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Courage at the Mills
It’s hard to prepare yourself to go out and announce to everyone you come in contact with that you’ve killed your own child; no matter how accepted it is by today’s society. Even those who fight for a women’s right to “choose” turn their backs on you the moment you regret it. No one wants to acknowledge that choice might have been a mistake. The dirty looks, judgmental stares, laughs and sneers come from both sides sometimes but I’ve accepted this as part of my punishment for the horrible thing I did. Small price to pay if you stop to think about it.
I know though, that for every ten people who judge me, one may have a change of heart. One may be so moved by my presence in sharing that I regret my abortion, she may re-think her own decision or maybe seek help that she desperately needs from her own abortion. At the very least my presence may soften the heart of Pro-Choicers and Pro-Lifers alike.
Many, many times people have approached me to tell me they appreciate me being out there, they admire my courage, my dedication, my strength. This makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t want to be admired. I have had two abortions. Let me re-word that. I’ve killed two of my own children. The fact that I now try and stop others from doing what I did should not outweigh or overshadow that terrible truth. The other certainty in all this is my courage, dedication and strength are not my own. Not even close. It comes directly from the Holy Spirit and through me. I stand up there and shake, not courageous and not strong. But my babies hold my hand; they help me hold my head up long enough to not be proud but to make eye contact with those going in so they can clearly see my pain.
I know that many of those who are angry and yell are those who have actually had abortions but who still deny the awareness of the effects it has had on them. I was in denial for over twenty years. The subconscious is aware though which is why the anger, hate, resentment and depression spill over. The mind has to somehow find balance within itself and so these emotions must get out in one sense or another. One way is projecting these feelings toward other things instead of facing the truth of where that anger is coming from. Another way is to numb this anger or sadness with alcohol and drugs. My mind, heart and soul did all these things and more to unconsciously cover up the fact that what I did affected me and that it was wrong. If I admitted that, I would have to deal with it and that would have just been too hard. So I hated those I saw protesting abortion because I knew down deep they were protesting me personally. I didn’t see them as out there wanting to help me; I only saw them condemning me. And I drank so I wouldn’t have to think about any of it.
Last week, I was out in front of one of the mills with my “I Regret My Abortion” sign along with my faith that God would get me through yet another hour or so. A group of older Pro-Life folks are out there every Friday saying the rosary and holding their signs and I joined them but stayed a bit off to the side in case they didn’t want to be affiliated with me. This particular mill is close to Arizona State University so many, many young students pass us by. I admire those Pro-Lifers who come out despite the foul language, ridicule and hate that is spewed at them from passing cars and who continue to come out regardless of this abuse. I at least, deserve it.
I heard someone yelling. I turned to see two young women in a car stopped at a red light. The one in the passenger seat was the one yelling, her body almost on top of the driver’s in her attempt to get the attention of my pro-life companions through the open window of the driver’s side door. She was yelling all kinds of obscenities, telling them to mind their own business, leave people alone, find better things to do with their time, etc. I faced her with my sign and started praying for her. I knew she had been personally affected by either her own abortion or someone very close to her. She was too preoccupied with cutting down these older pro-lifers to see me but I continued facing her with my sign. She took a breath, shaking her fist, extremely riled up and ready to begin again when my sign caught her eye. Her words died in her throat and I smiled at her as she stared at me. She recovered and although she didn’t start yelling again, she did start up with a little less steam, this time toward her driver trying to make her point, whatever that might be to her. The light turned green and they moved on. I’m sure she didn’t change her mind that day, but I’ve no doubt my presence out there planted a seed in her heart, it made it a bit personal to her, between me and her, even though we will never meet.
So yeah, it’s tough each time and it doesn’t get easier. It should be tough. I hope it never becomes easy, I hope I always feel that shame because I should. I deserve to and that remorse is part of who I am now. Two people never got the chance to experience life because I was too selfish and put my own freedom and fears above their right to exist. I don’t want this to continue. I’m not out there with the idea that I will change a person’s heart from pro-choice to Pro-Life on the spot. Only God and maybe an ultrasound abortion can do that. By the time most women get to the steps of Planned Parenthood their minds are made up. We need to start from the beginning, educating our young to know that abortion is the killing of another human being regardless of what society tried to teach. And we need to change the way others think about abortion way before they get to the point of exercising “this choice.” Right now, I am merely a seed, being planted by God in the heart of another. And He alone gives me the strength, the courage and the stamina in which to do so.
Columnists • Shelley Allsup • Pro-Life Unity • The Front Lines • United Calls for Action • States • Arizona • Permalink