Dorothy Day's Abortion Experience

December 16, 2014

 

Dorothy Day's Pro-Life Memories

DAN LYNCH

 

I wish every woman who has ever suffered an abortion would come to know Dorothy Day. Her story was so typical. Made pregnant by a man who insisted she have an abortion, who then abandoned her anyway, she suffered terribly for what she had done, and later pleaded with others not to do the same.

 

"But later, too, after becoming a Catholic, she learned the love and mercy of the Lord, and knew she never had to worry about His forgiveness. [This is why I have never condemned a woman who has had an abortion; I weep with her and ask her to remember Dorothy Day's sorrow but to know always God's loving mercy and forgiveness.] She had died before I became Archbishop of New York, or I would have called on her immediately upon my arrival. Few people have had such an impact on my life, even though we never met."

Thus spoke the late Cardinal John J. OConnor. The remainder of this article substantially contains Dorothy Day's actual words as edited and sometimes paraphrased by Dan Lynch. The information concerning her abortion was obtained from her biographers and her autobiographical novel, The Eleventh Virgin. Dorothy never publicly wrote or spoke about her abortion. Her writings may be found at CatholicWorker.org.

Dorothy Day: I hobbled down the darkened stairwell of the Upper East Side flat in New York City. My steps were unsteady. My left arm held the banister tightly. My right arm clutched my abdomen. It was burning in pain. I walked out onto the street alone in the dark. It was in September of 1919. I was twenty-one years old and I had just aborted my baby.

Lionel, my boyfriend, promised to pick me up at the flat after it was all over. I waited in pain from nine a.m. to ten p.m. but he never came. When I got home to his apartment I found only a note. He said he had left for a new job and, regarding my abortion, that I was only one of God knows how many millions of women who go through the same thing. Dont build up any hopes. It is best, in fact, that you forget me.

(Article from Catholic Education Research Center)

 

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