Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
With ultrasounds, with all the knowledge we have about fetal development, it’s hard to think many (though there are some), are not aware of the reality of abortion. Most abortion supporters want the luxury of a society of pure choice, even if they feel squeamish about abortion in certain circumstances. Why do people want to hold on to this choice? Why do people want to have the possibility to abort their children?
The reasons are legion.
They didn't plan or think they could get pregnant.
They aren't ready to have a child.
They don't want another child.
They don't want this child.
They were raped.
They were coerced.
They were drunk.
They were drugged.
They are afraid to tell someone else.
They are afraid because they told someone else.
They are afraid of all the work in raising a child.
They are afraid of getting fat.
They are afraid because they cannot take care of themselves.
They are afraid because they already take care of so many.
They are afraid because someone else is taking too much control over them.
They are poor, and fear becoming poorer.
They are poor and do not want to have their children be poor.
They are rich, and want to get richer.
This was not part of their plan.
They are old, and think they can't manage.
They are young and think they can't manage.
They are in a bad relationship.
They are in no relationship.
They are getting divorced.
They had an affair.
They had premarital sex and don’t want anyone to know.
They have no place to go.
They think they have no place to go.
They are addicted to something.
They live with someone addicted to something.
It seems easier.
It seems faster.
The baby has some condition that scares them.
There is more than one.
They think it will make the relationship better.
They hate being told they can’t.
They used birth control, so this shouldn’t have happened.
They never wanted children.
They never wanted a relationship.
They think it will solve their problems.
They don't want anyone to find out.
Someone else wants the baby gone.
They've been told, they must.
They've been told, this is the only way.
They believe it's not a baby.
They've told themselves it won't matter.
They've been told, it won't matter.
They've been taught it's just a choice, like picking an ice cream.
They fear how their lives will be changed if they don't.
They've done this before, and think their lives haven't been changed.
They've done this before and want their lives to go on as is.
They’ve never done this before, but want life to go back to how it was.
There are more reasons than this, as many reasons as there are people who consider having one.
Every mother who enters an abortion clinic has a host of reasons, and if we as Catholics want to be fully pro-life, we must meet each person we encounter where they are, not where we want them to be.
Christ met people where they were, Zacchaeus up in a tree, Matthew in the counting hall, the Sons of Zebedee with their father fishing, the woman at the well, and Mary Magdalene with her seven demons. People do not open their lives to life or to a radical change in their lives (like having a baby) because of an argument, but because of an encounter.
Few of us have the grace of reading hearts, so we can only ask the Holy Spirit to place us where we need to be and give us the words if needed, to aid those considering such an act, to an alternative. It is the Holy Spirit that goes out when we approach the suffering or the fearful with love and invites those we encounter, into a greater reality. It is the Holy Spirit, and not us, who invites people to love, to sacrifice, to offer themselves for the child they do not see, rather than for the present fear and trials they can.
We all know that people have lots of reasons for not wanting to have children. Our job as pro-life witnesses, whether online or in person, is to remind each person we encounter struggling with one or more of those reasons, of the one great reason which comes with all the graces accorded a gift from God to one of His beloved children.