By Chloe Kilano
Mom to Mom, a well-known talk show on the Chaldean Moms of Metro Detroit Facebook page, recently premiered an episode discussing one of today’s most controversial topics: abortion. Host Lisa Denha sat down with Adora Ibrahim, Josephine Attisha, and Christina Marchetti, three Chaldean women who play prominent roles throughout the pro-life movement, to discuss how abortion has affected them.
Mom of three Adora Ibrahim is deeply involved not only in the church, but in the pro-life movement. Ibrahim herself spared a Chaldean life from abortion many years ago.
When asked to talk to a young Chaldean woman who was facing an unplanned pregnancy and felt pressured to have an abortion, she was hesitant, being well-aware of the negative stigma surrounding unplanned pregnancies in the Chaldean community.
“It takes a lot of courage to be able to move through an unplanned pregnancy and be Chaldean, truthfully,” Ibrahim acknowledges.
Ultimately, they met and spent hours talking. Ibrahim developed a relationship with the mom and her family, and provided her with the support and resources that she needed in order to feel comfortable enough to carry out her pregnancy and raise her child.
Despite the young woman’s decision not to abort with support from Ibrahim to continue her pregnancy, she was not on speaking terms with her parents, who had an incredibly difficult time handling the shame and embarrassment of their daughter’s pregnancy.
In the end, the grandparents redeveloped a relationship with their daughter and fell in love with their granddaughter.
Ibrahim believes that the Chaldean community as a whole must demolish the shameful stigma surrounding unplanned pregnancies in order to empower women to choose life, and to decrease the number of abortions in the Chaldean community. She wishes to further educate Chaldean youth on the theology of the body, and on the resources at their disposal if they find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy.
“There are other options in this day and age… people don’t have to take the lies, and just feel like there’s no other options,” she affirms.
Similarly, Josephine Attisha, author of Before There Were Borders, found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy. As a church leader and a well-regarded woman in the Chaldean community of San Diego, she was terrified, and decided to confess her sins to a priest. She received a positive response, and was told she would be a great mother; however, motherhood wasn’t something she was planning on pursuing.
“I didn’t see myself being a mom,” Attisha recalls, “I was a career woman.”
Attisha knew that abortion would make the situation at hand disappear, but continue her cycle of sin and cause a lifetime of suffering. Although keeping her baby meant that she would lose her reputation and potentially her family, she chose life.
Her decision was not an easy one. Attisha’s relationship with her parents was severely damaged, resulting in her moving in with her sister. Her boyfriend then proposed that the two get married, and in doing so, she was forced to leave behind the life she knew in California and start fresh in Michigan.
Today, she is a proud mom of two little boys, and says she can’t imagine her life being any other way. Had she not had encouragement from her priest and sister, the situation might have had a drastically different ending.
“I just want people to understand that abortion is not just this quick fix,” Attisha said. “There are so many emotional and physical implications associated with it.”
She goes on to describe how abortion, which is promoted as empowering, is actually disempowering. She claims that providing women with life-affirming and protecting options is what truly empowers women, and that abortion is done out of fear.
Christina Marchetti, Director of Client Services at Mother and Unborn Baby Care Southfield, does exactly so. Her Catholic, pro-life crisis pregnancy center provides women with free ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, and other information and resources that are needed in order to carry a pregnancy to term and raise a baby.
Marchetti revealed that an extremely large number of Chaldean women come to the pregnancy center for the free ultrasound, not expecting the immense amount of resources and support provided.
“The unmarried, pregnant, Chaldean clients that we get are the most difficult to counsel,” Marchetti explained. “They, among all of our patients that we see, are under the greatest amount of pressure to have an abortion, and most of the time, they aren’t wanting to at all.”
In some situations, Marchetti and her coworkers are able to counsel women away from abortion. She describes these women to be resilient despite the obstacles and hardships that come with having a baby. She also claims that often times, families come around after birth and are able to rebuild a strong and loving relationship with their child and grandchild.
However, in many situations, women feel forced to have an abortion, and will return to the pregnancy center for post-abortive healing. In some cases, minors have come to the pregnancy center, and are told by their families that abortion is their only option.
Marchetti then goes on to discuss her pro-life viewpoint, informing the audience that rape and incest are not excuses to abort, how women describe an abortion after rape to be just as violating as the rape itself, and how babies are a part of the healing process. Marchetti also asserts that a threat to the life of a mother does not justify late-term abortion.
“There’s no need to kill the baby,” Marchetti asserts. “That doesn’t make it safer for the woman… and in many cases, if it’s really life-threatening, that’s a c-section.”
These three women have all encountered unplanned pregnancies in one form or another, and have all reached the same conclusion: abortion takes the life of a child and harms a woman simultaneously. Their dedication to women and children and their involvement in the pro-life movement has saved numerous lives, and will save lives in the future.