Yesterday I attended the funeral mass of a fellow rescuer – that’s what we called members of Operation Rescue, “the largest peaceful civil disobedience movement in American history.” We would sit and pray in front of abortion “clinics” in numbers sufficient to block the entrance in order to prevent the deaths of unborn children scheduled to the aborted. Since we refused to move, we had to be carried (or dragged) away. As our numbers increased the punishments became harsher, and many rescuers spent weeks and months locked up for their trouble. Jim, quiet, gentle, loving, totally harmless, was such a man. God rest his soul.

It came to mind during the mass that the next day was Mothers’ Day, and that I had written a poem on Mothers’ Day in 1992 when I was in the Erie County Jail in Buffalo NY. Though I’m not much of a poet, I offer what I wrote that day in memory of and as a tribute to those who cared enough about the unborn to lay down their lives (after a fashion) for the most helpless and vulnerable among us.

TO THE 46 WOMEN STILL IN THE ERIE COUNTY JAIL

ON MOTHERS’ DAY, MAY 10, 1992

Ladies, I was going to die,
To be snatched alive from Mommy’s womb,
But you were there to render help
And saved me from prenatal doom.

Because of you I’ll see the sun;
Because of you, I’ll do my thing.
Because of you, I’ll laugh and run
And dance, and love, and cry, and sing.

So weep not, ladies, in your cells,
Through your travail you’ve given life,
Because of you a baby lives,
Born of your labor and your strife.

It’s good to know that love still reigns–
It is your love that sets me free.
In your prison, through you pains,
All of you have mothered me.

Thank you,

Your child.

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Proverbs 24:11-12.