I think about Joshua, but I pray for him and ask that he prays for me. The hurt is still there, but the emptiness is gone. – Bert Hernandez
When one hurts, we all hurt. If a woman is hurt, that is our mother, sister, daughter, or friend that is hurt. God has a plan for us all. We can’t pretend that if one life is gone, the world will be the same. – Michael Grothem
As a man, I want to be able to support the woman I love as much as I can. That means that when a woman becomes pregnant, the father needs to be there just as God is there for his bride, the Church. Just as Joseph was there for Mary. Men are affected by this issue because having children means accepting responsibility. Agreeing for a woman to have an abortion is saying no to the responsibility that has been given to the man. … Andrew Jones
Absolutely. We've lost a whole generation of children. That affects us whether we're men or women. It breaks my heart personally because life is something that should be treasured and sacred. We've lost millions of people that could be doing amazing things in this world and we'll never know. Suppose one of those babies could've come up with a cure for cancer, suppose they could've been a great priest, or the next pope, we'll never know. And that has an impact on all of us.ÌâåÊ- Eric Porteous
Men are certainly affected by abortion. Some men don't outwardly show their emotions, making it hard to spot or it is often quickly dismissed because it's 'not their body' and shouldn't concern them. While walking across the country, promoting the pro-life movement a man came up after we did a speech at mass with tears rolling down his face telling us a woman he conceived a child with had an abortion without him knowing. He pleaded with us never to let someone go through the same misery he has. He still suffers the loss of his child to this day. – Scott Williams
What would you say to a woman who’s about to have an abortion?
You are beautiful and loved. You matter. God has chosen you to be a mother, to bring a life into this world. You can do this. God has trusted you with this child. He gave you this child for a reason. You can change the world. – Michael Grothem
Clearly, this is a decision that weighs heavily on any person. When people are faced with such dire decisions, meeting these with anger and legalism doesn't change hearts or minds. Explaining that there are options like adoption, and programs, both Church supported and secular to support mothers who need help can create an environment of love where fear is trying to take hold. Replace fear and doubt with love and support. – Adam Eichelberger
I'd talk to her about the life inside her and the beauty of parenthood, but more than anything else I would try to convince her that she's not alone. I believe a large percentage of women who get abortions have been convinced by the industry that they can't do it; that they can't give their child a good life. I think many just need to be told that they can do it. That there are people who can and will help them be great parents. … Rey Guevara
Why do you care what a woman does with her body?
The claim of pro-choice goes beyond a woman's right to do what she wants with her body. When the leading atrocity being executed in our country and across the world is played out from our very own hands it's not a claim of rights or choice for the mother. It's a claim of liberty for the beating heart in the depths of her womb that is being silenced beyond it's already limited stature. Our voices must rise in resounding shouts of love in defense of the very breath we take for granted each second. – Cristopher Matthews
Blessed JPII said that every man has the duty to uphold the dignity of every woman. Unfortunately too many men think more about what a woman can give him than what he should be providing for them. Men are built to protect, it part of our nature. – Bert Hernandez
I care because she is a daughter of God and deserves the truth when all she's been hearing are lies. I care because she is my sister in Christ and I care a great deal about my sisters and want only the best for them, and the best is God's will. – Bryan Kujawa
Because she is a child of God. As a servant of God, I have the right to stand up for God's creation. This stands for both the child in the womb and the woman who carries that child. – Andrew Jones
What can men do to stand up and fight against abortion?
Men can do a lot to fight against abortion and stand up for women and unborn children. They can start by living lives of holiness and virtue. They can start by truly seeking to honor women in all of their interactions with them. They can show women that they genuinely care about them. They can realize that their actions have consequences and think about these consequences before doing anything. They can seek the truth and educate themselves so they may be better informed when asked about tough topics. They can live holy and chaste lives. … Bryan Kujawa
First, understand what being a man really is. Realize that the gift of creating life is set aside for the bond of marriage between a wife and husband. When we choose to pursue selfish pleasure rather than the true embodiment of love, we become the problem. So much of the problem that we have made when it comes to women feeling cornered into ending life, if we respected life as men and honored women with true, selfless love, there would be no need for abortion.
