Last fall I was moved by the Holy Spirit to become active in the pro-life movement. I have always been pro-life, but I was one of those passive types who held my belief without sharing it, except with a few close friends or family members, whose opinions were already known to me. The Holy Spirit challenged me by asking, “What have you done about it?” I envisioned myself before the seat of judgement being asked that very same question and having nothing to say for myself. It was not a good feeling. I realized that I wanted to become more pro-active in my beliefs and looked around for a way to get started.
I decided to begin my journey by joining the March for Life here in Dallas. So, on a cold, blustery but clear day in mid-January, I took the train to downtown Dallas and joined in the March for Life. I realized almost immediately that this was a community of people united in common passion. It was obvious that for many this is an annual event they look forward to. For many the dream is to someday go to the “big March” held in Washington, DC. I saw people of all ages—many teenagers and even babies in strollers. Many people also carried signs. A man offered me a sign, but it was a Knights of Columbus sign, and I declined it, telling him that I am not Roman Catholic. He told me that didn’t matter, and we enjoyed a brief conversation. I did not take the sign, and that was no problem for him. I spent my time before the March looking around at the various people. I found a group of Episcopalians from Tyler and spoke with them. When the March started, I fell in behind a small group carrying an Anglicans for Life banner. I felt at home there, trailing behind them.
The March was peaceful and quiet. People visited quietly with one another; for many it was a gathering of old friends. We marched through the quiet streets of downtown Dallas. I heard some people reciting the Rosary, but overall there was great stillness and peace. It was not about politics.
The March ended in an open parking lot across from the courthouse, where Roe v Wade was decided. There we heard several speakers who affirmed our shared beliefs. At one point I thought I heard counter-protesters off to one side but, if so, it was very brief. I left at the end of the speeches and rode the train home.
I shared my experience with my eldest daughter, who knew of my reasons for marching. She asked me what my next step was. Now what? That question, along with occasional prodding from the Holy Spirit, has led me to where I am today, writing for this article.
For me, abortion is not an issue of politics; it is a moral issue. I don’t care if Roe v Wade is the law of the land or not; if we bring everyone to honor life, then the legality of abortion is a moot point, as no one would have one. That should be our goal. If all people recognize and acknowledge that life begins at conception and honor it accordingly, then who would have an abortion?
In Texas a woman must have a sonogram before she can have an abortion, then must wait 24 hours before the procedure. According to abortion advocates, this law places an additional financial burden on to a woman who has an unplanned pregnancy and might want an abortion due to financial hardship. Of course those who believe in life hope that the experience of seeing the child move in the womb and hearing the heartbeat will change a mother’s mind.
There are many pro-life clinics that offer very low cost for free pre-natal care and who will do all they can to ease the financial burden of an unplanned pregnancy. Pro-life clinics will give the sonogram for free and use the opportunity to offer support for the mother, to help her want to choose life for her child. I have no idea how effective this is, but I cannot help but think that some children are saved this way. I pray that is so. My oldest daughter is pregnant with twins and has sonograms every other week. The babies are 19 weeks old now, and she told me of how one baby was wiggling his fingers in front of his face while she watched. I felt her joy and amazement, then, as always, a pang of sadness. In most states abortion is legal at 19 weeks.
I don’t want to think about abortion in terms of politics; I don’t believe you can force people through laws and court rulings to honor life if they are not inclined to do so. Our goal must always be to change hearts and minds, one person at a time. If each of us who believe in life become active in speaking out, many will be converted. There are many decent people in our country who just haven’t thought it through to the logical conclusion for life. They are low-hanging fruit that we need to harvest to our cause. We don’t need to be confrontational; we don’t need to shout out our beliefs. We must all seek to be the “still, small voice” by which God spoke to Elijah (I Kings 19:12). God will do the rest.
Since I participated in the March for Life, I have been observing what appears to be an interesting reversal in the politics of the abortion debate. In their zeal to “protect” abortion “rights”, several states have passed, or attempted to pass, extreme abortion laws allowing abortion up until or even past the birth of a full-term baby. As politicians cheer and pat themselves on the back, the vast majority of Americans look on with horror at the thought of killing a full-term child. When in the past has the word “infanticide” ever before been used with such frequency in this debate? I believe it possible this has resulted in a significant increase in those who believe that not only is late term abortion wrong, but any abortion is wrong. When taken to the extreme of killing a viable child, the “woman’s choice” veneer of abortion is stripped away and people can see it for what it truly is, the taking of an innocent life. And if it is wrong to kill a child at 39 weeks, then how is it not wrong to kill the same child at 20 weeks? Once you put abortion on the front page and require people to think about it, beyond the politics, logic and human reason take over for many. This is an example of God in His great economy; no opportunity is lost. God takes the act of legalizing the murder of a soon to be born child and uses it to awaken people to the horror of all abortion and, as a result, we now see many more people opposing all abortion. This is the work we all need to continue with love and care for all. Rather than feel discouraged when these type laws are passed, we must use them as a springboard to show God’s love for all life. The contrast has never been clearer or easier for us to illustrate.
Don’t worry about the politics. No laws that are passed or not passed change the truth, and that is what we seek to share and promote, one person at a time. Remember that very few, if any, go from being pro-life to pro-abortion, and there is a reason for that.
I rode the train into downtown Dallas alone this past January. I marched alone in the company with others who share my beliefs. Next January I plan to march again, and I’m planning to take others with me. Together, we can make a difference by living our beliefs in public.
Written by Barbara Klingman. Barbara is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, TX.