What leads each of us to the pro-life movement may be quite different, but what we all have in common is the conviction that human lives are valuable. Below are remarks from five people involved in pro-life work, on why they do what they do…
Converted in 45 minutes
“One night, a nursing coworker was taking a live aborted baby to our soiled utility room to die because his parents didn’t want to hold him and she didn’t have time to hold him that night. And when she told me what she was doing, I couldn’t bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone, and so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He had down syndrome and was between 21 and 22 weeks old. And he didn’t move very much because he was using all of his energy attempting to breathe. And I remember toward the end of his life, I couldn’t tell if he was alive or not unless I held him up against the light to see if I could see his little heart beating through his chest wall because their skin is so thin at that age. And after he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, we tied them together with a little string, and I wrapped him in a shroud and took him to the morgue where we took all of our other dead patients….”
“In the span of that 45 minutes, I was converted from… a dormant pro-lifer to a pro-life activist….
I knew then I had to do something, and my two options were to leave the hospital or to stay and fight…. I wrote a letter to the religious leaders of the hospital because I didn’t think that they could possibly know what was going on in the labor and delivery department. [Christ Hospital in Illinois] is affiliated with two church denominations — The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the United Church of Christ — which I now know are pro-abortion denominations…. These religious leaders knew. I was called in for a meeting with my department superiors, who were both Catholic, by the way, and they told me that Christ Hospital didn’t think this method [induced labor abortion] up, and it wasn’t gonna stop, and I might be better suited at another hospital that was in line with my pro-life convictions….
We went public in July of 1999… and that letter triggered an immediate public outcry….”
~ Jill Stanek, former RN turned pro-life blogger, now the National Campaign Chair for Susan B. Anthony List
Horror on the screen
At first, the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula. It gently probed the baby’s side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn’t feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed…. My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn’t shake an inner disquiet that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen.
The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if it were trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed its side, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that it could feel the cannula, and it did not like what it was feeling….
I had a sudden urge to yell, “Stop!” To shake the woman and say, “Look at what is happening to your baby! Wake up! Hurry! Stop them!”
But even as I thought those words, I looked at my own hand holding the probe. I was one of “them” performing this act. My eyes shot back to the screen again. The cannula was already being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it. For the briefest moment the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone. And the uterus was empty. Totally empty….
And right there, standing beside the table… this thought came from deep within me:
Never again! Never again.
Not easily swayed
I am a Catholic, pro-life young adult living in a world full of sin and confusion. Each and every day I am faced with a new challenge which could lead me closer or further away from my faith. I am the minority. I refuse to fall into the trends society has set up for women of my age. Doctors are surprised I am not on birth control and not sexually active, people are shocked how public I am about my pro-life views, and some women are angered that I would not support their decision of having an abortion….
When it comes to the topic of abortion, do your research…. Do not be easily swayed by people who tell you that abortion is no big deal. We were all created by a life-giving God and a part of Him is in each and every one of us, whether we believe it or not! It is my duty, your duty, our duty to defend those most precious and innocent.
I have been standing outside Planned Parenthood since I was in middle school and I will continue to stand until all facilities are shut down.
~ Monet Souza, pro-life sidewalk outreach
A story of purpose and redemption
“I’m one of those marginal cases, the fringe case… my biological mother was raped, and despite that unspeakable trauma, she went though nine months of pregnancy, choosing courageously, Life…. She’s absolutely my first hero….
Unfortunately, my [adoptive] mom had to deal with a father who could not separate his deep-seated racism… so she had to make the decision between her father and her newborn son. She chose well…. She knew there was a greater calling. She was abandoned at a child and was put in an orphanage, and at age five she made a promise to God that she would be a mommy to those that didn’t have one….
Being pro-life, I think we’re often too comfortable with a very narrow definition of what that means… there’s no salvation without adoption….”
“My sense of purpose was solidified when I realized the story of my life — as painful as it may be for me and as painful as it had to be for my birth mom — could be really redemptive for a lot of people…. That moment of finding out about my story and being able to use it certainly was powerful in the sense that it gave me this wild sense of destiny and possibility that others at that age wouldn’t really embrace or fully understand.”
Lighting a candle
… [T]he baby was kicking his feet, hanging there, moving his little fingers and his little arms…. [The abortionist] then took a pair of scissors and jammed them into the back of the baby’s head. And the baby jerked out, like a startle reflex, like a baby does if you throw him up a little bit and he jumps. And then the baby was real rigid. The doctor then opened up the scissors to make a hole. He took a high powered suction machine with a catheter and stuck it in that hole and suctioned the baby’s brains out. And the baby went completely limp.
And I have seen that in my mind a thousand or more times, of that baby, watching the life just drain out of it. And like I said before, I’ve seen babies die in my hands, I had people die in my hands. But it wasn’t anything like seeing that vision of watching this abortion….
Well, this mommy wanted to see her baby…. She held that baby in her arms and she screamed and prayed to God… to forgive her, and for that baby to forgive her, and she held it and rocked it, and told him that she loved him…. And I pardoned myself and excused myself and I ran to the bathroom and I cried and prayed….
People ask me… why I’ve gone through with this and my husband’s always told me, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” And that’s what I’m trying to do, is light one candle…. Whether it’s you telling one person, your neighbor, and they tell one person… we’ve got to get the truth out and we’ve got to tell them.
~ Brenda Pratt Shafer, nurse and pro-life speaker