How Do We Change Hearts and Minds?
After supporting abortion my entire life and working in an abortion clinic for years, my Ah-HA moment seemed to come from an unlikely place. I did not have a profound, sudden shift in my worldview. After years of ignoring the little voice inside me questioning the death around me—the nightmares and the regret—the truth snuck up on me.
I was involved in an online discussion of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy with a group of close friends who were all married mothers, and one among us agreed to be a surrogate for a friend of hers who had tragically lost a child to cancer. We were her confidantes as she went through the months of hormonal preparation for her body to accept the implantation of a baby created outside of her womb. She detailed all of the painfully unnatural things done to her body to prepare for this and she also described the IVF process—all those teeny-tiny human beings—being created in a laboratory, then stored in a freezer.
I confess I honestly hadn’t really ever thought about IVF before, but I found the process disturbing. I sought counsel from the two Catholic members of the forum who openly (but always respectfully) disagreed with what she was doing. The more I thought about IVF and the Frankenstein-like process of creating humans in this way, it all finally started making sense to me. This was unnatural, and it was wrong. These were HUMANS. It wasn’t like in the movie Alien where adults made a choice to climb into sleep chambers to willfully enter a state of suspended animation, this was the complete removal of informed consent and the complete antithesis of the maternal instinct (PROTECT BABY AT ALL COSTS). It was just… wrong.
Well, then she went on to describe a woman in her surrogacy support group who underwent prenatal genetic testing on the tiny, helpless, not-genetically-related, innocent baby growing in her body (I think you can guess where this is going.) Down syndrome. I followed the daily posts with increasing horror as she related the story of this surrogate mother who accepted “payment of her contract in full” to abort rather than to carry this baby to term and give birth. One among us pleaded with our friend to tell her about Reece’s Rainbow, that if the genetic parents didn’t want their child, he or she could have a chance of finding an adoptive home through this amazing organization that helps match children with Down syndrome with loving families, and in many cases helps defray the costs of adoption. Nope.
This was my Ah-HA moment: This woman was paid to kill the child. And she did. This is murder. Abortion is murder. I cried. I cried for that (now dead) baby. Then I cried for all of the little cold souls in the IVF freezers around the world. Then, only then, could I cry for all of the babies murdered at the clinic where I worked for so long. How many tissue boxes my small counseling office went through and I walked that pregnant mother back to the procedure room and smiled as I held the door open for her to enter the chamber of death. “You’ll be alright, I’ll come visit you in the recovery room.” My God. What had I done? No, I did not pull the trigger; but I cleaned the gun, readied the ammunition, and loaded it. Sure as the guilt of the killer himself, I was sure of my own guilt as well. The wave of remorse and regret was overwhelming. I prayed. I prayed for peace for the babies. I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for the strength to become a better person.
All of this played out against the backdrop of a very different public view of the pro-life movement. Gone were the days of outright intimidation and harassment; replaced by a peaceful, prayerful presence outside the clinic doors peopled by compassionate souls ready and willing to assist pregnant mothers in practical, useful, and lasting ways. Only by continuing to offer truth, solace, hope, help, and love to the troubled and misguided can we ever hope to end abortion. Only by continuing to speak the truth about the horror and brutality of abortion can we hope to change minds. One heart, one soul, one mother, one child at a time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Read the related story where Jewels Green shares her journey from abortion clinic worker to life advocate: