I think as pro-life Catholics we have a tendency to demonize the women who have chosen to have abortions. We can't even imagine choosing to commit such a horrific act and so we imagine these women to be horrible selfish monsters.
I don't know about you, but I have known women who have had abortions. None of them fall into that category. Most of the women I know are the ones who regret their abortion whether they do so publicly or privately. It is usually around the time that they have their first child. That beautiful occasion really seems to drive home the pain of the misguided decision they made. We all know the ploys that abortion centers and PP use to convince these frightened confused women that they are just "taking care of a problem" or just getting rid of a "bunch of cells" not a baby. My heart breaks for these women. They were victims of the abortion just like their children and their hearts usually break when they come to this understanding. Most of them spend the rest of their life beating themselves up and grieving for the child that they lost.
Then, you have those women who come to the same realizations, but the pain is so great that it is unbearable. So, in order to keep this pain from ripping them apart inside, they employ a very common defense mechanism...denial. If they deny that abortion is murder, then they did not commit murder. If they deny that a fetus is actually a child, then nobody was murdered. And they have to defend this belief with everything they've got, including their vote.
Now, does that mean that every Catholic woman who voted for Obama has had or has been party to an abortion? No. I believe that some of them are products of their environment and some of them aren't really Catholic. If I was raised vegetarian and still like to eat vegetables along with my chicken, pork and beef, can I call myself a vegetarian? Well, who's going to stop me? I find it incredibly disappointing to see people who call themselves Catholic supporting anyone who is in favor of abortion because even though our faith education might have been lacking during our formative years, the resources we have available to us now are pretty clear.
But, being a member of the Catholic Church isn't like joining a club or a group even though a lot of people see it that way. It is the gift Our Lord gave us to never be separated from Him. And that gift teaches us to love the sinner, hate the sin. We need to pray for those women still in pain from their abortions. Those women who still hate themselves so much even if all you can see is the hatred they pile on you. Those women who lie to themselves to protect themselves from the unbearable grief they can't bear to feel even though all you hear are the lies they tell others. Those women who probably couldn't even keep reading this far without feeling rage rise up inside of them. Pray that someday they will seek forgiveness for the part they played, true repentance and that they will have the courage to admit that abortion not only hurts babies, but hurts women too.
We can't change minds until we change hearts. We know these women are in pain. We know they are so fragile they can't even admit that pain to themselves. We know our new president-elect wants to sign FOCA as soon as he slides into that oval office. Let's implore St. Martin de Porres to turn his heart to the beauty of these innocent lives. Let's ask our perfect mother in Heaven to soften the hearts of these mothers who hide their pain behind a wall of anger and/or "reason". Let's change hearts and minds by being honest about the damage abortion does to everyone involved.
It is remarkable how even today his influence can still move us toward the things of heaven. Sad to say, not all of us understand these spiritual values as well as we should, nor do we give them a proper place in our lives. Many of us, in fact, strongly attracted by sin, may look upon these values as of little moment, even something of a nuisance, or we ignore them altogether. It is deeply rewarding for men striving for salvation to follow in Christ's footsteps and to obey God's commandments. If only everyone could learn this lesson from the example that Martin gave us.
~from a homily by Blessed Pope John XXIII given at the canonization of Saint Martin de Porres