By KRISTINA MCGOVERN, Special to the Bulletin | Published June 9, 2022
Once we save children from being killed by abortion, what’s next? Do we just sit back and pat ourselves on the back and say “job well done”? I hope the answer to that question is a resounding no. We, as Catholics, cannot stop at protecting children in the womb. We have to continue to protect them and protect their innocence. But we cannot save the children unless we save their mothers first.
If a woman faces an unplanned pregnancy, that means she is not prepared to be a mother and/or may not want to be a mother. So, if she is not helped, encouraged and supported, then the child may suffer from neglect or abuse, sometimes in unimaginable ways.
“It is better for the child to die now than to suffer later.” Have you ever heard someone say this? Unfortunately, this is one of the arguments some people use to justify abortion. Well, what if we allow the child to live and stop the suffering before it ever starts by accompanying the expectant mother and her child on their journey? What if “the village” actually helped raise the child instead of encouraging its demise?
I loved Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer’s concise and poignant letter concerning the Supreme Court leaked draft of a possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. He said that the work is only beginning because women and children will need help even more than before—not only during pregnancy, but also throughout infancy and childhood.
If abortions are hopefully abolished/restricted by individual state laws, organizations that help pregnant women during the prenatal, perinatal and post-partum periods are essential and will need our support even more so. Pregnancy Aid Clinic (PAC)—in Forest Park, Roswell and Atlanta—is probably the most well-known in Catholic circles.
According to pregnancyaidclinic.com, PAC provides “medical services, client advocacy, parenting education and post abortion healing… (and) offers comprehensive programs for mothers and fathers to navigate from pregnancy to parenthood with a focus on parenting and life skills.”
What, I think, is one of the most important statements on the PAC website, is that they “strive to protect children by strengthening families.” This is another way to save the children; by building a strong foundation of the family, the domestic church.
The “Aid” in PAC represents not only the material goods that are needed to take care of an infant, but the aid that goes far beyond what a store can buy. Like the old adage, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime,” PAC feeds prospective parents by preparing, training and equipping them for future generations.
Walking with Moms in Need (WWMIN) is another group that proactively helps women and their babies. From what I have witnessed of this ministry through St. Brigid Church and Holy Spirit Church, this group doesn’t just help a woman once and move on to the next. The mission is all about developing a much-needed loving and supportive relationship with women and their children long-term.
St. Brigid’s Respect Life Coordinator, Cathy Schneider, has amazed me with her commitment to helping women and children as a part of the Walking with Moms in Need group. Before I ever heard of WWMIN, I met Schneider through Proclaim my Word Bible Study at Holy Spirit. The first thing I learned was how active she was in not only saving unborn babies but being there for the women every step of the way. She shows God’s love to complete strangers and becomes an active part of their lives.
How far would you go to help a complete stranger? What would life be like if we decided to dive headfirst into someone else’s life, especially someone we don’t know? Yes, it sounds scary to me, who can barely maintain a relationship with friends I have known for more than a decade. But, if I have the courage to devote even part of my life to helping someone else, I can make a difference.
I want to help in the small ways and hope they have a big impact. Mother Teresa said that in this life we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.
The answer in this world is always love.
Kristina McGovern, 32, worships at Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta.