pro-life family

My Journey into the Pro-Life Movement

6 January 2022

7.1 MINS

A Brisbane mother shares how her pro-life convictions took root with the love displayed by her parents and then deepened with her life experiences, especially with pregnancy and motherhood. She explains why every Christmas, she and her husband engage in the public witness of a three-day vigil outside an abortion clinic, even though it is confronting for passers-by and seems fruitless at times, and usually culminates in them being arrested.

A Father’s Love

I think my pro-life journey probably started when I was about thirteen, when my dad gave me a hug and said that if I should ever get pregnant, not to be afraid to come home and tell my parents — they would support me and the baby.

I was a long way from getting pregnant when I was that age, but I was very moved, and I knew that my father would love his grandchildren, no matter how they were conceived or what sort of state I was in. He was there for me.

I think fathers are really important; having that support is enormously important. I would encourage dads to have a conversation with their daughters. When they’re younger, it may seem strange — it did seem out of the blue, but I was touched.

From Personal to Universal

I was very pro-life for any children I might have, but I wasn’t necessarily pro-life for any other woman’s babies. When I thought about it as I grew older, I just felt that it was a personal issue between a woman and her doctor. I was happy to leave it to the private sphere.

It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I started revisiting the issue.

The Catholic Worker movement in Brisbane, of which I was a member, had traditionally been pro-life and anti-war, consistent against violence.

Caring for the Weak

The first thought I had was, I don’t necessarily feel that there’s anyone there in my womb, but I feel really sick and vulnerable.

I realised that women are probably making these decisions in a very vulnerable state.

I wanted to feel that I was looked after, which was a bit of a shock to my husband and me. I had been very independent before, but I started to feel the need for him to protect and care for me. All of that improved when the baby was born, but it was a bit of a surprise to me.

A Separate Person

As the baby grew bigger, I started to feel her moving. I had a dawning awareness — I could not stop her moving so that I could sleep, and I could not start her moving so that her dad could feel her. I thought, “She isn’t me. She is somebody else.”

She had her own human rights. She could have been a boy. She could have had a different blood group to me. She had her own set of genes. It was a real awakening, that the child in the womb is not their mother.

Caring for Children

That brought me more into the pro-life movement. I found it very helpful as I was raising children, because the pro-life movement cares about children of course, and it was cutting-edge with information about children and childhood, things that could damage children.

They were talking about internet addiction in the ’90s, twenty years before other people started ringing alarm bells about it.

I’m very grateful that I had the pro-life movement in my life as I was raising children.

Childhood Sexual Abuse and Abortion

Also, being in the Catholic Worker and having many really good conversations with people, I came to know many women who had had abortions. At one stage, I realised that I probably had thirty friends who’d had abortions. Only a couple of them had not been sexually abused as children. That seemed strange to me, that there was such a preponderance of those two things in the circles I mixed in.

I said to one of my friends, “You’re one of the few whom I know who had an abortion but wasn’t sexually abused.” Then I became the first person she told that she had been abused, by her father. I thought, there’s something going on here.

Communal Sin

I started also considering that guilt is not something, in anything that we do, that belongs just to one person. I could see Biblically and theologically that communal guilt was something that God talked about. Jesus talked about judging between the nations. (Matthew 25)

We are the yeast in the dough — we aren’t separate from the wider community; we’re meant to be involved, agents for the rising of the community that we live in, for their uplifting.

I started thinking, we’re all guilty of what’s happening, the abortion situation. I knew all about what happens, how babies die in abortions, and you wouldn’t wish that on any living being, let alone your own child.

Women’s Rights

Women are not being informed, they are not being warned that it’s their own child that’s going to be killed inside them.

I started a group called Feminists for Life — we joined the Feminists for Life movement, which put out some really good information to share with women who were concerned about women’s rights.

The Poorest of the Poor

When we talk about helping the poor, the absolute poorest people in Australia are definitely unborn children. We don’t have the legal right to kill anybody, except them. That makes them incredibly abandoned.

I felt responsible for what was happening to them and their mothers. In our society, we do not know the extent of the damage that this is causing in us.

It must be enormous, because it is so horrendous for women to go through.

An Attack on Womanhood

I also realised that motherhood was teaching me things. One of the things it was teaching me was that whatever my children went through, I experienced as well, in a way that their father didn’t really. I felt for them — not that he wasn’t understanding, but I would experience what they experienced, which wasn’t always helpful.

