Pro-Life Compassion: Child and Mother

On Tuesday, the announcement came that Pope Francis had given authorization to priests to forgive the sin of abortion, which the Catholic church considers a “moral evil”.

…for the specific period of the Jubilee year — December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016 — the pope has removed that extra step, giving each priest around the world the faculty to grant absolution for abortion.

“I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision,” said the pope.

I am not Catholic, nor have I attended any type of Catholic service, so I do not claim to know the specifics associated with decrees from the Pope. But one thing struck me as I read articles reporting this new authorization and people’s reaction to it; the idea of compassion for women who have made a conscious decision to have an abortion. It’s not as if showing tenderness toward post-abortive mothers has never crossed my mind, it just doesn’t cross it often enough. I wish this wasn’t the case.

Into every clinic where abortions are performed, two lives go in, and only one comes out. In between that, a decision is made to willfully destroy a developing child for reasons which, too often, have absolutely nothing to do with the life of the mother. A Guttmacher Institute report lists reasons the women they surveyed had abortions:

The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%). Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child.

These are heartbreaking statistics showing the seemingly throw-away nature of new life. Every day, women who find themselves in one of these categories decide an abortion is best for them at that moment in their lives. Quickly their inconvenience is gone, and they can go down the path that they’ve decided upon. The tiny heartbeat that had existed separately within them beats no longer. Some in the pro-abortion movement have been vocal about their “choice”, and are convinced they made the right decision. It means nothing to them. For the ones who do feel remorse, regret, and crushing emotional pain, the memory is devastating. And permanent.

Resources such as the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, one focused on support, help, and healing for women who have had abortions, and men whose fatherhood was taken from them, make known the devastation abortion brings years after the procedure ends. A recent video from Silent No More references the Planned Parenthood videos.

…viewing the images of the abortion procedure, connects the mother and father with the reality of what abortion did her unborn child, and our role in our child’s death. The images of fragmented and broken children are deeply disturbing, and mirror the fragmented feelings that are deep in my heart. The images also trigger painful memories of my abortion decision and the procedure. Can you relate?

The number of abortions since Roe v. Wade exceeds 57,000,000. A staggering, horrifying amount. Yes, there are women who don’t regret their participation in this legal homicide. However, there are many who remain devastated long after being told “it’s over”.

There are two lives that go into these clinics, and while we mourn the murder of one, we can’t forget the others. The post-abortive mothers (and clinic workers themselves) can and do develop into powerful voices for the pro-life movement. If there’s one thing that Pope Francis’ declaration reminded me of, it’s that compassion regarding abortion doesn’t just extend to sorrow over the loss of life. It should be evident in how we treat and respond to those whose decision led to that death in the first place.