by Tara K. E. Brelinsky
I chose the topic of abortion for a high school English class assignment. Feeling bold and confident, I remember standing at the front of the class, facing my public school peers. I recall passionately imploring them to understand the horrible realities of abortion.
It was clear in my head and concise in my words; abortion was not a beneficial choice for unborn babies, nor their mothers. How could anyone see it differently? Unfortunately, youthful passions often lack deep convictions.
Roe vs. Wade in History
I was born into the world just as the fateful decision of Roe vs. Wade was penned into history. Thankfully, my mother courageously chose life. But she soon found herself a single parent.
Though my Catholic grammar school base instilled me with a general sense of right and wrong, core truths were left out of my formation. And my experiences would present me with a very distorted picture of “reality.”
Growing up around my mother’s parents and five siblings, I always felt like a cherished member of a big family. However, juxtaposed with that life was another, as is often the case for children when their families are fractured.
The Pursuit of Love
I watched the pursuit of love time and time again with different partners. I understood myself as part of that pursuit, wanted when convenient. So, when the hormones of my teen-aged years revved into full gear, self-destruction lay ahead.
The truths that I had espoused in that English class were easily abandoned once I listened to the “thoughtful” opinions of the opposition. I heard good people, honest friends, even friend’s parents testify to the necessity for personal choice in all things. In fact, they presented choice as the mature stance to take.
Since I was busy exercising my own personal, self-destructive choice in various arenas of my life, that message felt empowering and it certainly fit in with the pursuit of self-satisfying love. And furthermore, they told me, standing against abortion was really unjust condemnation. And how could any good, mature Catholic judge others?
Eyes Wide Open
By the grace of God, as my early twenties waned, my errors were corrected. My suppressed pro-life heart was fortified by truth. You might chalk it up to genuine maturity mixed with becoming a parent myself, but one event definitely stands out among the rest in my re-education process. I’ll never forget the night, sitting alone in front of my computer screen, that I stumbled across the images of abortion.
The Priests for Life website confronted me with the first graphic depictions of abortion. Weeping, I forced myself to look at those tiny babies and their brutally dismembered parts. Painful pictures, but somehow necessary, like the crucifix hanging in the forefront of every Catholic Church.
Never again could my brain justify murder as a personal choice. Never again could I be duped into believing that abortion was an expression of love. I cried until my head ached and I sent an email thanking the website for opening my eyes, literally.
I was a mother when my eyes opened fully. And it became clear to me that I had to do better in forming my own children. I had to establish Truth’s roots deep in their hearts and minds. I had to do my best to prepare them for the inevitable lies that would some day challenge their convictions.
Marching with My Children
For that reason, we began taking our young family on a March for Life, both locally and in Washington, DC. In the first years, we pushed strollers down the city streets and held tightly the hands of our small children. We taught our children with words and actions that life is worth fighting for. Now some of our brood have grown-up and they march of their own accord.
Of course, every child grows up and has to exercise his or her own will. No parent can ensure that their child will stay the course and uphold their convictions. But I knew that I had to do better in forming the young minds under my care. We all must raise up people who will one day change the world, ensuring that every human life, born and unborn, is protected.