I thought, the mother-child bond goes very deep, and it should not be messed with in this direct way. I started seeing abortion as actually an attack on women and on womanhood, and on a woman’s feminine integrity.

Taking Action

By this stage, I started being involved at abortion clinics, talking to women in the waiting rooms, getting arrested, sitting in front of the door, talking to staff. This was just one of the ways in which my pro-life journey was panning out.

I did lots of other things — I lobbied politicians, I wrote letters, we had marches and rallies. There were many different ways in which I was involved, but the first way of course impacted a lot more on my family, my community and me, what with me getting arrested.

I wasn’t sure that the amount of impact it was having on my life was justified, and it was criticised very heavily by people on the left. People were so upset with me for these actions.

You do have to examine yourself a lot, when you receive a lot of criticism, as to why you are doing these things. One of the things that I came to realise and sense in myself was that what I was doing through these actions, was accompanying the women in a way that I couldn’t by any other means.

What I was asking them to sacrifice in order to save their children, was what I was also sacrificing alongside them — my time, my energy, my financial abilities, my children’s lives.

My extended family was shocked, horrified and upset with me, with my status as someone who was arrested, criminalised, fingerprinted, photographed, jailed, went to court trying to defend my actions.

All of these are things that women are possibly going to have to sacrifice in order to save their babies. So I was accompanying them in a way that was more self-sacrificial, I guess. And because I had to try and make sense of doing this, that I wasn’t doing it lightly, because it cost me, I had to know that what I was doing was absolutely where God wanted me and that in some way, it was the most important thing to do, because if it wasn’t, I would do the thing that was most important.

The Christmas Vigil

We used to do a fast and a vigil, and we still do — even though it’s illegal now — outside an abortion clinic every Christmas, between Christmas night and the Feast of the Holy Innocents on the 28th of December.

This was started by the Catholic Worker movement before I joined. We only drank water and we sat on the footpath night and day with signs, so of course by the third day, people would be aware of your presence and you start to receive more abuse and confrontation, but also some really good encounters as well — good discussions with each other and other people who joined the vigil.

I also work as a therapist now, and I’m really aware that having this sort of public vigil will trigger people. One day I just felt tired of it and I thought, Okay God, I’m just upsetting people here, I’m not achieving anything, I’ve kind of had enough, and I think I’ll have to think about another way of acting. You know this isn’t working.

I was despairing a bit I guess, but I turned around and looked at the roof of the clinic — which had bushes in front of it — and as I looked, it was like space opened up. I had a vision of all of these faces, hundreds and hundreds of faces. They were trying to speak but they couldn’t speak, and they were looking really frustrated.

I thought, Okay I get it, the people who are abusing me have got a voice, but the people who’ve died at this clinic don’t have a voice. They only have me, and I’m their voice. I think the Holy Spirit came through with me at that moment, to help me through that time of questioning and despair.

Ever since then, I haven’t doubted a public witness is important, to what’s happening in the abortion situation.

I’m very happy to have ongoing discussions about this — I would love to be talked out of doing abortion clinic actions.

Real Support

I do feel very saddened that women encourage other women to have abortions. I think we should actually be encouraging women, saying we’ll support you having your babies. I think that’s how women should pull together and support each other.

I think taking your friends, or your sister or niece, to an abortion clinic isn’t the way to help. I’ve met all of these people at clinics as they’re going in, thinking that they’re doing the right thing helping these young women get past the blockade into the clinic. I’ve been involved in crisis pregnancy counselling and offering hospitality to single mums.

I encourage everyone to speak out against this crime, which is against humanity and against women.


Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels.

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  1. Jean Seah 8 January 2022 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Anne! Very logical steps to a pro-life attitude with which the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League would concur:
    God bless you & your family, and your witness to life!

  2. Ben Hutchinson 8 January 2022 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Great article, thanks very much Anne. A properly formed Catholic Worker is an inspirational sight to see for all Catholics as they live out a consistent pro life ethic.

  3. Kaylene Emery 11 January 2022 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    It has only been in the past 2 years that I have gained information and understanding of what actually happens in an abortion, what is actually involved. (long story).
    I have had abortion (s) years ago now but with such things time stands still.
    The abortion industry is real and a great deal of money changes hands yet the majority of people do not know about something which is sold to us as our right.
    Thank you for your article Anne and may He continue to bless you n yours.

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