Friday, April 17, 2009

In a screwed-up world, THIS is where I find hope.

I knew a woman once who argued for abortion rights based solely on the fact that she had a friend with a medical condition which would made pregnancy almost certainly fatal for her. This woman argued that abortion MUST remain legal so that her friend would not be condemned to die if she would accidentally get pregnant.

Few people understand that reversing Roe vs. Wade would simply put the abortion decision back in the hands of the states. That means that some states would likely decide to keep legal abortion and others would decide against it. I doubt that abortion for medical reasons (as above) would EVER be criminalized in any state. I have my own opinions about such a case, but I'm not going to debate the morality of a life-or-death (of the mother) decision here. My concern in this post is for all those non-medically-necessary abortions.

Ninety-eight percent of all abortions are performed for non-medical reasons. I would venture to guess that the majority of these are decisions of convenience. The mother-to-be is too young, too old, too unmarried, too married (not to the father of the baby), too close to a promotion at her job, too scared to be tied down to a special-needs baby, etc.

I attended a pro-life event this week that I attend every year. The speakers at this event were so high-profile that if I were to list them, you would be able to find out exactly where I was. As much as I enjoyed the speakers, the most moving part of the evening was a testimonial by three women who are involved in a project that is close to my heart. This project speaks to the heart of why I am pro-life and how I fit into the spectrum of those who defend the defenseless.

While I recognize the importance of protecting life through our laws and policies as a community, state and country (and while I shake in my boots to think of the potential harm that our current national administration is doing and will continue to do to those policies), I believe that the greatest power we have in changing the culture is to change people's hearts and lives...one at a time.

The Gabriel Project was started by a Catholic parish in Texas in 1973 as a response to Roe vs. Wade. The priest at this particular parish had a sign erected on his parish property which simply stated that this Church would offer any necessary support to any pregnant woman in need. This developed into a ministry over the years in which participating churches have volunteers called Gabriel "angels" who become the mother/sister/friend figure to the pregnant woman in need, walking beside her and loving both her and her baby. Most churches or networks offer a variety of supporting ministries that provide material support to women in need.

The whole point of the Gabriel Project is to EMPOWER women to and help them find the resources they need to be able to make the decision to give birth. Most women go on to be self-sufficient moms. Some women decide to make an adoption plan and are supported through that decision. All women are treated as beloved family members who are deserving of all the love and support the parish can give.

I heard about this project at a pro-life conference several years ago, and it percolated in the back of my mind until 2007. Something about adoption research made me realize that there were so many scared women out there who just needed ONE PERSON to be a friend. I brought the Gabriel Project idea to our local pro-life group. Shortly thereafter, I became a full-time Mom. But the idea had caught on, and the people who took the reins ended up taking it further than I ever could have.

Speaking onstage were two of the Gabriel "angels" and one of the Moms they had helped (along with her adorable 6-month-old son). I was reduced to a sobbing mess as I listened to one of the "angels" recount her experience with this Mom. It was powerful. The "angel" had become a family figure to the Mom, to the point that she was invited into the c-section delivery of the child who was to become her Godson.

Two women. Two different races. Two different socio-economic backgrounds. Two dramatically different sets of life circumstances. United by a desire to protect one little life. And now they are family, their lives forever intertwined by the circumstances that made them friends.

This, my friends, is what God wants. It's not about party politics or power or population control. It's about creating an environment where every woman has the resources and support she needs to make a miracle out of unfortunate circumstances. It's about empowering individuals to open their hearts to God's plan for their lives. It's about walking hand-in-hand with another human person, for the good of all humanity. Because when one person is hurting, the community suffers. And when that person is hurting because we failed to reach out with compassion, we suffer all the more. We are one human family, and when we reach out in love to a member of that family, many lives are changed.

How many hearts and minds are changed when you change the life of one person? How many lives will be affected by that child who will know that he is loved not only by his mother, but by a community of people who support her? How many "angels" will find their lives deeply affected by the families they encounter?

Become a participant in spreading the Love of God, and God will change your heart forever. And THIS, my friends, is the change WE need.

1 comment:

Jen said...

What defines a medically necessary abortion? Is it something life threatening to the mother only? Or does it include things like when the baby has a lethal birth defect?