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PRO-LIFE/ What Children Teach Us About Abortion

We can hope that the world may learn to listen to the wisdom of children, who know better than we adults that "A person's a person, no matter how small.", says pro-lifer MARY DETURRIS POUST

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As deeply committed as I've been to the pro-life effort over the years--going on marches to Washington, standing up in college classes to argue my point, writing columns and feature stories and blog posts--I have to admit that the shock value of abortion can begin to fade when you fight the same fight year after year, decade upon decade. We know all too well the horrors of abortion, but after a while I have found myself getting numb to that harsh reality, tired of having to say the same thing over and over.

Enter my 12-year-old daughter, Olivia, who has not yet been jaded by the larger society's blasé view of unborn babies and its acceptance of abortion on demand. Children, it seems, know intuitively that there is something terribly wrong with abortion, something incomprehensible. They have not yet been entangled in the relentless drumbeat of "my body, my choice." They can still see clearly and with honesty.

Maybe it's because children are so much closer to life inside the womb. Maybe it's because they recognize the scary possibility that someone could have chosen to end their own life before it had begun. Maybe it's because children are so pure and untainted by cynicism and selfishness and fear that they recoil at the suggestion that anyone anywhere at any time would willingly choose to kill their unborn child and see it as the "better" option, the lesser of two evils.

It's not an easy thing, to sit down with your 10-year-old or 12-year-old or 16-year-old and talk about abortion. Even as a committed pro-lifer, discussing abortion feels like I am betraying them somehow, like my role in the adult human family ties me to this evil in our midst because I have been unable to stop it, because I have carried babies in my womb and should never ever become numb to the prospect of someone ending such a life. And my children stare at me incredulous, sure I can't be right about this, about the numbers, about the methods, about the reasons.

Up until now they've assumed--probably because they spend so much time in Catholic circles where people are mostly pro-life--that their view, our view is "normal" or popular, and I've had to tell them quite bluntly, especially as they begin to spread their wings and voice opinions in public, that they face an uphill battle, that they will be made to feel they are ignorant or intolerant or hateful because they believe a life that begins at conception should be protected and nurtured from that point until natural death.