Sunday, January 1, 2006

Abortion Industry Casts a Spell

Focus on the Family is calling upon church leaders to reach out to post-abortive women this month, letting them know that help and forgiveness is available for them.

It's very important that churches show post-abortive women compassion—particularly when spiritual leaders aligned with the Planned Parenthood-funded Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice insist that "most women who have abortions experience little or no psychological harm." That quote comes from the RCRC's pamphlet "Between a Woman and Her God." (To underscore what they mean by "most women" experiencing little or no harm, they add a reference to " the supposed harm caused by abortion.")

Here is one of the stories told by "clergy" in "Between a Woman and Her God." (You'll understand why the scare quotes when you see the author's affiliation.) There are many aspects of this attempt to use "faith" to justify abortion that I find troubling; I've highlighted some of them in bold. I invite your comments.

Judy Harrow
High Priestess, Proteus Coven
Chair of Pastoral Counseling, Cherry Hill Seminary

[Note: The chairwoman of the public ministry department at Cherry Hill Seminary, M. Macha Nightmare, has written in her "Broomstick Chronicles" about the joys of sacrificing a deer. Also, I think I saw the seminary's president in some 1970s film, but I digress.— Dawn]

Anne stopped by for lunch last Sunday. She’s a mature, successful, professional woman and a homeowner. Looking at the wise and confident grownup in my living room, I remember a girl at the threshold of adulthood, pregnant and frightened, facing the risk of a broken future, who sat on that same couch nearly 20 years ago. She has done well with her life because some of us made sure she would not lose her chance. Total strangers fought and won the legal battle for reproductive choice, but it took real friends to help her exercise her right to choose.

She got pregnant in her senior year of college, way before she was ready, financially or emotionally, to raise a child. She was living with, and still financially dependent upon, her parents. Based on religious beliefs that she no longer shared, they would have forced her to drop out of school to have the baby. She’d have lost her financial aid and with it her promising future. Fortunately, she had others who would stand by her.

We are her coven, her chosen spiritual family, and we came through. We are a small group, and none of us was rich, but among us we were able to raise the clinic fee. In the process, we strengthened our group bond, our certainty that we could rely on one another in times of need. Every person in the group benefited from our response to one person’s crisis.

As her priestess, I arranged the appointment. Group members escorted her to the clinic and back to my house afterwards. Others dropped by with food, flowers, supportive company. She stayed with me for a few days, until she was visibly recovered, until she no longer looked shaky and weak, until she felt it was safe for her to go home.

It was not easy for her to go against all her instincts and hormonal drives, but our support freed her to choose her own best future. When I see her now and think about what might have been in the days when women had no legal right to choose or for those young women, even now, who find themselves facing a pregnancy all alone, I am grateful for the sacred opportunity to help a friend choose her own path.

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