Silent No More: Women with past abortions lead D.C. March
'There is more than one victim in an abortion'
WASHINGTON, D.C. — "So I buried it. No one else needed to know. No one else needed to judge me as harshly as I had come to judge myself."
"It" was an abortion Brice Griffin had in 1998, unbeknownst to everyone except the father of the child. And "it" had haunted her for nearly a decade before she found healing in the sacrament of reconciliation.
Now, the woman who once "knew nothing except that I wanted to die" is declaring her remorse and regret for her abortion through her involvement in the national Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Sixty-five members of this campaign led the annual March for Life on Washington, D.C., holding large black signs declaring "I regret my abortion" and "I regret lost fatherhood." Afterwards at the steps to the Supreme Court, each gave a two-minute testimony of regret and healing.
During their testimonies, a small group of women from the National Organization for Women declaring their approval of abortion stood in the distance chanting pro-abortion slogans.
Pictured above: Brice Griffin talks about her abortion experience during the Charlotte March for Life Jan. 13. Read more about the Charlotte March for Life. (Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald)
"The Silent No More Awareness Campaign helps the pro-life movement look at abortion from the mother's perspective as well as the baby's," said Georgette Forney, director of Anglicans for Life, which is in partnership with the national organization Priests for Life. "Our testimonies help them understand that there is more than one victim in an abortion."
The campaign, which started in 2002 by women in the Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life organizations, exists to "to expose and heal the secrecy and silence surrounding the emotional and physical pain of abortion," explains their mission statement.
Griffin, for example, found healing from her abortion seemingly by accident. A recorded homily by nationally known Father Larry Richards urged her: "If you have had an abortion, confess it!" That was all the coaxing she needed.
"There in the confessional, heaving with sobs once more, I truly expected to be struck by lightning. I now sat there acknowledging that I was guilty of the worst sin possible: murder," she said in her testimony. "My dear priest smiled and handed me a box of tissues and said, 'God is so happy you are here. You will be forgiven, but you need healing.'"
While an important part of Griffin's healing has been the public testimony she gave on the steps of the Supreme Court on Monday, she also explained that "holding a sign is not for everyone. Not everyone is comfortable expressing their grief. In fact there are many post-abortive women who are still hurting silently. And that's all right! We need to extend a loving hand to them so that when they are ready, they can begin their own healing process."
The success of the campaign is seen in its rapid growth not only around the U.S., but around the world over the past decade at local gatherings on college campuses and street corners, at pro-life marches and on the floors of state legislatures.
The organization's website boasts 1,430 unique testimonials, some anonymous and some signed. They also serve as a referral center for ministries offering post-abortion counseling and services.
"The campaign is pleased to say that we partner with a lot of the pro-life groups as well as the pregnancy centers," added Forney. "I believe all of us together do much more for women than the women's groups who claim to represent women."
Andrea Hines, a member of St. Ann Church in Charlotte and the organizer of Charlotte's 40 Days for Life campaigns along with Griffin and her husband, also gave her testimony in Washington, D.C. She said that these testimonies help to educate the pro-life movement as well as evangelize the pro-choice movement.
"From our personal experiences, our testimonies bring the world the truth about abortion – that it has devastating effects on everyone," Hines said. "In praying about what to focus on in my two-minute-allotted testimony, the word came: forgiveness."
— Mary B. Worthington, correspondent
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy