Father Ted Scholarship winner

Editor’s note: This month, we are pleased to publish the second of three winning essays in the Father Ted Colleton Scholarship contest. Senior high school students were invited to reflect on the pro-life nature of any work of art. Each winner received a $1,000 scholarship and all entrants (more than 30 of them this year) received a token of appreciation for their interest in the Father Ted essay contest.

The judge’s gavel clangs and his gravelly voice declares, “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” Ghosts haunt her dreams and the dark shadows threaten to overwhelm her. Welcome to Karen Sullivan Able’s poem, “The Acquittal – God’s Infinite Mercy.” Written in a time of her deepest need, the poem generates grief and pain. Plagued by an abortion that killed her first child, Able’s wrote a poem containing a timeless truth. Her poem, “The Acquittal – God’s Infinite Mercy,” tells of the hurt and consequences of abortion, illustrates the hope that comes from God’s mercy and forgiveness and should encourage all pro-lifers to stand up and unashamedly fight for life.

Have you ever wondered how many people abortion has truly affected? Often, we are quick to judge the evil doctors who perform abortions out of greed, forgetting the misled doctors who have been told they are “helping women.” We are quick to judge the women who turn to abortion for the sake of convenience, forgetting the young teenagers forced into the abortuaries. We become so focused on the innocent babies who are killed, and then sadly turn a blind eye to those who have been hurt by the abortion and need to hear the truth.

Too often, we get too busy fighting the laws of abortion and cast aside or simply forget the women who have already been hurt by a past abortion. We get too busy picketing and passing out brochures to the woman walking into the facilities and then give up on the women walking out of them. It is in this poem that we are reminded of the pain abortion inflicts; not just on the murdered baby, but on the grief-stricken mother.

Put yourself in the place of a teenage girl who has become pregnant. She’s decided on abortion, informed by a friend that it’s easy and doesn’t hurt a bit. Imagine her terror as her baby is torn from her womb. She returns home to find herself an outcast among family and friends, with dreams that are haunted by nightmares. Following Karen Sullivan Able’s abortion, she finds herself unable to cope with her pain; her mind and heart refusing to forgive and forget. “We now give you torment to pay for your sin,” was the sentence passed down from my own court within.

You will never escape. You’re branded. Don’t hide. Your just due is death.”

Abortion hurts and its consequences run deep. Abortion kills an innocent child, it crushes the spirit of the victimized mother and it inadvertently hurts the doctors, who become blind to another’s pain. It hurts our families, our churches, our communities, our nation and ultimately, it hurts God.

Thankfully, Able’s poem doesn’t end with her haunted dreams and tormented soul. Halfway through her poem, she makes this short but meaning-filled proclamation: “I cried out to God.” She acknowledges that there is nothing more she can do. She is unable to rid herself of her guilt and shame. Knowing no other option, she calls out to God. “That day I met Jesus; He smiled in my face. He said, ‘I forgive you. Come walk in my grace.’” When she met Jesus that day, Karen knew she had found a friend, and suddenly something else appeared in her life that hadn’t been there since her abortion: hope.

In the last line of her poem, she leaves us with this hopeful phrase. “Grasping his hand, I began a new day.” It is not the words of this phrase that are special or the tone in which they are voiced. Rather, it is the promise that lies behind the words. It is the promise of a new day. It is the promise of hope. Like a ray of sunshine on a rainy day, Able knew life could, and would, go on. And so it can for the many others who have experienced the same pain Karen endured.

There is hope after abortion; it is the hope of forgiveness. God can forgive sins and He longs for the lost to come unto hhim and drink of his living, and forgiving, water. So, look to God for forgiveness and begin a new day. When life’s thunder rolls and the rains will not recede, ask God for a rainbow and he will give you hope.

A reader of Able’s testimony cannot help but be touched by the truth she presents. Abortion is an evil that hurts many people, yet it is a sin that God can still forgive. For those who have been touched by abortion, Karen Sullivan Able’s poem holds out the promise of forgiveness from the Almighty God. For anyone who claims to be pro-life, her poem calls us not only to stand up and fight for the rights of the unborn, but also to love and support the women who have experienced abortion and realize its consequences.

It should incite in us gratitude for our own mothers who chose life and should spur us on to fight for each and every unborn child’s right to life – the life we hold dear. Dennis Green shared a truthful warning when he said, “Being pro-life doesn’t save babies. Acting pro-life does.” It is too easy to simply say we are pro-life when we feel like it or when it benefits us. Being pro-life means you get out there and write letters to your MP, support the care centre in your community and speak to your teenage friend who is faced with an unexpected pregnancy.

“The Acquittal – God’s Infinite Mercy” offers a powerful and hope-filled message to each and every reader. Whether you are a passionate pro-life worker, a powerful politician, perhaps pregnant and considering abortion, a doctor who commits abortions or someone undecided about it, read the poem. No matter who you are, this poem will undoubtedly tug at your heartstrings – just like it tugged at mine.