It is never far from mind how fortunate I am to be in the DC area and close to so many incredible Catholic events. Truly, if I were not here, I am not sure I would have returned to the Church, due to the great wealth of people, leaders, clergy, events, talks and physical churches available to nourish one's spiritual needs.
Friday was such a day. As opposed to the hundreds who came from around the country, hopping on buses at the crack of dawn and staying in hotels, I went to work Friday morning and then sashayed down to the Catholic Information Center to walk to the March in the afternoon.
I should add, too, that proximity to so many buildings related to the governance and justice of our country never gets old, either. I felt that way especially once we ended up in front of the Supreme Court, where women were giving their testimony. It was moving, to the point of tears, to listen to these women, who have undergone such trauma, but are able to find the courage to speak about it. Their courage could save lives.
I found this quote from Dorothy Day:
"I fell in love with a newspaperman named Lionel Moise. I got pregnant. He said that if I had the baby, he would leave me. I wanted the baby but I wanted Lionel more. So I had the abortion and I lost them both."
That sums it up for me. Abortion is not a solution, it is a tragedy which begets further tragedy. I don't mean because she lost her boyfriend; but the regret, the shame, the humiliation, the "what if" and the darkness that is a separation from God. Taking a child's life does not end a problem, it begins to spin a web of problems that cast out into a woman's life, through her years.
Although I have been in DC a while, I never felt particularly moved to attend the March. I think this year was different because I am better understanding what it means to be pro-life, from all perspectives, including the value of those whose lives are considered unworthy due to disability. Further, many of my friends and family members now have children whose whole beings are full of love and light, and I see that. There is one little girl in particular to whom I am very close, deeply so, so much that I feel our souls must be connected, she is that singular and important. However, if her mother had not made a distinctly pro-life choice, I would not know this special angel. It is clear to all who know her that she is a direct gift from God, even if unexpected. But what if the gift had not been accepted? It is unthinkable.
God reaches us and teaches us in ways we sometimes do not fully understand. I have no children, and thanks be to God, have never had to make such a choice as many of the women I heard from Friday did. What I see as I begin to more fully understand this whole issue and debate is the inter-connectivity between all life. When you snuff out one part, the consequences echo out in ways you can neither anticipate nor all gather back to you to make right. I believe an abortion sets off a chain reaction, both emotional and material, which Dorothy Day's quote illustrates. If for no other reason, this is why protecting life matters - it is the right thing to do for the child, yes, but the metaphysical consequences bear out in ways that I think most women, fathers and families could never begin to comprehend in the moment that choice is made.
One of the speakers said she was given a receipt for her abortion. A receipt in exchange for the life of her child, as if it were a gas station exchange. Women deserve better than this.
What I want to know is how women who DO choose life can be supported. It may be that I have not done enough research into this and that there is an abundance of policy ideas and models already being implemented. But, I get the feeling there isn't. Who is at the forefront, who is the loudest voice, providing solutions for how women and their babies can be supported? It could be a tax credit program, a housing solution, I don't know. Who does know? If you know, will you point the way? This is something I feel called to think about.