How to be “pro-life”

January 1, 2021 -- Living City

How to be “pro-life”
All monotheistic religions consider life sacred. The Quran affirms, “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden to be killed except in the course of justice” [al-An‘âm (6): 151]. And scripture says about the Prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jer 1:5). Yet how can we live and promote this faith message of the sacredness of human life amid a secular society that believes otherwise? How can we build a world where abortion becomes unnecessary?

Trusting in God’s providence

By Arianne Quaglia

Three years ago I got pregnant, when I was 22 years old. I was taking my last course in business management at college and I had a clear goal for my life post-graduation: to get a good job at a big company.

The pregnancy was a complete surprise, not only for me, but also for my boyfriend. He was 25, and like myself, didn’t have a full-time job or economic stability. Yet he supported me and told me that it was my decision whether to keep the baby or not.

At that time, I was living with my parents and sister, who are deeply committed Catholics. For this reason, finding myself in such a situation worried me greatly. I was especially concerned as to how my parents would take this news. The last thing I wanted was to disappoint them.

Having an abortion had become more and more common among those around me. In fact, I have a friend who had an abortion and doesn’t regret the decision.

Yet I felt that I could not decide the life or death of a defenseless human being. Decisions such as these are difficult, because any choice of action will have its effects. Therefore, in silence, I tried to decide responsibly. I decided I was going to keep the baby.

At first I tried to keep the pregnancy a secret, telling only my sister. Luckily, my health was perfect and there weren’t any problems.

When I was four months pregnant, I went to the beach for New Year’s break. During that trip, I received the most distressing phone call of my life.

My dad was calling to ask me if I was pregnant after finding prenatal vitamins in my room. With tears in my eyes, I said “yes”, before apologizing for disappointing him. My father told me that he would support me.

After returning home, I talked with my dad. My mom needed more time before she could speak about this news and eventually support me. I think my mother wanted a different future for me. While waiting for her to come to terms with my pregnancy, I didn’t feel like the most welcomed person in my house.

However, as time passed, I felt stronger. It was incredible to see how my body was changing and I treasured the feeling of having a human being growing inside of me.

For me, trusting in God’s will and his providence was key. I got a job in a bank with benefits, including health insurance that covered a hospital birth. Little by little, everything was falling into place.

Having my baby was worth everything that came before. It was the beginning of a wonderful, yet different, life. My son, Tadeo is now two years old, and he is a marvelous child. I obtained my degree in Management, and I also have my own small business selling children’s clothing.

It’s not what I had imagined for my future, but I think my real life is even better.

So, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, consider taking the risk to change your life. Perhaps it is exactly what you need to be happy.

Choosing love over judgment

By G. F.

My son met a young woman who was a single mother with three children. She had also lost a 14-month-old baby, who died in his sleep. I can’t even imagine the pain she must have gone through.

As my son’s relationship with this woman progressed, she became pregnant with their child. She had wanted my son to keep it a secret, since the pregnancy was so new. But my son was so excited that he privately shared it with my husband and me.

I felt that this news changed him in such a profound way. He kept saying, “I am going to be a father.”

Then the unthinkable happened. She became fearful of having another child and decided to abort the pregnancy.

My son was so devastated and initially broke up with her because of this. But he loved her and decided to repair the relationship.

It was also devastating for my husband and me. She had aborted our grandchild! The pain and anger I felt was hard to control. She didn’t know that we knew about all of this, and it was really hard for us to interact with her.

I remember one evening late at night. I was alone and crying for my unborn grandchild. This little soul never had a chance.

I felt that God was speaking to me and telling me that I needed to continue to love. I needed to continue to love this woman and to try to understand her fears and her lack of faith. In fact, she had told us she didn’t believe in God.

I needed to choose love over imposing my values.

I felt that God was telling me that hearts are changed first through love, and not by judgments, or preaching, or making someone feel they did something wrong. It was a powerful moment of promising my little unborn grandchild that I would continue to love his or her mother.

I felt that if my son had decided to continue to love her, then so could I. My relationship with her grew and became stronger. We had long talks about different things.

Through sharing my experiences of raising my own children, she opened up about how she felt betrayed by her own mother at different points in her life. I started to understand her more, and that helped me know how to love her. Once she even told me that she felt more love from me in the short time I had known her than from her own mother during her whole life.

One day, my son told us that she was pregnant again. I felt my heart drop. I was terrified that she would have those previous fears. All

I could do was pray and continue to love.

A few months later, she let us know that they were expecting a little boy. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to God for answering my prayers. Our grandson was born over a year ago and has been such a gift to our lives.

And then there was a bonus. They let us know that once again, she was expecting, and that we were going to have a little granddaughter. It was an affirmation for me in believing in the power of love.

I continue to pray that she will know God and his infinite love and mercy for all of us. But God is in charge of that. My job is to continue to always choose love.

I started to question my perspective

By Marta Roca

I was 10 years old when Cuba, my native country, became Communist. My father was an atheist; he used to say that there was no such thing as a good God if people get sick or are born with disabilities.

So in my studies, I decided to specialize in gynecology, thinking that I could avoid exposure to sickness and death. For me, gynecology was all about life and health.

When I finally began this profession at the age of 30, I never considered abortion as a grave sin. I had no sense of there being a child in the womb. My first question to the pregnant patient was normally, “Are you going to keep it or not?”

Then at a certain point, I somehow became convinced that a spiritual world must exist. So I started reading the Bible in search of God. Then by chance I read a leaflet describing the film The Silent Scream, about the conversion of an abortionist doctor. I started to question  my perspective.

Already God had put into my heart the desire to stop doing abortions. One day I was ordered to perform three abortions and oversee a 28-week infanticide, but sustained by faith and taking a risk, I was able to avoid participating in them. Twenty-four years later, on Good Friday 2018,  I was finally healed of  that trauma.   

By the age of 44, I had discovered Jesus in the New Testament and fell in love with him. I knew that I wanted to enter the Catholic Church. A serious accident left me homebound for a year, so I spent it meditating on Holy Scripture, studying with a catechist and preparing for my First Communion. As I was in a second civil marriage, I practiced abstinence for months before I could get married in the Church and receive Holy Communion.

I realized that I had to stop performing abortions, but in Cuba, some doctors are in prison for doing so. Yet God helped me do his will and achieve my aim safely. After my church wedding, I conceived. This afforded me a leave of absence from my profession.

During that time, I battled all the voices that counseled me to have an abortion due to my age, and health conditions that could end in a miscarriage or compromised health for the baby, or the death of both mother and baby.

Everyone thought I was crazy. A colleague told me that although she was a cradle Catholic, she would rather abort than bring a sick or handicapped child into the world.

But I said my “yes” to God and went against these opinions. I chose life and told God, “If I die, I already have a passport to heaven, because I have said my yes to your will.”

At age 46, I gave birth by Caesarian delivery to a normal baby girl, born on the Feast of Our Lady of Charity, and I named her Maria de Jesus (Mary of Jesus). I relinquished my profession so that I would never have to perform another abortion.

Eventually in 2014, we were able to move to Miami, where I now try to do my part to advocate for the right to life. And I pray that people who are unaware of the consequences of their actions, as I used to be, may have the grace to understand the sanctity of life.

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