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OPINION

Choosing Life In Difficult Circumstances

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Sister Magdalene Teresa came to Washington, D.C., to attend an event sponsored by the National Review Institute and the Heritage Foundation highlighting alternatives to Planned Parenthood and abortion -- groups offering health care and help for pregnant women in need.

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Sister Magdalene is a member of the Catholic religious community known as the Sisters of Life, the members of which take a vow to "To protect and enhance the sanctity of human life."

These sisters help 1,000 women a year at their missions in New York City and Toronto. Sister Magdalene has been at her post for a dozen years.

"Given real support and a listening ear, women choose life," Sister Magdalene says.

The sisters offer support in all its forms. "When a woman sees how many people believe in her, she begins to believe in herself," Sister Magdalene says.

And women facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion need that belief. "The lie of abortion is that everything will go back to the way it was before you were pregnant, while in the heart of every woman is the resounding truth that maternity is forever," the sister says.

She knows the long view. "Women suffer for years, silently, alone, unable to find healing," she says.

"We have come to see in them the great betrayal of abortion," Sister Magdalene says.

A woman who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant may feel overwhelmed and helpless. So the Sisters of Life stand ready to welcome any woman who wants help, offering "a real lifeline." Sister Magdalene explained: "We want her to hold on to this line of hope long enough for us to introduce her to all the resources available to her."

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The sisters serve any woman, of any economic means, of any age and race, marital status and creed. Whoever a woman is, whatever her circumstances, if she asks for it, the sisters will help her.

"We often ask: 'If everything were different, if you had an apartment, a job and people you could share this joy with, what would you do?' (The women respond:)'Then I would keep my baby.'"

It's that outcome that we as a society need to make seem more realistic. That's why the sisters exist -- the group was founded to fulfill a promise from the Catholic Church in New York that any pregnant woman who wants help could get it.

Whatever your views on abortion, you might also be encouraged to hear Sister Magdalene's contention of the support that exists for her group's efforts: "So many people want to put their gifts, talents, time, resources toward building a culture of life -- a place where women do not have to face fear and pressure when they become pregnant outside of the desired circumstances."

Frequently, she says, these people desire to help because they themselves were involved in an abortion. And they don't want anyone to have to go through what they did. They don't want others to have to know "the pain and sorrow that comes from suffering from abortion."

"Everyone has a gift to put at the service of life," Sister Magdalene says. After more than four decades of legal abortion in America, our nation's soul is in need of healing. So many people who are involved in Planned Parenthood do care about women and do want to help. We can build on that good will by insisting that every woman really truly has the choice to embrace the life of her child.

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GOP presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's recent viral video gives his testimony that being pro-life means supporting and helping people live full, healthy lives outside of the womb as well as inside it. This message resonated because it touches the depths of the generous hearts of Americans. With compassionate hearts, let's care for life -- from the beginning, till the very end and every moment in between. Supporting the likes of Sister Magadalene and her colleagues in sacrifice is a good start.

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