Life Matters —The Newsletter of the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockford
By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge
Associate Director, Respect Life Office
Another year passes. One more anniversary of Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton—the Supreme Court rulings that struck down all existing state laws prohibiting abortion. Another year where young girls and women were lied to, manipulated, and treated poorly. Another year where some women died as the result of what they were told was a simple “choice.” Another year where pseudo feminists insisted that women have no rights if they do not have a “right” to destroy their unborn children.
Abortion is sold to young girls and women as the best solution to their “problem.” That problem, of course, is what some consider an untimely or unwanted pregnancy. And as frightening and worrisome as those situations may seem, certainly we can help women of all ages make positive, life-affirming choices for themselves and for their babies.
Kristin Wallace was only ten years old when she found her father convulsing on the floor after a suicide attempt. Twelve days later he was dead. Three years later—at the tender age of thirteen and in seventh grade—Kristin was pregnant. She was embarrassed and terrified. One does not have to know much else to recognize that this was not a “wanted” or a timely pregnancy
Wanting what she mistakenly believed to be best for her daughter, Kristin’s mother urged her to have an abortion. Kristin carefully thought about her options and decided that not only would she have her baby, she was going to keep her. Fortunately, her mother supported Kristin in that decision even though she did not agree with it.
A story on Kristin in the Portland Oregonian on September 30, 2002 summed it up nicely when it reported, “Family once angered by Wallace's pregnancy melted at the sight of her tow-headed baby.” I am certain most of us can recall instances in our own social or family circles where similar sentiments have been expressed. While never forgetting that non-marital sexual activity is wrong, we must also never forget that a new life resulting from such activity is just as precious and miraculous as those babies conceived during the best of circumstances,
Kristin finished high school and went on to college at Portland State University where she was elected president of the student body. She is the first person in her family to graduate from college. Faced with challenging circumstances, Kristen exhibited true feminism and, with the assistance of her family and friends, she proved there are life-affirming alternatives to abortion—alternatives that while not always easy, are rewarding in the long run.
An Earlier Time
Kristin’s journey began in the late 90s. In an earlier era, Gloria Feldt was fifteen years old and pregnant when she quit school and eloped. By age twenty (the year was 1962) she had three children—two daughters and a son—none of whom were, according to Gloria, “planned.”
Gloria finished high school via a correspondence course and eventually earned a B.A. with honors from the University of Texas-Permian Basian. For the past seven years, she has served as president of a non-profit organization that took in more than $766 million dollars in its last fiscal year. Her base salary is more than $356, 000. In 2000, she was named as one of “America’s Most Influential Women” by Vanity Fair Magazine. Using society’s standards, most people would say this is one mighty successful woman.
Sadly, the organization Gloria leads is Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)—the country’s largest single committer of abortions and the world’s most aggressive advocate for abortion on demand for any or for no reason. And even more regrettably, rather than using her influence and personal experience to encourage girls and women facing similar circumstances to understand that the birth of a child does not destroy dreams, she uses it to promote a legal right to kill unborn babies. Gloria argues that only unrestricted abortion will allow these girls and women to preserve their independence and reach their goals.
Working for Planned Parenthood in some capacity since 1974, Gloria still laments the fact that she had no “choice” with her three pregnancies. In her 2002 book, Behind Every Choice Is A Story, Feldt writes, “If, however, there is one great sadness for me, it is that I have never had the pleasure of having a truly planned child with someone I wholeheartedly love and at a time of life when we could have provided the environment in which a child could have the best chance to thrive.”
In her 2003 Mother’s Day message, she said “I am overjoyed that my children, who thrived despite parents who were children themselves, have experienced the joy of planned, wanted children.”
How could her grandchildren possibly have brought more joy to their parents simply because they were planned and wanted? Is she implying that her joy was somehow diminished because her three children were not planned and wanted? How sad that she does not recognize that children are a gift who bring joy simply by their presence.
Without Abortion, Women are Helpless
If Gloira did recognize this truth, however, she would be unable to advocate for the killing of those children who were conceived under less than perfect circumstances. Rather than using her life experience as an example of what a young teen or woman can accomplish when faced with difficult circumstances, Gloria has spent the past 30 years preaching to young girls and women of all ages that “…the ability to choose when and whether to have a child underlies a woman’s ability to determine all other aspects of her life.” This is pseudo-feminism at its best—or should I say worst!
Rather than providing real assistance for women facing untimely pregnancies, Gloria’s organization offers abortion and works tirelessly to shut down those truly benevolent agencies who do offer practical help to women. Rather than teaching that non-marital sex is the problem, PPFA focuses on the result of that activity and pretends to solve the problem by doing away with the baby.
Women who choose life for their babies, regardless of the circumstances and short term suffering, will be stronger and better able to cope with life’s challenges. Viewing abortion as a quick fix solution robs the baby of his or her life and often results in greater pain and suffering for the baby’s parents, grandparents, and siblings. Everyone is robbed of the joy that children bring.
We Can Do Better
I am certain many of us can recall instances where a married female friend or relative was not overjoyed when she first found out she was pregnant. Yet, when that baby arrived, he or she was a source of immense joy.
Carolyn Edy, was twenty-five years old and had just received her master’s degree when she found out she was pregnant. Her boyfriend ditched her and although she said she always knew she would never have an abortion, she was “sure that my life was over.” Writing for Newsweek in 1999 she stated, “I really had no idea what I was in for. As much as I knew I would love my child, I love her more. I had hoped I would enjoy being a mother, and in fact I thrive in my new role.” Interestingly, the baby’s father is now involved and Carolyn writes that “Now he feels as I do—proud that there is no other baby like her.”
Certainly there are instances when an untimely pregnancy presents special difficulties and the mother wrongly believes she has no choice but abortion. Most women, however, who have chosen abortion say they would not have done so if only someone had stood by them during the pregnancy.
Unborn babies, their mothers and their fathers deserve better than abortion. Let’s not allow another year to pass without doing something to help women facing untimely pregnancies.