Second, stand for life. Be unafraid to lovingly stand for life. Don't engage those who are facing such a hard choice with anger or frustration. Remind them of the power of love by being an example of love. Show love not only in how you speak, but how you act. Invest time, be kind, realize how vulnerable and conflicted women who face abortion are. … Adam Eichelberger
Why do you think men sometimes pressure women to have an abortion?
Fear and misunderstanding. There is a generation of men who grew up without someone to tach them what a it means to be a man, so men have misunderstandings about the role of the man. Society has portrayed men as either womanizing playboys or incompetent dolts. So naturally, thats what most men have become. When a man find out he is going to be a father they fear the responsibility that comes with a child. They are afraid of their inability to provide for the child or afraid of change of lifestyle that happens when you have a child. … Bert Hernandez
Because it’s so easy. It’s not our body. It’s not our choice. It’s not our life on the line. And yet this is the argument the pro-choice people use as well. It’s not our body, it’s not our choice. We, as men, have to act like the men God wanted us to be. Protectors. Redeemers. Counselors. And yet so many of us panic. We freeze, like Adam froze in the Garden. We blame it on Eve. When ultimately it is our fear that outweighs our responsibility to protect the new life that God has breathed into the wombs of our women. … Steve Gonzales
Men don't pressure women to have an abortion. If a male pressures a woman to have an abortion, he doesn't deserve the right to be called a man. A man's role is to love, protect, provide, and grow chest hair. When males pressure women to have an abortion, it is because unfortunately, they lack what it takes to be a man, to be a father. … Scott Williams
When faced with fear people tend to act courageously or cowardly. That's not to say there isn't a time for the fight or flight instinct, but it would seem in the case of a man faced with an unplanned pregnancy he's reaction is either one of courageous nobility or cowardly fear. Thus, the latter results in seeking to eliminate the inconvenience in order to remove the internal angst. – Cristopher Matthews
I'm not sure if it was the steady rainfall rushing our pace or finally perfecting back-pack chains, but this year our group approached the steps of the Supreme Court earlier and closer than we had in years past. For the first time we saw the many men and women who courageously line 2nd Street, the final steps to the Supreme Court Building, holding signs that say, 'I regret my abortion' and 'Men regret lost fatherhood'.
I watched as teens began to weep at the sight of these men and women. Some murmured, 'That is so sad.' And many marchers stopped to shake their hands and hug them, thanking them for their presence.
Hours earlier, Msgr. Charles Pope addressed the 20,000 Catholic youth gathered at the Verizon Center for Mass, explaining that choosing to 'respect the dignity and sacredness' of human life is the fundamental decision, but 'like any fundamental choice, it has to be supported by many smaller and daily choices. We can't just shout ‘Pro-life’ we have to live it daily.'
When we attend the March for Life, we stand in the streets of our Nation's capital to protest a law that is unjust. To take a day to gather and give a very public witness – to 'shout' that we are pro-life, and that the law of our land is unjust. But as Catholics – as humans – we know that at the heart of the pro-life movement it is not a question of laws but of souls. The souls of babies, the souls of mothers and fathers, and the souls of those with whom we disagree.
We want the laws changed. But even more, we want souls healed.
Every year, teens that attend the March for Life ask me if I think that the laws will change. They stare at the sea of people and ask, 'If this happens every year, how is there still abortion?'
And each year, I respond that I don't know about the laws. But the testimony of 2nd street – of both men and women declaring their regret, and of youth and adults offering their support – shows that while laws may be slow to change, God works faster than Congress to change souls.
Msgr. Pope challenged those attending the March for Life, 'Don't just shout today, be pro-life in your decisions tomorrow and six months from now. Chastity, charity to the poor and those in crisis, courage and care for the disabled, constancy in our witness and practice.'
The March for Life lets us shout that we are pro-life, to give an important public witness. Our Catholic faith, however, gives us the grace to be pro-life daily – in our families, relationships, and communities. It is through each one of us receiving grace through the Sacraments, practicing social outreach, and clearly articulating the teachings of the Church that souls are changed.
And when souls are changed, we can be hopeful that the laws of our nation will eventually change as well.