“What do you think about abortion?” I asked Catherine as she walked by the sign I was holding, that showed the broken body of a 10-week old aborted pre-born child.
Catherine was visibly upset and told me she thought our display was inappropriate given we were in a public place where lots of pedestrians were walking by. “How do you think this makes women who’ve experienced miscarriage feel?” she asked.
Having done activism like “Choice” Chain for a few years, I know that confronting the public with images of abortion victims does not only impact the many women who’ve had abortions themselves, but also the women who have lost children through miscarriage.
With this in mind I asked Catherine if she knew of anyone who had experienced the tragedy of miscarriage. “I have,” she replied, “with 3 of my children.”
For the next while, Catherine and I talked about her experience and hardships with miscarriage, and I expressed to her how genuinely sorry I was for her loss. She told me how the images of aborted children angered her because she couldn’t imagine how women could choose to not keep their children, when all she ever wanted was to be able to keep hers.
“You know, it brings me comfort knowing that your 3 pre-born children were so loved and so valued by you and your husband – your love for your children truly inspires me to work to create a society where all pre-born children would be loved in that same way,” I told Catherine. She agreed with me that such a society should be the ideal, and so I told her that that was the reason I was there holding a sign showing abortion victim photography.
We can’t change the past and bring back lives lost, but we can bring honour to those lives by letting them inspire and motivate us to change the future and save the lives of those that we are able to save – those sentenced to be aborted.
Catherine took a brochure, thanked me for the work we were doing, and hugged me before going on her way.
Just as with Catherine, when women who have had miscarriages see abortion victim photography, it can often serve as a reminder of the pre-born children they lost. Even though abortion (a direct and intentional act to end the life of a human being) is something women choose to have happen, while miscarriage (the natural death of a pre-born child caused by a variety of medical and genetic reasons) is something women have no control over, images of abortion victims affect both, because the humanity of those tiny human beings is so clearly visible in the images.
Sometimes those who have experienced miscarriages can’t bear to look at the images, and that is understandable. I myself have never experienced the pain or loss of a miscarriage, and I can only empathize with women like Catherine who have. But to all women who have walked past my sign over the years feeling the pain and sorrow of their lost children, it is my sincere hope that you know that your children’s lives—however short, however insignificant or “non-human” pro-choice advocates insist they were—had value and should be grieved and remembered.
Let the images of the precious lives lost remind us of the precious lives we have the opportunity and duty to protect.