ND Right to Life identifies abortion clinic as holy ground
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, October 3, 2019
“Support life through prayer and presence.”
This is the tagline of Respect Life Week’s upcoming Saturday “pilgrimage” to Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend, an abortion clinic west of campus.
I do not care where you fall on the spectrum of pro-choice to pro-life. I don’t. But please, just call it what it is. This is not a “pilgrimage.” It is a protest. A protest that, at its heart, will shame women who are struggling with what can be an unbelievably difficult choice.
A “pilgrimage” is a very personal spiritual journey that pilgrims make to a holy place of gathering. Tell me, pro-life friends, is Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend considered holy ground to you? Somehow I doubt that.
The only way I see this as something close to a pilgrimage is if any ounce of protest is removed from the equation. I’m talking no visibility, only praying in the forest out back, no interaction with women walking in or cars passing by. I’m serious about this.
Anything else, and it becomes a protest.
A protest rooted in shaming others with the guise of a spiritual journey.
There are far more issues at play here than false advertising. When I think of “prayer and presence” outside abortion clinics, I think of fringe religious folks who make vulnerable women feel unsafe and downright oppressed as they go about their lives. I think of a pro-life movement that disregards “to grave” for a hyperfocus on “cradle.”
I certainly don’t think of an individual’s personal journey of spiritual growth.
If you want to pray for the souls of unborn children and pregnant women, please be my guest. Prayer can be a beautiful and powerful thing. But when prayer becomes a spectacle that humiliates women who we should be showing love, support and respect, I can no longer stand by it.
I am begging you to show me a pro-life movement that respects lives. The lives of women.
I advise against attending this event.
Protest at the Capitol.
Pray at home.
Or, if you’re looking for an alternative pilgrimage location, try Customs and Border Protection in Clint, Texas. I’ve heard they could use some prayers.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.