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Once inside Planned Parenthood, now pro-life advocate

Posted By October 11, 2011 | 1:03 pm | Local

By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

FITCHBURG – Catherine Adair, who runs the Respect Life Ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, once worked at Planned Parenthood.
Back then, she viewed the people who stood outside the clinic, holding signs and praying the rosary, as “a bunch of nuts.”
“I thought that when they held up those signs they were crazy,” she said. “We just didn’t get it.”
Mrs. Adair had been trained to think the “products of conception” were just bits of tissue, and that she was helping women live better lives.
Growing up, she was a baptized Catholic who, as a young girl, wanted to be a nun. But religion wasn’t emphasized in her home.
“We were Catholic, sort of,” she told the group of pro-life advocates who came to St. Francis last Saturday to hear her speak.
In college, Mrs. Adair, who now lives in Ashburnham, became pregnant by the man who later became her husband.
Abortion was presented as the only alternative. She was reassured that “women have the right to choose.”
Her family doctor took it upon himself to book the appointment for her abortion. All she heard was, “You’ve got to do it now, you’re already 11 weeks.”
“I didn’t even have time to think about it,” she said, adding, “They made the appointment for me and my decision was made.”
Under general anesthesia, Mrs. Adair doesn’t remember the procedure. But the aftermath was devastating.
“I came out (of the procedure room) and burst into tears,” she said. “I just felt so empty, so alone.”
“What they don’t tell you is the lifetime of sadness, of emptiness that doesn’t go away,” she stated.
Mrs. Adair adopted a copy mechanism, which included burying the incident and vowing to become “the world’s greatest feminist.”
She received a degree in women’s studies, and marched in Washington, D.C. to support abortion on demand.
“I just bought the whole thing hook, line and sinker,” she explained.
She also developed a dislike for pro-lifers, and what they stood for. “I feel like I turned around that anger and turned it around on the people who are anti-abortion.”
“How can they take away our rights?” she recalls asking herself. “How can they take away our choice?”
She started working at Planned Parenthood in Brookline in the belief she was helping women.
“I thought I was furthering the cause,” she said. “I thought that what I was doing was good.”
Even with that mindset, however, some aspects of her job struck her as odd, even back then.
There was the fact that the overwhelming majority of the women she saw walk through the door chose abortion over other alternatives. Mrs. Adair said the first thing that happened, when someone was checked in, was the exchange of currency.
“The first thing we do is take their money,” she recounted. “The first thing they’re doing is they’re paying for abortion.”
Mrs. Adair, who was an abortion “counselor,” said she was given a white coat to wear, despite the fact she had no medical training “whatsoever.”
She remembers taking blood pressure and measuring pulse rates, but wasn’t “counseling them about what their other choices are.”
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts could not be reached for comment.
Mrs. Adair, however, had a turning point. She filled in for another employee who assisted with second trimester abortions. That’s when she saw a medical instrument alongside a jar. Inside the jar were pieces of a baby.
That’s when she said, a “huge lie was just exposed.”
She also had nowhere to turn. Her fellow feminists wouldn’t understand. And she still viewed the protesters as “the crazy people out there with those signs and their rosaries.”
“My whole world was sort of turned upside down, and I had nowhere to go,” she recalled. “Pretty soon after that I was so angry.”
But this propelled Mrs. Adair to quit Planned Parenthood. She married her college boyfriend and had children, who were baptized.
Mrs. Adair, at her husband’s urging, began attending Sunday Mass.
“The more I started going to Mass, the more I wanted something that other people had,” she said. “That something was Jesus.”
It took her several tries to gather the courage to go to confession. She remembers entering the church and not being able to confess her sins for fear of being judged.
But, finally she made her confession.
“He (the priest) was so compassionate and so loving and he gave me absolution and said, “I want you to pray the Luminous Mysteries.”
Since then, said Mrs. Adair, “I just started praying the rosary everyday.”
Mrs. Adair applauds the efforts of groups such as Project Rachel, which help women who’ve had abortions. She said it took her awhile to actually feel as if God has forgiven her.
She urges other people to take action against abortion. And to pray, for the unborn and for those who work in the abortion industry.
“Somebody had to be praying for me,” she said. “I was really out there. I think we have to remember that’s (prayer) our weapon.”