I’ve said it before; houses have souls.
Not in the strictest sense of the word, but if a house represents the people who’ve dwelled in it, its soul would be keeper of the stories that have unfolded within its walls.
I can’t help but think about the stories that sink deep into the soul of the recently demolished structure at 11 14th St. S. Fargo, site of North Dakota’s first abortion facility.
If any house could be considered haunted, it would be that one.
Recently, several local news stories reminded us of what has gone on in those unhallowed halls, focusing on the protesters who caused havoc and made it difficult for business to go on as usual.
The contentious activity made history in the early 1990s, not only locally but nationally, when CBS’s “60 Minutes” featured the protests on its then-popular Sunday-evening show.
I was a sophomore in college the year our women’s studies professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead showed us the documentary, revealing to my young mind the shocking reality of what the rabble-rousing protesters had been up to just blocks from where we sat in the dark, taking it all in.
At least that’s how it was presented. I don’t remember any challenge to the activity within the facility itself.
I can’t pretend to know what it was like then. What I do know is that over time, our understanding of abortion has become illuminated by technology like ultrasound, and stories of post-abortive women who’ve come forward to share how they still grieve the children whose hearts were beating upon entering that house but ceased beating inside.
I do not condone violence, not to workers at such a facility, not to the women who are facing difficult circumstances, and not to the wee ones who are disregarded.
It took years for me to unwind that documentary and discover the true horror of what took place within the walls of that facility; to see that while the actions of some of the protesters then were out of line, that which they were protesting was worthy of challenge.
Today, with rare exception, those who protest abortion have a much different approach. It is a mindset of love toward all involved, and the hope of help that can prevent scared mothers from choosing the path of regret and heartbreak.
Unfortunately, news articles like the ones recently disseminated tell part of the history, but neglect sharing stories of the women who now understand that ending the life of their children didn’t end in freedom, but in dead children callously discarded.
If we’re going to improve on history and extend true compassion, we need to be honest, not just about the obvious, but also the underlying, ugly parts so many want to avoid.
There’s a better answer to unplanned pregnancy. And for those hurting over past regrets, there is healing (see www.rachelsvineyard.org/, hopeafterabortion.com/ and abortionworker.com).
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on May 19, 2018.]
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