by Maureen Kramlich
January 30, 2004
"As usual, the mainstream media didn't get the real story on the March for Life, the annual demonstration commemorating the Roe v. Wade decision. First, no press account captured the true diversity of the March. Though dominated by Generation Y (those born between 1979 and 1994), among the Marchers were the very young and the very old and every age in between. The March included both pro-life Republicans and Democrats for Life. And it had racial diversity, with a strong contingent from the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life. There were also Feminists for Life members, carrying signs that read, "Women Deserve Better Than Abortion." But you probably didn't read about them in The New York Times.
And after the March, there was a second event that received no press coverage at all (except by the Catholic News Service). This event was sponsored by the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (www.silentnomoreawareness.com). The Campaign seeks to bring public attention to the emotional pain that women (and men) experience after abortion and to bring to them healing and hope. The public education component involves events in which those who have experienced the aftermath of abortion provide compelling testimony and witness. One such public witness campaign was held in the evening after the March just outside the Supreme Court.
In the bitter cold, these women and one man shared the raw emotional pain they have experienced since the abortion. Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of the hurt after her first abortion. She kept that pregnancy and the subsequent abortion secret. A second unplanned pregnancy was not a secret and when her grandfather, "Daddy King" found out he told her that the King family does not accept abortion as a solution. She had the second baby. If Dr. King were alive today, she has said, he would be out there marching every year in the March for Life.
Another woman, Charnette Messe, spoke of a surgery scar from breast cancer, which she said was caused by her abortion. The scar was a constant physical reminder to her of the abortion. The emotional scar seemed much deeper.
One woman was wearing what appeared from far away to be a white blouse. She said that at age 20 she had her first abortion and at age 30, her second. At 40 she realized she was suffering from post-abortion syndrome. It turned out she was wearing a wedding gown. She said that she had bought the wedding dress because she had a dream that one day she would marry and have children.
One man testified that he was not being a "real man" when he failed to support his pregnant girlfriend. He grieves for his children. Twins were aborted.
In the background, the National Organization for Women held a counter event, a protest. Shouting the usual slogans, "it's my body...." "keep abortion safe and legal..." If only they had stopped and listened.
Maureen Kramlich is a public policy analyst with the Pro-Life Secretariat, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.