The lights were low, and Native American flute music played softly. A counselor held the woman’s hand, whispering words of comfort as she began to surface from a guided meditation. Then the doctor showed the woman a covered silver bowl that held the tiny remains of her six-week pregnancy. She curled her fingers around his, and her face, now damp with tears, softened as he began their ceremony of letting go.
“We ask your blessing, in the name of love,” Curtis Boyd, M D, began softly. Before becoming a doctor, Boyd was a foot-washing Baptist minister in rural East Texas. He left the fold but took with him an abiding faith in the power of ceremony to heal, honor, and comfort.
“Women because of what they are bombarded with in the media and by anti-abortion groups get the message that what they are doing is wrong and that they are bad people,” Boyd says, “A ceremony says the woman is a good and caring person who made the best decision she could under difficult circumstances. It also gives her a way to honor the fetus to be aware of her grief and to express her loss.”
In the nearly eight years I worked as a counselor and medical assistant at Boyd’s clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I witnessed many ceremonies. Some were for couples whose fetuses had died or had medical anomalies. Others were for women who, for whatever reason, knew that it was not the nighttime to bring a child into their world and sought a way to make peace with that decision.
Each blessing ritual was individually designed. One Buddhist couple set up an altar, complete with incense, candles, and rice cakes. Native American women sometimes brought corn meal for sprinkling during their blessings. Boyd has since retired from performing surgery, but he and his wife and partner, psychologist Glenna Halvorson-Boyd, still guide the work done at her Albuquerque and Dallas clinics. All patients have an opportunity to perform their own rituals or to create new ceremonies with the help of counselors.
This particular afternoon, in the soft light of the surgery room, Boyd concluded the ceremony with a prayer: “We ask that you honor this woman’s courage and bless her and her family as they move forward in their lives.”
New Age, March/April, 1998, p. 17
This was not unexpected, but still unwelcome.
It is true that the Wiccan Rede, ‘If it harm none, do as you will’, leaves a lot to interpetation, but I doubt it is possible to stretch its blanket of allowablity to ritual sacrifice. In the Charge of the Goddess, it is stated plainly that: ‘As I am the Mother of all things, I require no sacrifice’.
The God and Goddess gave life. They are the only ones who may take it away. And the very idea of snuffing out another life is vile and abhorrent to anyone who is a true Wiccan.
Nature itself is divinity incarnate. To harm it is the greatest of sacralige.
I tried to check your references on the net and could find no New Age Magazine or any primary quote by Patricia O“Connor. Can you show me where to find these things?
I am pro-choice because my great-grandmother required an abortion to save her life, in the early 1900s when abortion was still illegal. I am therefore against all fundamentalists, papists, and dotheads who think abortion should be illegal.
Let me state right up front that I am a Witch. Having said that I realize you will most likely disregard anything else I say from this point on, however, I would like to point out that what you have displayed here is appalling. First of all, you have obviously misrepresented the article about the woman in the abortion clinic. A woman engaging in meditation, and ceremony to assist her in dealing with the emotions and feelings present because she has decided to terminate a pregnancy, which I will have you know is a painful decision regardless of your religious views, is a far cry from sacrificing a fetus, or an infant. I understand that you and people like you have strongly held opinions, and a powerful faith in your religion. I am also certain that this faith has indeed strengthened you in your life, and has allowed you to become closer to your god. I am certain of these things even though I do not practice your faith. If I as a Wiccan, and a Witch can afford you the courtesy and respect of giving you the benefit of the doubt and not accusing you of being cannibals because you eat the body and blood of your savior, and making the attempt to understand and support your religious choices, shouldn’t you be kind enough to afford me the same consideration? I do believe there is enough hate, and evil in the world with out honest faith-filled people like you and I adding to it.
“My great-grandmother required an abortion to save her life”
Wouldn’t a mother give her own life for her child?
I am writing a novel set in Biblical times that addresses this question: is it possible to have abortion while respecting the personhood of the child?