The March for Life is a kaleidoscopic experience, at which, in a glance, one can see numerous dimensions and varied works of the pro-life movement.
One of those in clear view is the work of healing the wounds of abortion.
If all the abortions stopped tomorrow, the work of healing will have only just begun. As Pastoral Director of the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard, and of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which gives voice to those who want to tell their story of abortion, I see the centrality of these ministries more and more clearly each day.
This week, at the March for Life, and at the Walk for Life West Coast, we will once again hold a Silent No More gathering, during which Moms and Dads will share their testimonies of grief and of healing after abortion.
This deters some from having abortions, and gives hope to those who have done so but are trapped in despair.
Likewise it educates the public about the harm abortion does, and the path to healing, and also gives us activists a new tool to persuade others that abortion is not a solution to anyone’s problems.
The members of this Campaign 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 that constitute the trauma that follows abortion.
At this week’s national marches, they will hold their signs saying, “I Regret My Abortion” and “I Regret Lost Fatherhood.” Along with public gatherings, furthermore, they will speak in legislative assemblies, in the media, and in Churches.
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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 everyone who has had an abortion 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.