Caution: as indicated by the title, this is an article on the abortion issue.
Experiences of a pro-life undergraduate at an Ivy League school on the East Coast.
He looked to be in his early fifties, stylish, in a suit, with a briefcase, grey hair. Most likely a professor at my university. He walked over to the edge of the college green, where I stood by the pink and blue flags commemorating those aborted since Roe V. Wade. I tried to hand him a flyer on fetal development. He shook his head, and looked me in the face.
He was animated. “I just want you to know—twenty years ago–I aborted my kid and I don’t regret it!” I stared. He was trying to look defiant, but instead, agitated. We were both as surprised as a deer and a driver locking eyes on a night road. Finally, I stuttered, “There is this counseling for…”
He shook his head, “No, no, I don’t want anything.” He turned and walked swiftly towards one of the classroom halls of my campus.
I didn’t know why he told me that. “My kid”–those were his words, not mine. I’ve thought about it a lot since. It was as if he wanted me to judge him, to get emotional, so that he could fight back. All I can guess is that, being around 20 myself at the time, I was the age of his “kid.” He was ashamed, and he wanted me to be angry, to be angry back.
We had our Pro Life Cemetery of the Innocents, once a year. It was nothing gory–just pink and blue flags to commemorate those taken from this earth by abortion, and some signs like “Women deserve better than abortion”. Our Pro Life university group (all of half a dozen active members) would take shifts to stand at the edge of the college green by the flags, and offer people flyers on fetal development.
When I stood there at the edge of the college green during my shift, I’d see hundreds of faces a day. Almost no one came close enough for me to try to hand out a flyer on fetal development, but from a distance, as they first came in sight of it, I’d see their faces—that initial moment, when startled. There are many different commemorations on our college green—most were anti-war and pro-vegetarian cemeteries and such, so people were used to that. But when they read the signs, they realized this was different, and for a second, you could see their initial reaction, before they’d mask it. I saw that expression the most—the same expression of the trim grey-haired professor—vulnerable, vulnerable, ashamed, and angry.
There were others too—though by then, the mask was on. Many white frat boys, walking slowly in my line of vision, smirking and holding up their middle finger. I think they were hoping for a reaction. Then, the preppy, immaculately-dressed fellow female students, who were a little more proactive. One of them came over to speak to us, “You arranged this? And you are students at this university?!”
“Yes,” I answered, “would you like a flyer–”
She interrupted, looking straight at me and my fellow pro-lifer. “I think this is disgusting. You are disgusting.”
We said nothing.
She turned and swept away, righteously indignant.
But this rage, this shock…it is the same thing. She doesn’t mean it. She thinks she does, but she really means….this makes her feel the way she described us. Just look her in the eye and say, “I’m sorry.” Sorry that she has to feel that way about herself. Sorry that deep down, she is afraid. That the more our culture says human beings are expendable, the more our culture erases the innate preciousness of human beings…the more people will believe that they, too, are meat. A world where there is no forgiveness but only regret, so it must be stuffed deep down, and that will only cause self-hatred and self-revulsion… which comes out masked as disgust, and indignant rage.
Stay calm. Don’t be baited. Sometimes, they want you to judge them. They will bait you.
So don’t be baited. This really isn’t about us at all, it is about them. And we have to somehow, show them the world as it really is—where all human beings are created sacred, innately precious, and where regrets don’t need to be buried, because there is forgiveness. There is healing. Because we are sacred.