The Circle of Grief Is Not Limited to Two

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. The 40th anniversary of Roe is only four days away. The following is part of our ongoing series of stories from National Right to Life News, going back all the way to the 1970s. The following ran in the September 2002 edition of “the pro-life newspaper of record.”

SadWoman654Not long ago I was reading an e-mail (which I do a lot) when a sentence reminded me of something I hadn’t given sufficient thought to for a long time: There are many, many hurting women out there who would do anything before allowing anyone to know they had aborted.

That does not mean, the author of the e-mail hastened to add, that abortion’s deadly ripple effect hadn’t reached many of those who surround her. Rather, they may easily miss many telltale signs of post-abortion syndrome and not know of her need for repentance and spiritual healing, because family and friends are not aware of the source of her soul-agony.

A few weeks ago I spoke with a remarkably candid woman, a friend, someone who illustrated the opposite reaction. She wanted me–and anyone who would listen–to know what she had done to her baby, to herself, and to her family. They had been devastated when they learned after the fact that she had been pregnant and (in fear and shame) had taken the life of a child she now missed enormously.

This death experience (which it is and we must never forget that it is) went back years. She talks often of the circle of grief that the loss of her baby caused. Ruefully, tearfully she lives with the thought that more than the lives of just herself, the baby, and the baby’s father were forever changed.

How can it be otherwise? Were one of my children to abort a child, that lost life would be my grandson or granddaughter.

But the collateral damage does not end there. That truism hit me like a ton of bricks when during the course of our conversation my friend talked about something particularly kind that the lost child’s “uncle” had done for her.

Uncle? My goodness, that’s right, isn’t it? That child’s life, like all of ours, is wrapped in a web of relationships.

Think of a family member who is in the midst of a difficult medical situation. Think of how the lives of spouses and parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins–not to mention friends and colleagues–are affected.

How much more is this true when a life is lost? Because most people’s line of moral sight lacks peripheral vision, they are only able to see straight ahead. Thus, unlike pro-lifers, they are unable to see that when an unborn child dies, it is a family-wide tragedy.

We always say, as we should, that abortion kills an unborn child and maims her mother. But we should never forget that the circle of grief and pain is much wider, deeper, and enduring.

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