Compassion in a Cold Culture: Why I Volunteer

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Before I moved to Greensboro, I lived in San Francisco for four years. During my time there, I was privileged to help with the Walk for Life West Coast. It is an organized walk through downtown in opposition of abortion and the culture it creates, which is so rampant in our time, especially in that particular “left coast” city. It was so encouraging to see close to 40,000 people in attendance.

No Compassion

But what was also eye-opening was the coldness of the protestors we encountered at the walk. They claimed to support abortion in compassion for the mother and her “right to choose.” But I saw no compassion in offensive and derogatory signs, inappropriate clothing, or the way they screamed profanities and played loud, offensive music in an attempt to drown out our prayers and singing. All I saw was anger, bitterness, and hatred. How are expectant mothers supposed to see compassion in such behavior?

In my experience, women who are pregnant, whether they planned it or not, are usually afraid. They are fearful for themselves and how their lives will change, and then they fear for the life inside them. Are they capable of raising another human being? Will he/she be healthy? Can I afford it? Will the father be happy? What will my parents think? What will my friends think?

Compassion is Needed

These women yearn for compassion. They need someone to reassure them and tell them that everything will be ok and that they are not alone.

I have visited a number of abortion clinics over the years in various cities, and I can safely say that mothers do not find much compassion there. The clinics I visited were unsanitary, and the staff tended to be unfriendly and rude. And more often than not, the doctors would encourage and even coerce women into having an abortion. They would not discuss alternatives or the psychological damage that occurs post-abortion.

We Can Show Compassion

So, what, as Christians, are we being called to do? We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. And who is more of a neighbor than a scared, expectant mother? First, she needs love. She needs a friend, someone she can talk to and rely on. Then, she needs the universal necessities: food, clothing, health care, etc. Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center assists mothers in all those areas.

When I first started volunteering at GPCC, the first thing I noticed was the friendliness of all the staff. They welcomed every client with the love and respect that every human being deserves. There was no judgment. Only love and friendship was offered. No one was forced to make a decision, but everyone was fully informed about alternatives and the dangers that accompany abortion.

Why I Volunteer

I volunteer, because I want to show the face of Christ to these women. I want to show them that even in the midst of a cold culture, they can find warmth. I want to show them that yes, they do have a choice—a choice they can make in freedom for the good of themselves and their unborn child. I volunteer, because I want to be counter-cultural. I volunteer, because these women are also Christ to me. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Meryl Amland has been volunteering at the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center for a little over a year. When she is not volunteering, she is E-book Editor for Ignatius Press and writer for their novels blog www.ipnovels.com. Meryl is also a Zumba instructor, and she is a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.

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