When the March for Life steps out in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22, women will be in the forefront.
Women are a powerful voice in the pro-life movement, particularly those who regret their own abortions – women such as Dr. Alveda King, whose uncle was civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
King had two abortions – one without her consent, the other at her request.
She has said, “My birthday is Jan. 22, and each year, this day is marred by the fact that it is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the anniversary of death for millions of babies. I and my deceased children are victims of abortion, and subsequently the Roe v. Wade decision has adversely affected the lives of my entire family.”
King is not alone in her grief. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is made up of women around the country who hope to expose the pain, emotional and physical, associated with abortion.
Actress and model Jennifer O’Neill is the group’s celebrity spokeswoman. She has spoken poignantly of the depression she suffered after her abortion.
As O’Neill said in a Capitol Hill briefing, “Of course the protection of the unborn child is at the center of my heart. However, the aftermath of abortion can be equally deadly for both mother and unborn child. (A woman who has an abortion) is sentenced to bear that for the rest of her life.”
Despite claims from the pro-abortion lobby that abortion has no adverse side-effects, research has shown that about 60 percent of women who experience post-abortion after-effects have thoughts of suicide and 28 percent try to kill themselves.
A study of women eight weeks after their abortions found that 44 percent experienced nervous disorders and 36 percent had sleep disturbances.
Research also shows a number of post-abortive women reporting sexual dysfunction.
Abortion also has been linked to alcohol and drug abuse and eating disorders.
Physical complications can include perforation of the uterus, infection, hemorrhage and ectopic pregnancies.
As a result of the potentially devastating psychological and physical effects of abortion, it’s not surprising that women have taken the lead in trying to make abortion unthinkable.
Women serve as president of National Right to Life and the board of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.
Patricia Heaton, Emmy Award-winning star of TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” is honorary chairwoman of Feminists for Life.
Heaton has said, “I appreciate the fact that Feminists for Life is willing to work with people on both sides of the abortion debate, bringing them to create holistic solutions for pregnant women and parents.”
Those solutions include such things as better child care and housing options for women facing unexpected pregnancies.
Other prominent women are speaking out about the special blessings offered by special-needs children.
When her son Trig was born with Down syndrome, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said, “Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.”
Reflecting on being the mother of a special-needs baby, Palin once wrote, “Many people will express sympathy, but you don’t want or need that, because Trig will be a joy. Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world.”
Thirty-six years after Roe, it’s more obvious than ever that women deserve better than abortion, and that true equality means the right of a woman to be free from the pressure of coerced abortion and to have the support to help her bring her baby into the world.
In the end, a truly compassionate society is one that recognizes the rights of all women, including those yet to be born.
Maria Vitale is the education director of Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, which has its headquarters in Harrisburg.