Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Sep
  • 27

40 Days to save babies, save women

Posted By September 27, 2013 | 11:09 am | Featured Article #3
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By Tanya Connor

GRAFTON – “This is Eleanor.”
Cori M. Connor-Morse stopped sharing her pain-wracked, grace-filled, story to show a baby’s picture. Eleanor was born Sept. 11, 2012, she told listeners, thanks to ordinary people like them praying outside an abortion clinic.
Thirty years ago Mrs. Connor-Morse was relieved not to find such people outside such a facility.
Now she is director of the Lynn 40 Days for Life campaign to end abortion. Wednesday she spoke for the Worcester campaign’s kickoff at St. James Parish Center.
The international campaign, held twice a year, features 40 days of peaceful, prayerful vigil by abortion clinics. In Worcester, people are asked to pray outside Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, 470 Pleasant St.
“Thirty years ago … I was pregnant,” Mrs. Connor-Morse said. “I was 20 years old, married, and a junior at Salem State.  I was a Catholic by birth, but had lost my faith years before and became an ardent atheist.  I was determined to make a statement when I chose to abort my child:  I would be the first one in my family to graduate from college, I would be a career woman and not live my mother’s life by having children too young.”
When she arrived for the abortion, she was relieved there were no “anti-abortion crazies” there, she said. Now she wonders, “What if I wanted someone … to show me a sign to not have the abortion?”
She broadened the question.
“What if some young mother is looking for that same kind of sign right now – or over the coming 40 Days? What if she drives to the abortion clinic, and she sees people holding signs that they are praying for her to not to go through with this choice that will alter her life and her child’s life and every generation to follow?
“That … really happened.  February 29, 2012, at the beginning of 40 Days, a young couple drove to the clinic in Lynn and turned their car around. They went back to the crisis pregnancy center in Revere and told the director, Joanne, that they saw all the people praying and they couldn’t go through with it.”
They were Eleanor’s parents.
“Please remember this miraculous and mischievous face when you are lonely, discouraged, bored or doubtful as you pace awkwardly or stand stiffly in your 40 Days role,” Mrs. Connor-Morse said. “You in Worcester have a documented, miraculous 12 babies saved during your 40 Days for Life campaigns.
“One baby is worth all of this effort … Eleanor is enough to keep me and everyone in our campaign coming back forever.”
Mrs. Connor-Morse told how she feels about not saving her own baby.
“I would give up … my beautiful home, career, CPA license, life savings,” she said. “I would scrub floors every day of my life if I could go back and be a mother to my child for just five minutes.  So he would know me.  So I would know him.  Children are … from our Creator.  My child was a miraculous gift that I rejected callously and arrogantly.”
Mrs. Connor-Morse said her sister Caren, who had had an abortion, was the only one who tried to talk her out of having one. Within four years Caren, 28, died childless, from breast cancer.
“The tragedy of abortion leads to further tragedies of divorce, promiscuity, mental illness, infertility, addictions, eating disorders, despair, and, many believe, breast cancer,” Mrs. Connor-Morse said. “So far, I’ve been spared the addictions and the breast cancer.”
But she’s suffered many other things.
“The clinic personnel wouldn’t give me general anesthesia … because of my heart,” she said. “So I was awake … and that much more terrified. … Every ugly sight, every tragic sound and every excruciating pain from the abortion became etched in my memory …
“During the procedure, I changed my mind.  There was an instant when it became clear that what I was doing was very wrong …  I begged the doctor to stop. … The sobs and moaning from every other women in the recovery room were unnerving and served to confirm what I now know to be the truth.
“I became very depressed. … I had panic attacks.  I frequently existed in despair – despair that led me to try to take my own life on many occasions. …
“I saw doctors and therapists for years – secular therapists who would never acknowledge that my abortion had been so wrong and so detrimental to me – and who tried to pacify me with statements like, ‘You’ll have other children,’ ‘You didn’t really want children anyway, did you?’ ‘Buy a vacation home and enjoy your freedom.’ … None of that helped me to heal … And so I never felt worthy of another child.  What kind of mother could I possibly be if I didn’t protect the life of the one that was given to me?
“I was able to put on a happy face and go to work most days –  work that I resented because of all that I had given up to have a career.  … I got divorced.  I dated so many men I couldn’t count them.  We didn’t use the term ‘hookup’ … but that’s exactly what I did. … I got married again.  And divorced again.  I couldn’t seem to get anything right.”
In 1998 she met Steve and married him in a civil ceremony in 2001, she said. She said he loved her for who she is, with a love she believes started to bring her back to God.
She spoke of receiving miracles since reconciling with God, and told listeners 40 Days is a vehicle for God to produce miracles through them. She urged them not to fear if a girl needs to talk; the response, “We can help,” means the Trinity.
The local campaign starts at 7 a.m. Wednesday across from Planned Parenthood’s parking lot at 15 Dewey St., Worcester.         A candlelight vigil is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday across from clinic’s front, 470 Pleasant St.
Bishop McManus is to celebrate Mass for 40 Days at 11 a.m. Oct. 17 at Blessed Sacrament Church, 555 Pleasant St., then lead a Eucharistic procession around Planned Parenthood.
Sandra Kucharski, communications coordinator, said a visible presence outside the clinic can change people’s minds about abortion, and prayers at home are also important.
For  more information or to volunteer see www.40daysforlife.com/worcester or call Lee Crowley at 508-887-1064.