You see, I was three months pregnant.
That March, I had gone—alone—to a local woman’s clinic to take a test. The results were positive, and I was so numb I almost didn’t grasp what the nurse was getting at when she assured me I had “other options.” What did “other options” mean? And what kind of world is it that defines compassion as telling a young woman who has just learned she is carrying life inside her that she has the option to destroy it?
When I returned to campus, I ran to the Grotto. I was confused and full of conflicting emotions. But I knew this: No amount of shame or embarrassment would ever lead me to get rid of my baby. Of all women, Our Lady could surely feel pity for an unplanned pregnancy. I recalled her surrendered love to God’s invitation to become the home of the Incarnate Word. “Let it be done to me according to thy word,” she had said. In my hour of need, on my knees, I asked Mary for courage and strength. And she did not disappoint.
My boyfriend was a different story. He was also a Notre Dame senior. When I told him that he was to be a father, he tried to pressure me into having an abortion. Like so many women in similar circumstances, I found out the kind of man the father of my child was at precisely the moment I needed him most. “All that talk about abortion is just dining-room talk,” he said. “When it’s really you in the situation, it’s different. I will drive you to Chicago and pay for a good doctor.”
I tried telling him this was not an option. He said he was pro-choice. I responded by informing him that my choice was life. And I learned, as so many pregnant women have before and since, that life is the one choice that pro-choicers won’t support.
Still, I count myself lucky. I was raised by a mom and dad who marched for life—and who walked the walk when I needed them. However much I may not have wanted to embarrass them with my pregnancy, amid my troubles I always knew I had a priceless gift: a family that would welcome into their hearts the life that God had put in my womb.
It is a common and familiar story. People such as Fr. Jenkins do not understand that while they think they are not stepping on toes and being judgmental, they are not supporting the girls who look to the Church for comfort and support who choose to follow the Church’s teaching.