A priest has described how his mother's "act of faith and love" saved his life as she resisted pressure to abort him following an unplanned pregnancy.
Fr John McInnes, of Our Lady & St Bernadette's in Larbert, gave a poignant testimony during his reflection at our online Pro-Life Stations of the Cross earlier this week (watch the full reflection below - 5 min view).
He said: "72 years ago my natural mother, a young Irish woman, somehow resisted pressure to terminate me - her unplanned and unwanted pregnancy - through what was then the horrific practice of backstreet abortion.
"She registered my birth on the Feast of the Presentation...and it's always felt to me like an act of faith and love by her, for a son she knew she could not keep but whom she wanted to know was loved and was a blessing nevertheless."
He added: "Happily, I was put up for fostering and eventually adopted by a family who, in the saddest of ironies, had themselves just lost a son through miscarriage.
"The rest is history and has informed and guided my own strong pro-life views ever since.
"Such choices and decisions are not as easily made these days against the secular din which promotes abortion as a woman's legal right and where the victim of abortion, the child, has no rights."
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Reflection and Testimony: Fr John McInnes
For any expectant mothers and families among us who have experienced the sudden shock of natural miscarriage, the effects are traumatic, complex and devastating.
A long prayed for, prepared for, joyfully anticipated addition of a child in the family is just gone. A child who can only now be mourned and commended to God.
Abortion, we feel instinctively, is infinitely more shocking and sinister: a deliberate clinical intervention to remove from the womb a human life, leading immediately to his or her death.
For me, for us all I think, there are no sophisticated, subtle or aggressive arguments that can alter these facts.
So the result of every abortion is the same: a human soul with all the potential they can bring as a child of God and a member of our human race, now lost to the world.
The woman's right to choose, is often given as the justification for termination of an unwanted pregnancy, but the nagging question remains: what happens to the child's rights when such choices are being made?
So the termination and premature ending of any human life is what we, through our pro-life acitivities and agencies, focus our energies on challenging, though at the same time offering genuine compassion, support, non-judgmental advice and guidance on the alternative life choices for women who, until that moment, have felt pressurised into having an abortion.
The way of the cross is a sombre and timely reminder of Jesus as that innocent victim of betrayal by his closest friends, as well as enemies, leading to the termination of his own earthly life on the cross.
The cross also stands forever as the sign of his decision to save us by sacrificing his life, forgiving us and offering us a share in his new life. In children's popular adventure stories a cross often marks the place where hidden treasure is to be found.
But there is something greater than children's stories here; Jesus’ cross opens for us the treasury of his mercy and love which we recall and revere every time we cross ourselves.
In the traditions of Lent, especially, we follow the way of the cross this evening as an act of atonement for our sins and those of others in matters of life and death and especially for all afflicted and affected by the sin of abortion.
If you’ll allow me a personal footnote: 72 years ago my natural mother, a young Irish woman, somehow resisted pressure to terminate me - her unplanned and unwanted pregnancy through what was then the horrific practice of backstreet abortion.
She registered my birth on the Feast of the Presentation some weeks later and it's always felt to me like an act of faith and love by her for a son she knew she could not keep but whom she wanted to know was loved and was a blessing nevertheless.
Happily, I was put up for fostering and eventually adopted by a family who in the saddest of ironies had themselves just lost a son through miscarriage.
The rest is history and has informed and guided my own strong pro-life views ever since. Such choices and decisions are not as easily made these days against the secular din which promotes abortion as a woman's legal right and where the victim of abortion, the child, has no rights.
May God bless and guide us, though, in our pro-life activities on behalf of those who have no voice in protecting their rights to life from womb to tomb, and for their mothers and all families tempted to end a life and are now suffering the long term and often unforeseen consequences of the decision to abort.
The Lord be with you all, in the names of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.