Complications and Compassion

This week just keeps getting more abnormal.  Today I have off school for the third time this week so that my Catholic students and fellow teachers can drive to Washington for a protest march on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

My feelings about this issue are mixed.  I do think that, once you're pregnant, carrying your child to term shouldn't be optional.  And although I may be crucified for that remark in this forum, I have to say that I think the tide of our culture is changing in that direction.  Unfortunately, a lot of it has to do with the "trendiness" of pregnancy; babies are the hottest new accessories out there, whether you're 17 like Jamie Lynn or 37 like Angelina Jolie.  I'd like to think that some of it is more complicated than that, though.  So many recent books, movies and TV programs have made heroes out of mothers who became pregnant in awkward or even criminal circumstances and used those experiences to turn their lives around, whether they raised the child on their own, married the father or put the child up for adoption.  Very few have made abortion look heroic.

So, although I do think abortion is wrong and should be illegal, period, I also think the issue is extremely complicated.  There's a lot of personal hurt on both sides that needs to be respected.  And I'm not sure a massive protest does that.

The last time I went to the March for Life was seven years ago.  I had a harrowing experience there that I later wrote about.  Since then, I've been uncomfortable with the idea of attending demonstrations about this issue, and I'm especially uncomfortable with the way my school has made it into an Event, one so important they'll cancel school so everyone can attend it.  What will happen to these students when they meet someone who has had an abortion, or is contemplating one?  Will they view her with compassion, or with contempt?  There are no easy answers here.