Monday, January 12, 2009
Silent No More
Fr. Frank Pavone
Priests for Life
Abuse victims often use the phrase "Silent No More" to indicate their response to being victimized. It may be surprising to some in our society that as our nation reaches another anniversary of the abortion decisions Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, that women from coast to coast are uniting under the banner of "Silent No More" because they have had abortions.
Not illegal "back alley" abortions, but abortions in legal "clinics."
These women do not consider themselves freed, empowered, or ennobled because of their abortion. Rather, they testify that they were enslaved, weakened, and wounded. They were, in short, given a false promise, which is the essence of all temptation. They were told that this "procedure" would solve their problems. Instead, it brought more problems than they care to think about, namely, the whole range of physical and psychological wounds often described by the term "post-abortion syndrome."
What are these women doing to express their message? In Washington and in cities across the country, they will gather publicly at rallies and prayer events and hold signs that say, "I Regret My Abortion." The Washington gathering will, in fact, be at the steps of the Supreme Court, on the very date, January 22, that abortion was legalized.
This campaign is organized worldwide by Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life, and is the largest mobilization ever of women and men who have lost children to abortion. Along with public gatherings, they speak in legislative assemblies, in the media, and in Churches.
But why do this? If abortion is so painful, some will ask, why make a public display out of one's experience?
The answer is understood only if one knows how shameful and painful the silence of abortion is. The grief that follows abortion is, in the words of Dr. Theresa Burke, a "forbidden grief." The grief is not acknowledged; it is not validated. People don't send sympathy cards or talk about it openly. In fact, those who grieve their child killed by abortion are often made to feel silly for feeling sad. After all, they are told by society that they exercised a choice that solved a problem. Why grieve over that?
Such questions, of course, reveal a complete blindness to the fact that killing one's child hurts, and leaves a wound that Mom or Dad does not ever forget.
These men and women are tired of having pro-choice advocates pretend to speak for them. They want to tell the world, in their own words, that what is too easily celebrated as a "choice" and a "right" is in fact a painful burden.
Not every post-abortive person has found enough healing to be able to participate in these public rallies or hold these signs. But the participants in the Silent No More Awareness Campaign pray that their presence will assist their sisters on the road to healing, and give them some measure of comfort to know that their grief is no longer forbidden.
This Column can be found online at http://www.priestsforlife.org/columns/columns2009/09-01-12-silentnomore.htm
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