January 22nd is a difficult day on which to post on a blog about life and love. This year, in particular, it is the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United States of America. There are more than 50 million babies who have been killed in that time. More than 50 million lives destroyed.
Today I've been thinking of several past experiences.
- Of sidewalk counseling outside of Pittsburgh abortion clinics -- sensitive young girls wearing sweatpants, holding a plastic bag, smoking a cigarette, asking to be left alone. Some would stop and listen. Maybe a boyfriend or a mother would stop and listen. Some would yell. Some would curse. Some would go inside. Some would stay in their cars and never come back. Some would leave the clinic and we would ask, "What can we do to help?"
- Of a 1,300 mile pro-life walk many summers ago, from Maine to DC -- sharing the good news of the culture of life, speaking with women who regretted their past abortions, seeing the joy of a 16-year-old pregnant woman who had been in some ways "adopted" by the pro-life community in her city, watching an ambulance take away a woman from inside of an abortion clinic, meeting people who had never seriously considered what abortion means for all involved.
- Of working at a pregnancy resource center -- answering phone calls from hurting women, running pregnancy tests, watching miraculous ultrasounds, speaking with women who in the news of their pregnancy needed to know that they are not alone.
- Of all of the stories I've heard, the articles I've read, the videos I've watched. Of all of the lives that have been changed by the devastation of abortion. Of all the lives that have been beautifully transformed by a choice for life even in difficult moments.
Today, I've read the sorrowful account of Katrina Fernandez who mourns her abortion and speaks of the power of prayer.
I read Simcha Fisher's excellent piece on why graphic pictures should not be part of the March for Life.
I've come across a British article about the four abortionists in the United States who perform third trimester abortions. You'd think that in "risking their lives" for this, that they're doing something noble.
But then I came across a new documentary, 3801 Lancaster, that reveals the graphic horrors of Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia clinic -- third trimester abortions and the absolute lack of nobility involved.
Interestingly, amidst all of this, I also came across, "The Beautiful and Efficient Anatomy of Pregnancy" (on Huffington Post, of all places!).
There's a lot to think about today, to pray about. It's a day to consider how abortion has changed our world, changed our friends and family, changed us. It's a day to make a renewed commitment to place our service at the flourishing of a culture of life.
And if you're looking for a place to start, maybe it's time to consider a drive to DC for this Friday's March for Life.