After working for 15 1/2 years with pregnant girls and women, and from the experiences of our 600 Birthright centres, we know how right the Manitoba bishops are when they say that “pro-choice” means “pro-abortion.” However, I would go further and say that, for the greatest number of girls who obtain abortions, “pro-choice” really means “NO CHOICE.”

What choice does a 17-year-old girl have when her mother arranges an abortion for her? She, usually, goes to school, and she is totally dependent on her parents. No matter how desperately she wants the baby, she submits to her mother. To her mother, what neighbors and relatives may think is more important than her daughter’s wishes and her grandchild’s life…

“I can’t kill my baby can I?”

Then there is the older pregnant woman whose boyfriend pressures her, day in, day out, to have an abortion. Why not? It gets him “off the hook” so to speak. What does he care about her? Time and again I have to encourage girls by saying: “Remember, dear, it’s your baby, and your body.” As one girl recently said: “I can’t convince him that this is really a baby. I can’t kill my baby, can I?” If, in desperation, these girls have abortions, can we say it is “pro-choice.” For them it is “NO CHOICE.”

Friends present a problem too. One day I picked up the phone to hear a girl weeping. When I said, carefully, “Can I help you?” she said: “How can you? I want my baby back but I had an abortion yesterday.” Then she poured out her story. When she found herself pregnant she told her friends, and they immediately took over, arranged for an abortion in Buffalo, drove her there and back, then left her alone to grieve. She cried: “What do they care about me? Here I am alone with no one to help me.” This is tragic and it happens again and again.

Depression and nausea are common in early pregnancy. When a girl or woman is in the throes of depression, feeling alone, frightened, ill and desperate, she is vulnerable, and she, often, has not the strength to “stand up” to her mother, or her boyfriend or friends. The pro-abortion people quickly take advantage of her, pressure her to obtain an abortion, and then claim it is her choice. Is the choice really hers? For it is “NO CHOICE.”

As one young pregnant woman said to me recently; “It’s so wonderful to talk to someone who wants me to have the baby. Everyone wants me to have an abortion and I feel so alone. Thank God for Birthright.”

Believe me, it’s wonderful for us, too, when we see babies born because we were able to help their mothers. But others could help even more if they would allow pregnant girls and women to choose, freely, to have their babies, and to stop believing in the “pro-choice” slogan. “Pro-choice” many times means “NO CHOICE” by the promoters of abortion. Let’s face the truth, pro-choice means “pro-abortion.”

Louise Summerhill is the founder and president of Birthright Canada