p. Janet Morana, founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, spoke at the College as part of Students for Life’s annual Pro-Life Week. Morana has been active in the pro-life movement for 18 years, and in 2002 she and Georgette Forney decided to refocus the pro-life movement, making it more woman-centered. The result of this change was the development of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Rather than focusing on politics, Silent No More centers on post-abortive women who, until now, have been silent. But, “it’s time that we hear those voices,” said Morana before putting in a video of Silent No More members giving testimonials.
p. Forney and Morana contacted women who wanted to share their experiences about the pain of abortion through pregnancy resource centers, which often offer post-abortive counseling. During the March of Life in 2003, these women gave candlelight testimonials about their abortions and the healing process. According to Morana, the campaign was flooded with volunteers.
In the video, women spoke of the silence that surrounds abortion and the strength they found in a group where that silence was broken. “All of us were hurting, but no one was talking about it … abortion is not the solution,” one woman said.
p. Women also spoke of many pressures they faced that led them to believe that abortion was their only choice. Each woman who spoke was surrounded by women holding signs that read “women do regret abortions” and “I regret my abortion.” Men spoke about how abortion affected them, wishing that they had been more supportive when their child’s mother needed them. Finally, the president of Priests for Life relayed a message of love, saying, “we who oppose abortion do not oppose those who have abortions.”
p. After the video, Morana continued to speak about the purpose of the campaign. One of the objectives is to make abortion “unthinkable” by reaching out to girls considering abortions with women who can say “I’ve been there.” Their message runs counter to the belief that women need abortion. “Abortion is not good for women,” said Morana, citing the abortion-breast cancer link, women who die or have complications from abortion and the lack of basic medical regulations in abortion clinics. She also named three “founders” of legalized abortion: Norma McCorvey (Roe in Roe v. Wade), Sandra Cano (Doe in Doe v. Bolton) and Dr. Bernard Nathanson (called the “founder of the abortion industry”) who all became pro-life.
p. During the question-and-answer session, Morana answered a question that is often posed to pro-life advocates: are pro-life people pro-birth because they stop caring once the child is born? In response, she described a ministry in New York called Good Counsel Homes, which assists mothers in schooling, job training and placement and finding permanent housing. Locally, women can contact one of two pregnancy care centers for assistance, CareNet (1-800-395-HELP) and Catholic Charities (757-220-3252).
p. Morana represents an important shift in the pro-life movement, which counters the argument that pro-lifers are anti-woman by embracing the experiences of women as the center of pro-life work. It keeps people from feeling torn between the choice of caring for women or for children. This holistic approach leads to common ground between the pro-life and pro-choice sides, arguing that women’s rights and physical and psychological well-being should be protected.
p. Beth Zagrobelny, the Public Affairs Officer of Students for Life, is a sophomore at the College.