November: The Wounded Warriors of the Pro-Life Wars
We cannot forget those on the front lines of the abortion battle since the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. Pro-life advocates try, in countless ways, to save lives. They often succeed, and they often fail. They too are wounded by abortion.
Sadly, it is inevitable that there will be times when they find themselves powerless to stop a woman or man from going through with an abortion. Every time a baby they tried to save is killed, they are wounded by that abortion and must grieve that loss. Moreover, anyone who has come to realize the profound violence of abortion carries a daily grief that this tragedy continues.
Pro-life advocates must learn how to carry that grief in a way that enables them to feel the weight and yet not be crushed by it; in a way that helps them experience the sorrow but not despair.
These pro-life advocates span the entirety of the pro-life movement and all its efforts. They include:
- Sidewalk counselors, participants in prayer vigils outside abortion facilities, pregnancy resource center staff, and ultrasound techs.
- Those who speak about abortion in educational or church settings, including preachers, and who do media work to persuade the public.
- Men and women who try to save lives by passing pro-life laws, whether they are the lawmakers themselves, their staff, or the pro-life activists who lobby them. We are talking about those who do pro-life political work, trying to elect candidates who will save lives by enacting pro-life policies and pro-life fundraisers and donors, who give in sacrificial ways hoping to see lives saved as a result.
These efforts will often enough fail to save the lives they seek to save. This will have a particularly profound effect when the pro-life advocate such as an ultrasound technician has actually seen the child who was killed, or has seen or talked to the mother who went ahead with the abortion, such as the sidewalk counselors, prayer vigil participants, and pregnancy counselors will do.
In the arena of legislative and political activity, the awareness of the numbers of lives lost by failing in attempts to pass pro-life laws and elect pro-life candidates is also very measurable, and can be overwhelming because the lives are in the millions. Studies by researchers like Dr. Michael New demonstrate how pro-life state laws save lives. And the ways in which elections influence the courts, including the Supreme Court, make the loss of lives very tangible to those working in these arenas.
All of these individuals need ongoing healing. Pro-life advocates endure a lot of hard work, frustration and self-sacrifice, whether their efforts succeed or fail. And in the process of trying to save lives, they also endure ridicule and rejection from others who do not understand, appreciate, or agree with their efforts. That kind of rejection hurts too, and must be healed.
If the pro-life advocates do not know how to properly grieve the children that were lost despite their efforts to save them, they run the risk of drifting away from doing pro-life work, or of becoming bitter and angry while doing it. Neither of those alternatives is productive, and neither solves the underlying problem of a wound that has not been healed.
November gives us the opportunity to focus exclusively on the sacrifice and cost of our front line pro-lifers and promote healing and restoration with the goal of helping to reinvigorate their pro-life and abortion-healing commitment.