How can you call yourself pro-woman if you’re not pro-choice? They ask.
How can I call myself pro-woman if I AM pro-choice? That’s a better question.
How can I be pro-woman if I’m okay with denying future women the chance to be born and grace our world?
How can I be pro-woman when a baby is considered bad?
How can I be pro-woman when we as women participate in a miracle of the creation of life and it is seen as a problem?
We attended the Pro Life Women’s Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, in late June, 2018. While what we learned was shocking, sickening, and heartbreaking, it was also inspiring and hopeful.
One of the biggest things we walked away with was the infinity of God’s mercy. It is so big, so wide. His mercy is greater than any mercy we can attain and thank goodness for that because He is able to bring beauty and goodness from the wreckage of our sin.
We also witnessed throughout the weekend-long conference, the love that holds the pro-life movement together.
This conference is sponsored by And Then There Were None (ATTWN), a non-profit group founded by Abby Johnson, whose mission is to help women who work in the abortion industry leave their jobs. ATTWN offers financial help while women transition, legal assistance, job search support, emotional and spiritual support and healing retreats. ATTWN has helped over 450 women leave the abortion industry.
On Saturday, there was a panel of women who used to work in abortion facilities. These women, most of whom worked there because it offered good income or was convenient, spoke candidly about what they experienced and how deceiving abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood are. While it was sickening to hear them talk about the gruesome things that happen in those “healthcare” clinics, we were gobsmacked by the strength the women had to get themselves out and then speak about it, as well as how big God’s mercy is.
These are women who witnessed atrocities, who were part of an intentional plan to end life and walked away. ATTWN recognizes that babies are saved when abortion clinics are closed and that no woman dreams of working in an abortion clinic when she is a little girl. Through prayer and love, women are encouraged to leave their jobs. They are supported as they transition to new jobs and guided as they encounter the forgiveness of God. They are empowered to bring beauty to the world.
Pro-life is pro-love and pro-woman. The end game is saving babies but it isn’t done at the expense of the woman. Sidewalk Advocates pray for the abortion workers and offer support and a better option to the women who come to the abortion clinic. The Sidewalk Advocates organization is underscored by love, loving the woman and showing her that there are more options than an abortion. They aren’t there to criticize but to fill the need that brought the woman to an abortion clinic. The Sidewalk Advocates are trying to bridge the gap; they love and care for the mother and show her that an abortion will harm her before even talking about the baby. Whether it is a crisis pregnancy or a regular screening, they let the women know that there are other, often more inexpensive, options. They do not judge. They think of themselves as a sales team for life. The Sidewalk Advocates strive to be peaceful, prayerful, law-abiding, and woman oriented.
One goal is to drive business away from these clinics. Former abortion workers have said that peaceful, prayerful sidewalk advocacy was the activity that most devastated their business. Planned Parenthood documents up to a 75% cancellation rate (average is 25%) when Sidewalk Advocates are present.
Two Sisters of Life were present at the conference and we knew we wanted to meet them. The Sisters of Life, based in New York and expanding across the country, take a vow to protect and enhance the sanctity of human life. On Saturday, Kate was standing in a busy hallway when the Sisters of Life walked past. Somehow, she made eye contact with one and waved. The Sister waved back, a huge smile on her face, and made her way toward Kate like they already knew each other.
We saw Sister Veronica multiple times over the weekend, and we prayed Vespers with her, something we had never done before. Through Sister Veronica, we saw God’s profound love. Her joy and kindness were breathtaking. The connection we had was unexplainable and Sister Veronica told us that she felt we had met for a reason. Our experience with her and other attendees at the conference reinforced how abundant God’s grace was throughout the weekend.
The women who sponsored this conference know that it is only by loving each other that we will end the evil of abortion. They know that until we confer dignity and love on every woman we meet we will never win the war. They know that many women choose abortion as an act of desperation because they don’t know there are options. They know that with God’s grace and a lot of prayer, babies are saved and they know that what they are doing is making a difference.
Copyright 2018 Merridith Frediani and Kate Frediani