Wanted, not Welcome
Fr. Frank Pavone
Priests for Life
The sad tragedy of killings in Colorado recently makes many wonder, "Why are
children killing children? What has gone wrong?"
Without pretending to probe the personalities, families, or other details of
the actual incident that has recently occurred, there is a serious question that
An increasing amount of psychological evidence points to a connection between
violence committed by young people and being an "abortion survivor."
The International Institute for Pregnancy Loss and Child Abuse Research and
Recovery has, for years now, pointed out the devastating effects of growing up
in a culture which says that "the word person, as used in the Fourteenth
Amendment, does not include the unborn" (Roe v Wade). This culture of abortion
says that "every child must be a wanted child."
For those born since 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down the laws
against abortion in all 50 states, that Court decision is a personal insult. "I
was not a person when I was in the womb," they are being taught. "I could have
been destroyed, and nobody would have complained. I am alive now because someone
else wanted me. I could have died, but for the fact that my parents chose me to
At first glance, being "wanted" might appear to be a psychological benefit.
But think again.
People who are "wanted" are in a position of fulfilling the desires (or plans
or expectations or agendas) of another. In distinction to this, being "welcomed"
means that one is accepted for his or her inherent value, just as he/she is,
with no strings attached. Being "welcomed" is much more healthy than being
There are many types of "abortion survivors." Just living in a country when
there is a statistically high probability that you could have been aborted makes
you a survivor. Another type of survivor are those whose siblings have been
aborted. Yet another type are those whose parents, in a moment of anger, say
things like "I could have/should have aborted you!"
A child who is a survivor experiences a number of identified symptoms, such
as survivor guilt, existential anxiety, and anxious attachment. One dynamic
works like this: "I am alive because I was wanted; if I cease to be wanted,
perhaps I can still be destroyed. I better do everything possible to stay
After a while, this extreme effort to be wanted becomes wearisome, and the
individual can rebel by senseless acts of violence. The violence becomes an
expression of their anger at being dangled on the tenuous thread of
Other factors, such as a sense of meaninglessness that cause one to flirt
with death, can be survivor symptoms.
Without engaging in superficial or gratuitous psychotherapy, it is necessary
for us to give serious consideration to the psychological dynamics that have
been unleashed by the abortion culture. Nobody who is really serious about
ending violence in our society can afford to leave any stone unturned in that
effort. Those who can least afford it, of course, are the children themselves.
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