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Abortion, Ancestry and the Ghost Generations

November 27, AD2016

pregnancyAbortion was the forefront in this election cycle.  We had a candidate who openly supported it through the ninth month, and who wanted us to pay for abortion.

The Ghost Generation

As Catholics, we know abortion is an intrinsic evil.  But there is a question I wonder if we ever ask ourselves.  What about the missing people?  We are now in the era that the children who were aborted in the 1970’s and 1980’s would be having their own children, and grandchildren.  They are the ghost generation.  I often think about the fact that if each of us looked into our own ancestral line, we would likely find a story that would, if it happened today, have ended up with the choice of abortion.

For me, I didn’t have to look back very far.  My story starts with my grandmother. When my Grandmother was in her 60’s she found out she was adopted. Her mother, the woman who raised her, never told her she was adopted and the father she thought died in a war, may never have actually existed. What she did find out was that she was born with a different name than the one she had, and that the woman who she thought was her mother was not. Many of my family members have tried to investigate her ancestry, and have pieced together some scenarios, but due to the death of the woman who raised my Grandmother as her own, and a lack of the birth records, we will perhaps never know the full truth.

Shame Breeds Secrecy

The thought that has struck me time and again is that because her birth seemed so shrouded in secrecy, there must have been shame attached to it. In today’s day and age that kind of shame, the kind that breeds secrecy like that, would make a woman abortion minded. Some of the scenarios that I have been told that surround my Grandmother’s arrival on this earth are scenarios today where people would have an abortion. Whatever the case, I can’t help but think if my Great-Grandmother had been pregnant today, she may have been a woman at huge risk for aborting her child. That my Grandmother lived, I can perhaps attribute to the fact that the LAW protected her life. I often think about this. That if abortion had been acceptable back then, I may not exist. Though I know there was probably much suffering surrounding the birth of my Grandmother, the joy that was brought forth into the world by her and her family line has been boundless. There is no shame in that.

The impact of this on my family personally is profound. My grandmother, with her murky story of coming into existence, had 12 children. I believe there are at least 54 grandchildren, and many, many more great-grandchildren. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, firemen, policemen, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. If my grandmother had been aborted there are literally now hundreds of us who would not exist.

I was once told online that if my ancestor had been aborted, I wouldn’t be around “to give an (expletive),” so I should just be pro-abortion. That statement presupposes that my life has no meaning, that my brother and sisters, that my cousins, my nieces and my nephews, we don’t matter to the world. I know for a fact that is not true. We matter. We matter to those who love us, to those whose lives we have impacted and most importantly to God, who knew us before He formed us in the womb. Every life is precious. The impact of abortion goes far beyond mother and child, it impacts generations, generations that are lost.

My church has always stood up against abortion, and I knew intellectually, that a fetus (which is just Latin for offspring) is a baby. I was always against abortion. But after learning this, it became deeply personal.

I also came to realize that whoever my great grandmother was, she must have endured great suffering. I am forever grateful that the law protected my grandmother. I am also grateful to my great grandmother for the suffering and sacrifice she may have endured to give birth to my grandmother.

Abortion Today

I look at our society today, and I am appalled that the best we can do to help women today in dire circumstances is to tell them to kill their child so their life can go back to “normal.” I have had many conversations with people over abortion. There are many kind, wonderful, really good people, who think abortion is acceptable. We have taught our society that it is okay to kill our children, and good people have accepted this or remained apathetic toward the issue. If you have ever watched an abortion, you know it is the killing of a person. Most have never taken the time to watch one, which can easily be done online. Many abortions are performed on Christians. As a Christian, we should be helping these women in need to find a better way. We should not shame them for their sin, God forgives those who ask forgiveness. If we as Christians stood up every day and said no! Enough! We will not kill our children! We will help those in need! Abortion would cease to exist. Instead, we judge, we justify, we kill.

One day, after a particularly distressing conversation I had about abortion, I went to see Dr. Peter Kreeft speak. The topic of abortion came up. I expressed my dismay that good people just accept this as okay, and that I had gotten in a fight about it and felt I would be ostracized for standing up for the unborn. He told me, “Congratulations, you have been hit by the splinters of the Cross.” All I could think is the biggest splinters were carried by my Great Grandmother, whoever she is, who, though she may not have wanted to, said yes to the life that God created, and birthed generations. Generations who are part of history and have made a significant impact on the world.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

My name is Susan Skinner and I am a lifelong Catholic. I attended all Catholic schools including the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

I am a mother to 3 children and a wonderful husband and we now reside in the South. I love living in the South.

Though I have always identified as Catholic, it was the murder of my friend in 2010 that brought a transforming change to my heart and made me a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I now make it my mission to spread His Love and Good News everywhere I go. Jesus isn’t just someone we should just know about, He is someone we should KNOW, personally. He has made me new. I am now the Adult RCIA and Faith Formation Coordinator of a Catholic Church where I live and I know God has brought me to where I am. I am nothing without him.

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  • Adrian Johnson

    I have an agnostic cousin who is an MD, a dermatologist; however he told me he is proud to have performed 13 abortions, all on raped girls 11-13 years old.
    He of course hates me for saying that they should bear these children (usually by Caesarian section) and I have no argument he considers logical enough to respect for allowing these pregnancies to go to term. Of course he’s not going to listen anyway; but suppose he was truly openminded: What’s the best argument for letting a raped 12 year old have a baby ?

    • james

      I would think the first order is to ask the child if they want to have a child.

  • Susan, you have a gentle but powerful voice. I hope that many will share your message. Thank you.

  • james

    Interesting, this ‘what if’ scenario, that I truly enjoyed; so much that it impelled me to construct a ‘ what if ‘ universe in response. Being a man requires me to attempt a ying take on a yang purview of life. First, I must try to place myself in the mind of a woman contemplating abortion and run through the tortured thought process that ends at a PP clinic. My composite self must be a young minority and high school educated who is somewhat unsupported by family, friends and bereft of wise counsel. I am also scared, unsure and more afraid of one future than another. No matter what role religion plays or not in my life it
    has not influenced me enough to be as self sacrificing as the ideals envisioned by pro lifers. What I do
    see is a future so radically altered by one decision that this baby is not unlike being born into a bottom
    of the ninth inning, two outs, two strikes and no balls with no one on base. This may be further acerbated
    by the fact that I don’t know who the father is, or the dad is a low life who will not support or marry me.
    Now, I can take on the author and play devil’s advocate with some of her astute observations. Without a
    doubt I can see in her mind that all the progeny have zero chance of losing their souls in hell. If this were
    not so and revealed to her would she be self sacrificing enough to forego a family line ? If the author were to befriend a mother-to-be who happened to be carry a boy to be named Adolph and the mother expressed doubts about having the child , would the author, if knowing, suffer life long excruciating guilt over having talked the mom out of her doubt ? Would she remain silent and let the chips fall where they may ? If the author knew that a child would grow up and devastate her family in myriads of tragic ways would she breathe a sigh of relief by a last minute decision that averted this future ? All good and hard, necessary hypotheticals that should make one squirm. But I would never leave any of us in this horrid limbo as the answer and solution to abortion is on a much easier path to follow. It isn’t even a half leap
    to know that science will soon, with ease and without intrusion be able to detect in an instant whether a woman is fertile or not – and knowing that there is no way (barring assault) anyone would ever be able to justify abortion again. Nor would they want it.

  • Guy McClung

    Dear Susan S, This is superb. Someday – actually beyond time – you and your family will know more of the truth about the love that brought you all here.

    These “what if” questions you raise are really very real. What if there were 60,000,000 more Americans? I like to imagine all the fullofwonder acts of virtue and love and kindness they would have done – and all the children they would have, ad infinitum.

    “What if” those 200,000,000 girls worldwide had lived instead of being killed simply because they were little girls? What if those now of voting age of the 30,000,000 Black and Hispanic babies murdered here had voted this month? “What if” we have aborted 27 new Mother Teresas in the name of freedom in the USA? “What if” we killed the woman who would have cured cancer and the man who would have spearheaded world peace?

    I am not mistaken in saying “we killed.” As Americans we are all in this together. “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself, not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    God knows the numbers far better than we do. And He knows, although some ostracized you, that you stood up and, just like St Dismas in the face of the power of Rome, with the splinters of his own cross sticking in him, and knowing he would die soon, you have proclaimed Jesus as Lord , because of what you did there is no doubt Jesus will remember you when you approach His kingdom – and there will be a chorus of little voices around Him saying “Let Susan in here now to play with us, she is our friend.”

    Please write more. Thank you.
    Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas