Linda lives in the West Midlands. She has participated in 40 days for life, March forLife UK and other pro-life activism on the streets of Birmingham to encourage and engage with women and men who have either been through the abortion process, are thinking about going through with an abortion or want to learn about the pro-life movement.
Have you always been pro-life?
If you had asked me when I was a teenager I would have said yes, definitely! We had talks about abortion when I was in school and they would show us slides that we were horrified by – we said we would never do that. I’ve always been pro-life but just not in an active way until recently. I didn’t know there was such thing as “pro-life activists” until I came into the Catholic faith around five years ago.
What made you become proactive in the pro-life movement?
I had an abortion 20 years ago and it was horrific. Abortion was promoted as the “fixer of all things”. I was married with two children, I had put myself through night school and had got a new job and on top of it all we had just moved into a new house. When I became pregnant, I felt like I absolutely couldn’t have the baby and everyone around me focused on the negatives of it, saying “you can’t really afford this right now”. I remember seeing in the ‘Yellow Pages’ directory an advert for Life charity, but I was too afraid to phone, so I booked an appointment for an abortion instead. When I went it was dreadful. I simply switched off my emotions because I was in such fear. It wasn’t until the next day that I realised what I had done, and I collapsed to the floor. I was a mess for about five years. I want other women to know there’s a better option than that pain. No one told me, so I want to be the voice that tells them.
What prolife work do you take part in?
A friend who brought me into the Catholic church told me that she was going outsidethe abortion centre to pray and asked if I wanted to come with her. I decided to go along and when I got there, I thought to myself how different things would have been if someone was standing outside for me when I came to this very clinic – would I have stopped? Would I have run away? Who knows! But it was the first time I could see that people really cared. From going to pray at the abortion centrethat one time, I ended up going to the March forLife and after that I decided to book a regular slot during 40 Days for Life; I’ve been doing it for 3-4 years now.
Did you initially have obstacles / fears about the activism you do?
Surprisingly not. I know a lot of people are afraid of offending others or of others thinking they’re judging them but it’s just not true. You’re there to help, you’re there to pray and it’s completely non-judgmental. People think that we shout ‘murderer’, but that’s simplynot the case, how could I? I’m no one to judge, I’ve been there, I’ve walked it. But I don’t have real fear about it, I’ve never had a lot of negativity from it.
Do you have a favourite moment from taking part in the prolife movement?
I haven’t personally had a moment where a woman has turned around and changed her mind, although I know a lot of people with those amazing stories and I know they do happen! I just have faith that my prayers and me turning up at these events has an impact on other people’s lives. I feel that it is something I have to do, it’s something I believe in and it’s something I have personal experience in. If a woman wants to talk, I can speak to them from the perspective of someone who knows how they might feel.
What would you say to someone who is pro-life by belief but has never been active?
I feel like it is a very little ask, merely to spend an hour a week, praying and helping people the best way we can. I’m just an ordinary person – If I can do it, anyone can, and I believe we all should. You have to stand up for it. Start by coming to the March for Life once a year, it’s important to get involved however you can. I know people’s excuse is that they don’t want to offend someone who has had an abortion, but I’d say ‘never be afraid to talk to someone considering an abortion’, if they’re anything like I was, they’re just waiting for you to bring up the subject.