Sunday, February 27, 2011


I attended a fundraiser yesterday with a very close friend for our local ce.nter.  I had expected this to be a small gathering but it was very surprised to find out this event was attended by the who's who of Catholic women in our community.  There was hardly a parking spot left in the lot.  I agreed to attend after my friend invited me several weeks ago.  I thought at most this would be an interesting situation where I could ask questions about what the center does.  For many years, I've held opinions about centers like these where I perceive the staff have the singular focus of making sure an abortion doesn't happen and paying attention to little else.

At about the mid-point, a very nice looking lady got up to the lectern and delivered a speech.  She told a story about one woman who came to their center.  According to the lady speaking, this woman was a married mother of two who (and I don't remember where she said this happened) was "assaulted" and got pregnant as a result.  The woman's husband was pressuring his wife to get an abortion (this caused a collective gasp in the audience) but after he saw the care and concern from the center's staff, he was so touched, he supported his wife in carrying "her" baby to term.  Of course, the family needed supplies and baby c.lothes and the volunteers donated these items to them.  And now, there's "a happy baby a part of a happy family" thanks to the support of people like us in the audience.  I didn't clap at the conclusion of the speech.

Many things about this story disturbed me and left me believing much of the story is not true.  Before the speech, I was talking to one of the lady's at my table and she had volunteered at the center and she talked a bit about her experience.  She said there were so many different stories of teenagers, married women, married women having affairs....  So, when the story about the "assault" came along, the lack of words in the speech like "police," "conviction," "prison," and even the main word English speakers use, "rape," made me think that an affair might be the real cause of the pregnancy.

But even if the story were true in that regard, I'm deeply offended that the speaker chose a story of rape to illustrate just how easy it is to talk a woman out of abortion.  In fact, the speaker never said the woman considered abortion, just that she came to the center to talk about her situation.  Give me a break!  Rape is a horrific crime that can cause untold psychological damage to the victim.  And not a word in the speech demonstrating sympathy that the crime had occurred.  It was just about saving the baby.

The story confirmed my long held fears about pro.-life activists, it's not about compassion for the suffering of women.  It's not about looking honestly at the situations of a person's life that gets them to the point of calling or going to the center.  It's just about making sure that baby is born.  My fervent hope is that there would be even the slightest bit of depth to the work.  Sure, prevent that abortion, but don't thrown the woman out with the proverbial bath water.  Don't call what is rape, assault.  Don't minimize violence against women.  It happens every day all over our world.  Pay respect and work for the common good and don't whitewash it.  


  1. Ugh...I just wrote a very long comment and poof...when I went to submit, I got an error. Okay, try #2.

    I think you are a great writer and write with honesty, conviction and sincerity. However, I take great issue with painting the whole pro-life movement with the broad brush as you did in the last paragraph. I personally know many women who work at centers such as this and my husband and I do support one in particular on a monthly basis and have been doing so for years because we highly value the support and encouragement they provided to ALL involved - the mother, the father (if they are in the picture), the baby, other family members, etc. So, this comment is coming from that point of view.

    In regards to the speaker and her choice of words. Whether or not she used the words "rape" or "affair" to describe the actual event - which we don't know which one it was or both, etc - that is up to her. I don't think it was an opportunity to downplay the circumstances that bring women into the clinic. The 1st thing that came to my mind was that could it have been that the woman to which this happened to was sitting in the audience and didn't want a lot of the details being broadcast to the whole group? I have been to numerous of these banquets and a lot of times they do have former and current clients in the audience.

    Abortion hurts ALL involved and I am grateful for the centers that we have in this area and the very valuable need they fulfill for woman and men in crisis pregnancies - whatever the situation may be. I have never heard anyone involved in the pro-life movement that I personally interact with "minimize violence against women". Far from it - most think as I do that abortion itself is one of the great acts of violence committed against women. In regards to your "fervent hope is that there would be even the slightest bit of depth to the work" - I would encourage you to volunteer at a center such as this. I think you would be a valuable asset to them and they would appreciate your help. I think you then would see the work they do for everyone involved - both before and after the baby is born. Just my thought...okay, I guess it was more than one thought!

  2. I have to say that as someone that spends a lot of time outside of abortion clinics counseling women, it is amazing how misguided people are about what we do and we "really" care for. Have you read the book Unplanned? Abby Johnson does an amazing job in the book explaining how there are well meaning people on both sides of the movement and extremist as well, so it is hard to just make a big statement about everyone like you made here. She also talks about her experience with rape victims and how abortion adds an additional wound, while carrying the baby to term (and keeping or giving it up for adoption) provides so much healing! Please consider reading this book and giving it some more thought. I am proud to be associated with our local crisis pregnancy center.

  3. I was really moved to respond to this post, but I think that JBTC and WR said it all better than I could.

    All I will add is that I have been involved with several pro-life groups and crisis pregnancy centers, and the care for these women, all women, is astounding, and lasts far beyond the birth of the baby.

    I also think it's the pro-choice community that is callous about abortion after a rape. Poke around this site and you will learn a lot... I did: