This past weekend I experienced two life changing events that cause me to wonder what if. . .
Tavis Smiley, during his Atlanta Accountability Tour, took time to eulogize his Executive Producer, Cheryl Flowers, who at 42, lost her fight with a most extreme form of breast cancer. As he recounted the impact she’d had on his life, I leaned toward a new friend and wondered if Tavis knew of the link between breast cancer and abortion. My friend, literally paled, if black men can pale, then asked me to explain what I meant. I offered him the cliff notes explanation documented in twenty-seven of forty studies that there is a 50% breast cancer risk increase by age 45 for women who have had an induced abortion. He did not know that among women with a family history of breast cancer (mother, grandmother, sister, or aunt), the increase in risk was 80%. If the woman had her abortion before she was 18, the increase in risk was more than 100% (doubled)! 1
At the conclusion of my whispered explanation, my new friend explained that he had lost a child through abortion and the mom died from breast cancer, at an age younger than 45. I am ashamed and saddened to say that while I mumbled “I’m sorry”, I quickly changed the subject from this personal confession toward a more general conversation. I now wonder what if I had not done that to ease my discomfort, but had stopped to mourn his loss with him. What if instead of pushing those emotions back, I had allowed the tears that were threatening to actually flow. What if I had allowed him to work through whatever emotions he was feeling in my presence, rather than diverting the conversation leaving him to mourn at some later time when I would not see his pain? What if . . . ?
The very next day, I went to Selma, Alabama with another friend, Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and daughter of Rev. A. D. King, to walk across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. This time we walked for the sake of the unborn. As I made the first step onto the bridge, I literally felt the presence of those who had come before me. I could almost see that historic day in March of 1965 as I was overcome with the presence of those who had marched for equal rights over forty years ago. I heard them in my heart, urging me to not give up the fight for life. I could almost hear them saying “March on, fight on! Your work is not in vain”. I tangibly felt a mantle fall to my shoulders as we slowly walked and it was not until I was midway across the bridge that I was able to gather myself. Never before had I such an experience, a calling, if you will. That feeling that gripped me on the bridge is with me even now.
This morning I woke up wondering what if . . . What if we employ the arsenal of nonviolent weapons left us by those who fathered America’s Civil Rights Movement. What if we accepted the mantle to fight on left by those who marched on the Pettus Bridge? What if we declare a moratorium on abortion and hold sit ins at one or more of the clinics on a Saturday, the abortionists’ busiest day or a Thursday the busiest day for late term abortions? What if we were to boycott those big businesses that fund outfits like Planned Parenthood the organization that target blacks for extermination in their abortion mills? What if we organized today’s version of freedom riders to ride from Maine to California, for the lives of the unborn and for those women harmed by abortion? What if we gathered on the Washington Mall in 2010 to memorialize the fifty million lives taken at the hands of abortion providers? What if . . .?
What I know is that we can no longer do what I did, and change the topic. We must meet the challenge head on. We must march on and fight on because our work is not in vain.