This morning, I went to pray — and offer help to young girls and women — in front of Planned Parenthood in lower Manhattan, as I often do. Being out there on Good Friday was something different though — feeling the closeness of Christ’s suffering with the suffering of the young girls and women walking in feeling like they have no choice, feeling like they have no means to carry the cross of an unplanned pregnancy. Little does she know the new, crushing cross she is taking on — living with the knowledge of having aborted her child. And, of course, there is the slaughter of innocents that happens inside. Goodness, when you put unborn, developing children on the cross with Jesus, you see the barbarism in a new light. Abortion is not problem-solving or women’s freedom and empowerment or health care; this is a gravely evil injustice.
And yet God works miracles. On the cross, in His Resurrection, and on Bleecker Street. This morning, after I left two sidewalk counselors and pray-ers, the coordinator for 40 Days for Life in Manhattan walked up to a girl who was hovering around the building next door, which happens to be the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, owned by the Catholic Church in New York. Laurie told me that she had extra confidence knowing that she was nearly outside the chapel there as she asked the girl if she is Christian — a question she doesn’t normally ask, so she attributes it to the Holy Spirit. The girl is, and she said she had an abortion appointment but really didn’t think she should go through with it. They prayed together, talked about resources, and the girl left saying she was so relieved to not have to go through with the abortion. She just needed a sign of hope, a sign that it was possible to choose something other than abortion. That is so often the case. Pray for this girl, if you are a pray-er, and if you are pro-choice, consider that we don’t even have informed consent in so many cases when young girls and women seek an abortion. We can do better getting them help to make an actual choice.
And do, too, consider spending time praying outside an abortion clinic or getting trained to offer help. Sidewalk Advocates for Life is a good place to go for that — and most Catholic Respect Life offices can probably help you with that training. And as I often say: Get to know the Sisters of Life, our pro-life credibility, and spread the word about them. (I’m finally going to make my birthday donation today!)