Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Apathy Breeds Death"

Today was the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity.

Trying to think of something profound and inspiring to write - but it isn't working. I admit, after many years of pro-life advocacy one way or another, I've reached the "tired and guilty" stage. Dare I even say, the "apathetic" stage? Not that it's come around suddenly - I've always struggled with making the whole thing matter to my heart. Maybe this is a consequence of my already over-morbid mind, but even videos like this (WARNING: GRAPHIC ABORTION IMAGES/VIDEO - if the link doesn't work, go to www.abortionno.org) fail to arouse that righteous anger which inspires amazing men like Bryan Kemper and Fr. Tom Euteneuer. I'm unable to get much more past "wow, that really sucks."

I see the reality of abortion in the West today, and I know it is deeply, fundamentally wrong. But it's been a while since I did anything about it. I wonder whether the kids who wore red-tape over their mouths today, who got that thrill of counter-cultural rebellion for a cause they know is just, will feel the same way I do in 10 years.

Earlier this year, I used to go down to the local abortion-mill and pray on Saturday mornings. It wasn't much. I didn't sidewalk counsel - there were plenty of ladies doing that already at our local mill, and I was terrified to talk to anyone anyway. I didn't hold a sign or pass out flyers or strum a guitar and sing. I just stood there, Rosary in hand, begging God for mercy as one woman after another passed through the nondescript doors and came out one life the less. Another exercise in feeling rather useless. I told myself that prayer was powerful, that it reached into that unknown world where, I let myself imagine, angels and demons clashed above that squat, brown tombstone-of-a-building. At the very least, I was standing witness - as useless and yet as meaningful as a German civilian standing outside the gates of Buchenwald and pointing it out to his neighbors.

And then the abortion-mill got the hint that Saturday mornings were a ripe time for us to show up - we would sometimes have four or five different groups of people, maybe 25 of us all lined up on the sidewalk on a good morning - and stopped performing abortions on Saturdays. There went my one opportunity to feel like I could actually wear the moniker "pro-lifer."

I can't wear red tape on my mouth at work. I'm not free to volunteer when most pregnancy-centers are open. I vote pro-life. I'll talk pro-life with anyone who asks.

But I'm wondering how to break the silence in my particular corner of the pro-life world.


  1. Maggery, I'm glad to read again what's going on in your personal part of the world.

    Wearing the pro-lifer moniker may be less important than promoting life with or without a label. Taking on a load of angst over how you play a part in this particular struggle may result in as much life denial as what you believe takes place in the abortion clinic.

    -For the record, you and I disagree about there being a particular moment in time that separates pre-life from life. Delving into that can wait for another day.

    The important thing on this day is that I encourage you to continue as you are, looking deeply within yourself and making yours a life of integrity. You don't need red tape for that. No don't need to impress any particular other for that.

    Though over time you will make an impression - even greater than you already have.

  2. Although of course I don't know the abortion mill's schedule, it sounds to me like you and the others praying in front of it on Saturdays have limited their ability to perform abortions as they wish to, and thus have most likely prevented them from performing as many as they otherwise would; this counts as an accomplishment.
    As for what to do now: first, I don't think it necessary for every Christian to focus on this issue--there are numerous horrible things going on in the world, and no one person can focus on all of them at once. Assuming that you do find abortion to be the one horrible thing God wants you to focus on, I think there are a lot of ways to "break the silence" that don't require obvious activism.
    Besides voting, I have basically one pro-life activity I'm involved in. Before going to graduate school, and now again after coming back, I've volunteered at my church's biannual consignment sale. The church uses this sale to raise funds for a local pregnancy help center. I consider this just as much pro-life work as volunteering at the center itself, which is not something I'd be very good at.
    I can't give you specific advice about what to do where you are, but don't think it only counts if you do the obvious things.