National Catholic Register

Commentary

I Will Not Apologize for My Post-Abortive Faith

BY Theresa Bonopartis

September 20-26, 2009 Issue | Posted 9/11/09 at 4:04 PM

 

If only the Church would leave women alone, there would be no guilt after abortion. Men, too, could send their babies to their deaths and not give it a second thought. All would be well in Abortionland.

Or so pro-abortion activists would have us believe. Are they right? Of course not.

Defenders of abortion refuse to publicly acknowledge the terrible guilt pangs men and women suffer after aborting their children. This is a logical extension of their illogical refusal to acknowledge that abortion is the destruction of human life.

They’re playing a game of smoke and mirrors: One needn’t be religiously inclined at all to see that abortion is not a religious issue — it’s a human-rights issue.

I know about the guilt problem firsthand. After having an abortion as a teenager, I suffered emotionally and began down a destructive road. I picked a spouse who had an alcohol problem. I did not think I deserved to be loved or treated well by anyone. The marriage ended, and I struggled through single parenthood, raising two sons on my own with no support.

My faith not only got me through, but I also raised two great guys who lead fulfilling and productive lives. As far as I know, no one calls single parenthood a “religious issue.”

Oftentimes, we post-abortive people of faith feel we have to apologize for our faith. I, for one, refuse to apologize for the role my faith has played in my life — whether it comes to healing after abortion or any other issue. My faith is not a problem that instills guilt in me. It is a gift that brings me life.

My mom suffered with Alzheimer’s for many years. It was a great trial for those of us who cared for her. She was gone long before she physically died, and it was very painful to watch a woman who never had a singe hair out of place walk out of the bathroom with lipstick all over her face. It would have been easy to despair. It was heart-wrenching to lose her to such a humiliating disease — and it was my faith that got me through those times. As far as I know, no one says Alzheimer’s is a “religious issue.”

There is no doubt faith has seen me through some hard times and some joyous times. It is part of who I am, but it is not why I suffered psychologically after my abortion. I suffered because I took the life of my unborn child.

Recently, a student from the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism asked me if I felt guilt after my abortion because I had returned to church. I replied: “No, it was not on my return to church that I felt guilt over killing my unborn child. I felt guilt because I saw my dead son lying on the bed beside me as a result of a saline abortion.”

Most post-abortive women and men come back to church, or to faith for the first time, because they are filled with guilt and shame and are searching for peace. It is there that they find it — through God’s mercy.

Most women do not see their aborted child. They are shielded from the horror, but they know just the same what has happened.

How is it that those who are pro-abortion think religious faith can instill guilt — while participating in the death of an innocent child has no such power?

How is it that they decry deaths from illegal abortions in other countries — but stay silent when women die here?

How is it they refuse to acknowledge the pain countless women experience after abortion — yet are more than willing to acknowledge emotional stress before abortion?

Why is the pain of guilt never a religious issue before abortion — but always one after, when the result is not what pro-abortion activists would like?

No, it is not my Catholic faith that made me feel guilt and shame and all the other emotions I lived with for years. It was my innate call to motherhood. My humanness.

In fact, it was my faith that saved me: God helped me heal and be whole again.

Why would I ever apologize for that?

Theresa Bonopartis is director of

Lumina (online at PostAbortionHelp.org).