Friday, February 4, 2011

Creative Spy Work

I'm a spy...yes, you read that correctly. As a part of my pro-life 'vocation' I go into stealth mode and comment/post on sites that are pro-abortion. It's tricky business and if you're not careful you will soon be spotted and blocked. I got this idea from my daughter, Erika, who saw the suggestion on the wall of one of the pro-life organizations we follow.

The pro-life movement is in my see, I was in high school when the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision was being debated. As a part of one of my classes this topic was suggested by the teacher and I leaped at the chance to defend life. Maybe my personal history had something to do with the fervor of my enthusiasm but that's a story for another day. The point is, that once I did the research - being the over achiever that I am - I was hooked on the topic. Not only did I win the debate, I began to write Letters to the Editor in our local newspaper. Surprisingly this led to even more immersion into the pro-life arena.

Rick and I married while I was still in high school (at the tender ages of 18 and 17). I completed my college degree and walked the stage with our 1 year old son watching from his father's arms. The next few years were spent having more babies and being a young family.

Then in 1993 the impact of all of those letters in the paper came to fruition. I walked into the local Right to Life office, on a whim, to suggest something about bumper stickers. When I walked out, I had been offered a job as their very first Executive Director! My mother had just been diagnosed with a terminal recurrence of breast cancer and I was hesitant that this was the right time for such a demanding job...going from stay-at-home mom to pro-life advocate.

My mother, in her wisdom and charity said to me, ''honey, take the job, it's important. I don't want to give you up but for this I will!''.

So I took the job and still managed to be with Mom daily as she spent her final days on this earth over the next few months. I was touched by the kindness shown to me by these pro-life folks, all of whom I had just met, when they drove 30 miles to attend my mother's funeral - even sharing words of comfort at the wake.

The next several years were spent indoctrinating my children to be pro-life citizens as well. By the time he was 3, Mark could identify political yard signs for those who 'like babies' and those who 'don't like babies'. Erika and Rowan made posters and stood in witness for life. We attended protests, rallies, banquets, and political events. This was our shared family hobby!

As the years passed by, I stepped down from the Executive Director position but my zeal never wavered. When I homeschooled our youngest, I was the instigator of many a last minute rally or protest.

Husbands deadpanned, ''so where are you going to protest today'', when I called their wives.

Other homeschooled kids laughed with glee when their moms would begin those spirited phone calls for our unofficial phone tree.

We once protested an event, held at a Catholic parish hall, for a pro-abortion candidate and managed to have 60 - 70 in attendance including their Parish Priest! This happened in a matter of three hours from the time I noticed the article in the paper! That day, we had the opportunity to speak with a young girl, straight out of Catholic school, who didn't know that her religion prohibits abortion for any reason. She didn't want to listen at first, but with our Catechism in hand and some gentle conversation, we hoped we had made a difference - her uncle was the candidate!

I've languished for a while now. Right before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I stepped down from my second term as Executive Director of Right to Life of Owensboro. When cancer comes into your life, everything else (except Faith) takes a back the past 5 years have been spent in surgery, chemo, and mental/physical healing. Then came the grandbabies and I dove in, head-first, into being their daytime caregiver (all 5 of them) while their parents worked.

Now the new evangelization has found it's way into my life and Facebook is my medium of choice. I am able to 'go out in the trenches' and do pro-life work from my desk. As moderator of two pro-life organizations' fan pages, I am able to touch many lives with valuable, life-affirming information. Events can be planned and organized. The many fans of Right to Life of Owensboro and hopefully soon the Gospel of Life Committee - Owensboro Diocese, are willing partners in spreading the pro-life news.

There's another aspect, that I've discovered lately. Going to where the pro-abortion people converse and insinuating myself just enough to gain a hearing occasionally. It's a dirty business sometimes and it's not for the feint of heart but it's something that is second nature to me. I still love to debate and my age has seasoned me from being a caustic and sarcastic know-it-all to a more tempered albeit sometimes feverish conversationalist.

My latest foray is to the pages of Planned Parenthood. Taking an online suggestion and running with it, I have 'liked' the Planned Parenthood fan page on Facebook! For the past few days I have been having conversations with rabidly pro-abortion women and men. They have called me names and questioned my intelligence and facts but some have also, surprisingly, come to my defense.

The post that has gained the most support is about how our 28 year old daughter, 20 weeks into pregnancy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX came onto our radar since it was the institution to which I went after my diagnosis. The good news is that she was able to undergo chemotherapy while maintaining her pregnancy even though no local doctors where even vaguely aware of this option.

I know that at least one woman was touched by my post and she bravely went against popular opinion (many times) to defend my right to be on the Planned Parenthood wall. She had experienced cancer in her family and knew how devastating it can be. I also think that she recognized the value of what I was posting.

My proudest moment was when she said, ''I'm going to save the link you posted, Birgit. Cancer occurs much more frequently now in younger generations than it used to. Your link can (and probably has) definitely come in handy and (will) provide hope for a number of women (and men). :)

The above is my sole 'success story' in my spy mode, but just as we, in the pro-life movement, seldom have the chance to meet that babies we've saved...we also don't see the pro-life seeds we may have planted. That's where Faith comes in, and I have all of the faith in the world that I'm doing a corporal work of mercy. There may someday be a baby out there whose mother was touched by something said on a Planned Parenthood site. That thought is what keeps Hope alive!

''“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” -- Jeremiah 1:5