By Sammie Gallo, Creator of Abundant Life: You Were Made for More
Social media has given everyone a microphone - to say whatever they want, all behind the protection of a screen. Like it or not, it’s become a part of our culture. But it can be extremely damaging and destructive to the real relationships we were made for.
I challenge you with this—if you posted something online or considered sharing something about abortion or Roe v. Wade recently, I hope you’ve also asked yourself about what you’re doing to help women who are facing unplanned pregnancies and considering abortion. Because it’s these women that both sides so often throw under the bus, as we go around in circles about the issue of life and choice.
When is the last time you offered unsolicited help to a new mom - one who wasn’t necessarily your friend? When is the last time you stood in the trenches with a horrified pregnant girl and offered her hope? When is the last time you considered that there are real women facing this crisis—who feeling forced into this decision because of their circumstances—and actually did something about it? When is the last time you prayed for those women, instead of picking up your microphone?
As we await the impending Dobbs decision, which has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade and give power regarding abortion back to the states, it is so easy to focus only on the "far" side of the pro-choice crowd...to see only the hatred and vulgarity of “pro-abortion” activists.
I’m here to offer a different perspective.
A lot of women in America, particularly those who are millennials and gen Z, are very scared. Think about it. They’re never known a life where Roe v. Wade wasn’t legal. They’ve only ever known abortion to be accessible and legal. And they’re not just scared for themselves. They’re scared for their daughters, for their future daughters’ daughters, for their best friends, and for their sisters. They’re scared, because they know that unplanned pregnancies can completely derail the lives of people they love.
I’d like to acknowledge that that is valid - it’s valid because pregnancy does completely change your life. I’ve seen it, and I have walked through that with people. Our stance on whether or not abortion should be legal doesn’t change the fact that pregnancy, no matter the decision regarding the unborn baby, changes someone’s life.
I often think about my friend, Georgette - she is the President of Anglicans for Life, and she co-founded the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. She has felt the terror of an unplanned pregnancy before, and she speaks boldly and vulnerably about the pain and suffering that she faced after having an abortion as a teenager. I know she can empathize with the sheer terror that so many young women face when they see a positive pregnancy test. She’ll tell you how scary it is to honestly feel like you have no other option - to be alone and vulnerable to the coercive promise of a quick fix that will just make the problem pregnancy go away.
The challenges are more than just emotional. Even if you have financial resources and a good support system, an unplanned pregnancy is terrifying. Now, imagine having the least. Imagine being on the poverty line, having a family who is uninvolved or absent, not knowing what you’re going to eat for lunch that very day, and facing an unplanned pregnancy.
We have to be willing and able to walk alongside of our daughters as their worlds are flipped upside down in an instant. We have to show them that this new life is not the end of their own - that their support system (whether familial or not) is going to stand with them through not only the pregnancy but also through parenthood, and not just with comforting words and affirmations but with REAL and solid actions.
So many teenagers who are pro-choice are simply pro-choice because they know what it is like to be afraid for their futures. They may not have that solid, healthy relationship with their parents, or they may live in an authoritarian or even abusive household. So many would rather get an abortion and face the consequences of that choice than face the judgment and strife within their families. That is why it’s critical as Christians that we always stand with these girls. As the Church, we must stand as their families and their support.
I will conclude with this. Think about the following situation: Two 16-year-olds find out they are pregnant – they don’t know each other and live miles apart. One has an abortion; one gives birth and raises the child. What made them each make the choice they did?
The 16-year-old who had the abortion feared not only the obvious problems of how she would care for and support the child but the question of what others would think of her. Her sense of value was tied to other people’s opinions, rather than knowing who she is in Christ, and she feared being judged. Although her family loved her, they passively and actively sent the message that she better not “screw up” and taint their family name. Abortion was the only solution that made all her fears disappear. She couldn’t even think about the consequences of that decision until she had made it.
The second girl, who chose life for her baby, knew she would disappoint her family but also knew that that doesn’t mean the world will end. Their family had lived through other life-altering and transforming events, and she had seen how they have leaned into the Lord during those times. She knew the “clump of cells” was a baby and had been taught to take responsibility for her actions. She knew Jesus as her Savior and, as she sought forgiveness for having sex before marriage, she accepted His forgiveness and the consequences of sex and embraced the baby and motherhood. She wasn’t sure how she would support the baby and go to college, but she saw how God faithfully had taken care of her family before and trusted Him to do the same for her.
Ten years go by. The first girl looks in the mirror every day and wonders what it would be like to have a 9-year child. She hears condemnation whispered in her ear daily, that she is a bad person for having an abortion. She regrets her choice.
The other girl, while having lived through many struggles of being a single mom, has also found she is stronger than she realized. She has survived, stepping into the role of motherhood with support from her church and family, and her child is joyful and thriving.
Who do you want to be? Which girl do you want your daughter to be? What gave the second girl confidence in who she was to choose life? How does the first girl’s fear of others judgement still impact her choices today?
The real root of abortion is the absolute desperation and horror women feel when facing an unintended pregnancy, and unless we move toward fixing that, our women will continue to be afraid of the loss of choice or to mourn the loss of their children.
If Roe v Wade is overturned, it is not the time to brag, gloat, or even to celebrate. It’s the time to step up. There’s still work to be done. It’s time to really show that we support and protect not just the unborn person in the womb but the equally as human and valuable women that are caring them.
Sammie graduated from Robert Morris University in 2017 with a background in biology and psychology and started working with Anglicans for Life (AFL) shortly after. In addition to her work with AFL, she spends time pouring into high school students in her community and is a full-time nursing student, hoping to work in the labor and delivery unit upon her graduation in December 2022.
Sammie married her best friend, Juan Gallo, in May 2019. During her free time, she cares for their sweet baby girl, Ofelia, who joined their family in August 2020.
Sammie spends her day-to-day making sure that every person hears and believes the words: “you were made for more.” You can follow Sammie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! She’d love to get to know you!