Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roe vs. Wade Anniversary: Pro-Life in Suffering

Our pro-life angle is the suffering angle. The angle of parents faced with a prenatal diagnosis and the quality of life question. As Catholics, we believe that the proper end of marriage is to welcome the children that marriage creates. For six pregnancies now, after our firstborn was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, we've been viewed askance for having our babies instead of aborting them. Why would you bring a child into the world only to suffer and die? Here are some of my answers:

*Every single person is born to a life of joys and sufferings. And then death. There have been a few examples of saintly folks who did not technically die, but don't plan on that.

*Life is difficult and messy and complicated.

*I don't have all the answers and guarantees, but I do know that killing children in the womb is not the answer.

*If my child dies, it will not be by my hand.

*Everyone suffers, not only those with health problems. Here I would like to add a bit about another one of my children. One with a defiant streak that would curl your toenails. And a touch of laziness.  And who will not work on school lessons. Tough life. No CF. I believe I may beg God for help more for that one than my CFer...

*People today have demands: COMFORT. ENTITLEMENTS. PAINLESS. GUARANTEES. PERFECTION. A little one that requires extra work or forces social embarrassment or causes constricted hearts will not do.

*Mother Teresa's famous words : "It is a poverty to decide that a child may die so that you may live as you wish."

*Our Catholic belief of redemptive suffering does not wipe away the pain and tears, but it does soften the sharp edges and allow glimmers of goodness. From the Catechism :

"Moved by so much suffering, Christ not only allows Himself to be touched by the sick, but He makes their miseries His own : "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." (Isaiah 53:4). But He did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. . .By His passion and death on the cross, Christ has given a new meaning to suffering. It was henceforth to configure us to Him and unite us with His redemptive Passion." (Section 1505)

"But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of an illness. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9) and that "in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church." (Colossians 1:24). (Section 1508)

"His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that He identifies Himself with them : "I was sick and you visited me." (Matthew 25:36). His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries." (Section 1503)

So what would I say to a lady who has received a scary prenatal diagnosis? Choose life. Visit Be Not Afraid and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep for beauty and dignity and love and to share your tears, for we are greater than the sum of our parts ~

"We are a soul ; we have a body." ~ C.S. Lewis
"Luminous beings we are, not just this crude matter." ~ Return of the Jedi book

What a blessing and a gift it is for Ken and me to be able to point our suffering children to these words of truth. And ourselves.

So many lives lost. How can I help? How can I love?

For more anniversary posts, see Jill Stanek.


  1. I can't believe people questioned you for having more children. It's really no one's business but yours! Nothing is guaranteed in life. A child could be born in complete health yet fall ill at a young age, or a person could be born with an illness but live a long and fulfilling life. I can't imagine rejecting a child for any reason, let alone a CF diagnosis. It makes me sad that people do.

  2. Beautiful, wonderful post! God Bless You! You are an awesome inspiration and a shining light in this dark world that refuses to have room for "imperfection". Only God is the author of perfection. You have a wonderful family!