Pastors Speak

The Pain of Abortion

"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?"(Is. 49:15) It has been my experience that she cannot. Even the mother of an aborted baby cannot forget. Oh, she may for a time block out her child but sooner or later her little one comes back to her and then what sorrow, guilt, regret, emptiness, disgust with herself and with everyone who had anything to do with her abortion. The "what might have been" falls down on her like a ton of bricks. In my eleven years as a priest, I have encountered a wide variety of human suffering but I don’t know if any has been as heartbreaking as the suffering of women who have had abortions. I have seen for myself that abortion is not only a crime against unborn babies but also against women. No women should have to go through such terrible and unnecessary pain. In the midst of the darkness and ugliness of abortion, I have also witnessed the brightness and beauty of God’s mercy. The evil of abortion and its consequences are horrors that only the Lord can deliver a person from - and He does! What a joy and sign of hope are those women who have accepted God’s forgiveness for their abortion and now walk the path of repentance and reconciliation. They are walking testimonies to Christ’s victory over death and the forces of evil. They are a witness that Satan, the "father of lies" and "murderer from the beginning" (Jn. 8:44), can be put down. That great champion for the sanctity of human life, Pope John Paul II, has a message that we need to pass on and pray it reaches those most in need of hearing it. Towards the close of his most recent encyclical, "The Gospel of Life," are these words: "I would like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not have yet healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give into discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourself over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the sacrament of reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost, and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living with the Lord. With friendly and expert help and advice of other people and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life." [E.V.99]

Father William Miller I.C.

Rector of Rosmini House in West Peoria, 05/95