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Apostolic Movement

Interview with a woman who asserts life

By: Heinrich Brehm

We are talking about a young woman of the Schoenstatt Movement who has found her apostolate as someone who asserts life.

She wishes to remain anonymous in the interview, because those who oppose protecting the life of the unborn child in a mother’s womb often react radically with smear campaigns against people like her. In the interview with she makes clear what is important to her.

You have years of experience and contact with pregnant women in need. And you emphasize your Christian-based values. Would you describe yourself as a pro-life activist?

That is a passionate question. Actually, I do not call myself that and I find the term a bit distracting.  There are very extreme tendencies among the so-called pro-lifers, and I don’t identify with them.

Unborn life is important to me. For me, it starts from the moment the egg and the sperm fuse. It is a miracle, life starts at that moment and, consequently, is worth protecting. Unborn life needs advocates, a voice, because a child in the womb cannot yet use its own voice.

Is it not too one-sided to consider “only” unborn life?

Some pro-lifers only look at the unborn child and not at the pregnant woman, sometimes even condemning and moralizing exclusively. That is not my attitude. In my opinion, I can only see the mother and the child together. I make this comparison: in Schoenstatt we have a relationship with the Virgin Mary, and we can feel her deep bond to her Son. We believe and experience that She leads to Christ. It is a heart-to-heart bond, something deeply human.

By the way, many pregnant women feel and know this connection with their child and talk about it. That’s why they don’t usually make a decision lightly.

How would you describe yourself then?

I consider myself a life-affirming person.

What do you mean by that? What do you mean by those words?

I assert life – in its entirety. The life of the child and the life of the woman. I assert life with its ups and downs, with joy and suffering. In this sense, I also acknowledge the situations of conflict in which many women find themselves. I do not want to paint a black-and-white picture, but rather look at and appreciate life in all its colors and facets. Paradise is elsewhere.

When I meet pregnant women in need, there are many things they carry with them in terms of concerns and suffering. I see that and take it seriously. The women themselves are often in a state of inner turmoil and the child itself is not the problem, but many other things surrounding it, for example, a lack of a school diploma or professional qualifications, a dire financial situation, excessive expectations, lack of support in her environment, partner problems, etc. Together with the woman, I examine what could help her, especially in the long term. We analyze what fits her convictions and how to remove some of the hurdles she finds on her way.

So you affirm the situation of the pregnant woman and the child…

Yes, I assert life, but I do not simply abandon myself to life, but rather look for sustainable and coherent solutions and possibilities. I take life in my hands, so to speak. I believe that a pregnant woman who is distraught has the right to receive help and support to deal with her conflict and take back the reins of her life. Sometimes a listening ear is what she needs. Sometimes practical help is necessary. And sometimes it takes a great deal of support that extends to many areas of life. Only when all the obstacles have been removed from the path, there is the possibility of being able to choose freely from within.

Regarding the political aspect, what do you find most difficult?

It is easy to skim read claims of “decriminalization of termination of pregnancy” or, for example, “reproductive health” if you are not more familiar with the terminology. This can quickly become misleading. There are often ideological thought patterns behind this, a feminism that only sees women’s lives as worth living. And it is all about the right to an abortion, so to speak, at any time.

And what does this so-called freedom do to a pregnant woman?

One example: at 12 weeks, many pregnant women feel pressured. Among other things, because their environment can no longer urge them to have an abortion, or because the decision has been made. If the controversial sections are deleted, some pregnant women could still be pressured until their due date to decide to have an abortion after all. They cannot have inner freedom because of this. Women are under a lot of pressure. The pressure is constricting. On the other hand, there should be as many options as possible so that women can breathe again and consider a life with a child possible and feasible.

Being a Christian and being politically correct, how does it all fit together for you?

I live in this world and in this society since God has given me life in this world. At the same time, I have been given a mission. For me, it is part of my Christianity to help shape social issues. Whether it is how we treat our Earth, how we stand for justice and peace, or how we shape the way we live together.

My roots, my faith, are my foundation. It is my life. I believe that as Christians we must keep our eyes open and be aware of what moves society.

Then freedom comes into play: everyone must find himself: where do I get involved and how: according to my own skills and vocation. As Christians, our opinions are different, because we are simply different people. But I believe that there are values that we can and must defend. Therefore, I would like to draw attention to this issue. I would like to draw attention to the fact that this is about life itself.

What possibilities do you see for yourself, in terms of policy?

I will tell you what I did regarding my concern: I have signed a petition. I cannot and will not quietly accept what is currently happening. I want to at least make something clear with my signature: Wait a minute, I don’t think it is better for pregnant women to have the option to have an abortion until just before their due date. I do not support these currents and that is why I want to defend the children who are already alive in their mother’s womb.

One final question: What kind of world do you want, regarding the issue of protecting of life?

That Christians do not forget our God-given dignity and thus defend a dignified life from its very beginning and until death. That girls and women be strong individuals with the right to receive help, also and especially during a pregnancy conflict. I wish for less typecasting and condemnation and more open hearts. I wish for a child- and family-friendly society in which having children is not planned to the extreme, and if things turn out differently, that the house of cards does not collapse. I wish for greater support for families and single mothers – I wish for all children to be welcome!

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