many years ago i remember a patient telling me that she chose our clinic because she could tell that we respected her and knew that we would therefore respect the life within her. it was very important to her that she have trust in the clinic she chose because she felt that, given her life circumstances, returning her baby to god was the kindest, most maternal thing she could do for it. i assured her that her feeling was correct, that we in fact do all we can to honor the life that women are unable to continue and we encourage them to find their own way to make peace with the pregnancy (whether it be a baby or a "pre-baby" to them), figure out how to forgive themselves and also to continue working through any religious or spiritual issues if they have them. we show all patients the section of the clinic where the brochures and handouts are kept and encourage them to take all they want home with them. in addition to the independently produced brochures, there are the publications of RELIGIOUS COALITION FOR REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE and CATHOLICS FOR FREE CHOICE. a while back, we interviewed many priests, ministers and rabbis to determine how we might refer women for pastoral counseling or, if the women preferred, to share some of the messages of hope that we have collected from various clergy. we are glad to be able to pass on those messages of hope and love that come from god via his clergy from various religions.
our clinic is the kind of place where women can ask, as one did today, if we would bless and baptise her baby. i was able to do that for her. honoring her pregnancy as she herself chooses is part of what we hope to do for each woman. using water (she had planned to bring holy water with her but had at the last minute forgotten it) and saying the words i know from my catholic upbringing, i did as she asked. she had a name in mind for the baby, one that could work for either gender and i gave it that name.
we want to be a clinic that respects life, that honors women's choices. the two are compatible. believe me!