October 26 is Respect Life Sunday, initiated by Archbishop Hickey to celebrate the sanctity of all human life and promote a culture of life and love in our society.
The theme for this year, “Forget not Love,” is a reminder for those who have not experienced abortion to reach out with love and compassion to the women and men in our communities impacted by abortion.
Statistics indicate that by the age of 40, one in four women have experienced at least one abortion and for the next generation it will be one in three.
Growing international research is linking induced abortion to increased rates of psychiatric illness, depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and premature death in the categories of suicide, accident, homicide and natural causes.
Put simply, there are many women and men grieving and traumatised by their abortion experience.
Yet Jesus Himself said “whatever you do to the least of mine you do to me.” As people of life we know this includes the unborn. But we must never forget that it also includes those who have experienced abortion.
Our actions and words must always give hope and reflect Jesus’ deep love for our wounded mothers and fathers.
There are many parents who grieve and suffer because their children’s death and we need to be sensitive to these parents who suffer such deep grief regardless of that stage of grief they are in, whether isolated and despairing, in denial or full of anger.
When we speak of abortion it is important to speak with compassion and care to the parents of the unborn, just as we would to any parent who has lost a child.
We must always be aware of the pressures our society puts on women and couples not to give birth to their children.
Our gentle words can give hope. When we speak with compassion and care, we reach out, we promote healing. Simply, we can “forget not love” when discussing abortion.
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