In two days, I will be joining my fellow interns for the first time when we make our weekly visit to pray near our local abortion facility. They have already gone for a few weeks, while I’ve had to sit out because of an injured foot…and an apprehensive heart. My primary pro-life activities fall under the movement’s educational arm, so I do not have much experience with activity near abortion centres. I have avoided it for a long time, since being present outside the centre brings me a lot closer to the injustice of abortion than I am comfortable with.
At home, I’ve been “prayer backup” for a sidewalk counselling friend on two of her shifts, across the road from the major abortion facility in town. These visits have left me utterly heartbroken. I remember the first day: eight lives were lost. The same number of people were keeping vigil across the road. Put another way, there was one person present for every two souls (at least) who sustained non-fatal injuries – the parents and others connected to the deceased children.
The sunny weather and bustling downtown seemed to shield the rest of the city from the unfolding battle. The contrast between our mission and our surroundings almost made me feel hopeless. Were there really only eight people in the entire city who cared? Was I wasting my time? That morning, I wanted to be like most other people my age. I would have loved to stick my head in the sand like an ostrich, plugging my ears and singing “La la la, this isn’t happening…” (Never mind that I’d probably get a mouthful of sand in the process … eww!) Yet it was almost a privilege to be one of the few standing with the defenseless in their final moments.
We try to challenge ourselves in this movement – we may see ourselves as a sort of courageous warrior – but we must also remember that we are human. We will have our moments of weakness. We’ll wish that we did not have to spend our time and risk our reputations to defend our society’s most vulnerable. When confronted with these feelings, we certainly shouldn’t ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. Pro-lifers cannot bury their heads in the sand like the fictional ostrich and pretend “this isn’t happening.” Neither can we go to the other extreme and wallow in despair forever. We must continue our fight, working through any negative emotions. We do so because the preborn need us to speak for them. If we don’t, who will?
Taylor Hyatt is an Interim summer student.