|How did we get here?|
“What’s the number reason women have abortions?”
The question was asked by Development Director Steve today at Centro Tepeyac, a Catholic Women’s Center where I work part-time and where I will soon be bringing a men’s ministry component to. He was asking one of our visitors who works for Rachel’sVineyard, a ministry that provides retreats for healing post-abortive women. “Is it out of convenience?” he asked.
“The number one reason,” she said, “is that these women have a lack of respect and dignity for themselves, so that they feel unworthy to have a child.”
Mariana, the director of Centro Tepeyac who counsels many women as well added, “It’s that, and also abandonment. These women have suffered abandonment in their lives, could be from someone like a father, but it's especially from their boyfriend or lover.”
Lack of self-respect, self-dignity. Abandonment.
If any of us really want to save babies, we have to focus our attention on the woman first. The questions I want to propose out there is what efforts are we doing to guide women towards gaining self-respect, self-dignity? Where are our efforts in teaching men responsibility, that manning up means to be accountable for our actions, not running away from our problems? Where are our efforts in teaching young people the foresight that minutes of pleasurable interaction can cause a lifetime of undesirable consequence? Where are our efforts in teaching young men and women another way to love, a love that is so powerful that it will wait until they’re ready to bring a child into the world, a love that understands that the healthiest way to do that is within the context of a loving marriage?
This is one of the reasons I believe in the mission of and love working at Centro Tepeyac. The counselors treat one person first: the woman. They listen to the stories, the history, and affirm them with a positive message that they are not alone, and they have positive alternatives. On top of counseling, they have a chastity program called “Girl Talk” where young women can get together in groups with one of our counselors and talk about the aspects of what positive love and feminine identity can look like in today’s society. What has happened though, is that many boyfriends accompany these young women when they come to the center, and often have no one to talk to. That’s where I come in. To compliment “Girl Talk,” we implemented a new program called “Guy Talk,” where guys can talk in a safe place about our masculine identity and role and what it can look in the context of dating and sex.
But I won’t pretend we have all the answers to the questions out there. What else are our efforts? What do you think? Where are we?