By Faye Sonier
I’ve been a pro-life activist for six years. One of my primary files as a lawyer for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is the “Life” file. Daily, I study issues like euthanasia, assisted suicide, reproductive technologies and abortion.
I’m currently working on an abortion-related project that the EFC is preparing to release. This means that for the last four days I’ve worked on nothing else. I’ve been reading and writing about abortion non-stop. I’ll continue to do so for the next few weeks until we release the report.
Only four days into this project, I’m already struggling with waves of nausea and deep sadness. This is partly because the abortion topic is a hard one to focus on exclusively. We’re talking about the dismemberment and killing of unborn children. We’re talking about the damage abortion inflicts on mothers, fathers, families, and communities. The damage for individuals may be psychological, emotional and physical but many fail to consider it is also reflected in demographic, cultural and economic realities of our society.
Anytime spent studying this issue is like taking a class entitled “Culture of Death 101.” It’s not a happy topic.
The other reality is that I’m six months pregnant. My son, Jack, seems intent to dance his way to the ninth month, whether that’s in his waking prenatal hours or in his sleep. The boy is kicking and stretching incessantly.
So while my laptop is propped up on a pillow just past my ever-growing belly, as I read about abortion procedures, Jack might kick enough to knock aside a page that is resting on my stomach. While I read pro-choice arguments that ring increasingly hollow, about choice or bodily rights, Jack is making my sweater ripple and bunch with his activity.
And this makes me feel sick, this reading about the killing and the rhetoric in defence of killing children just like my Jack.
Other pro-lifers have confessed to me that sometimes, to cope, they have to mentally and emotionally move to a 30,000 foot view of the abortion issue. They need to think about the “issue” without thinking about one or every single life destroyed. I fully understand how it would be crippling to function, much less engage, otherwise. I’ve been there too. Some days, as horrible as it sounds, I can’t bear to think about each life lost. On those days, I can handle a statistic, but I can’t handle the Susies, or Ellas, or Matteos, or Jacks who didn’t make it through the day because an abortionist and mother decided that today would be that child’s last.
Right now, I cannot separate myself from the individual lives that are being lost on an hourly basis. I can’t because I have one life that is making itself known all too loud and clear. His movements echo those of the little ones who will move no more before the end of the abortion clinic’s business day.
Today, like yesterday and the day before, about 275 children will die in Canada from abortion.
So I cry. I put down my journal articles and email a few of my colleagues and let them know I’m struggling. They call and we share. I try to get perspective. I cling to hope that lives are being saved because of the work the pro-life community is doing. That this work we do makes a difference. That hearts are being changed. That maybe today a life will be spared.
But it also spurs me on to pray for the children and women who are victims of abortion and for my colleagues who spend their lives sharing a message of life. It makes me recommit to this cause on a nearly minute-by-minute basis.
My struggle is minute compared with that of the children who are fighting for their lives, angling their little bodies away from the abortionist’s instruments. It is small compared to that of the women and communities who are left to pick up the pieces once the procedure is over. Abortion leaves loss, destruction and suffering in its wake. And today, it leaves me feeling sick and my heart that much more broken over the little lives lost than it ever has before.
And, for this activist, that’s probably a good thing.
Faye Sonier is Legal Counsel with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. She lives and works in Ottawa with her husband and little Jack.