Mercedes Aguilar is the leader of the English Pro-Life Ministry at St. Mary’s Parish in Escondido. “I wouldn’t have believed I would be in this position ten years ago!” she mentioned. At twenty-five years old, she was in the same position as many women who come into our clinics. Pregnant and unmarried, her partner pressured Mercedes to have an abortion, but because of her faith, her knowledge of science, and because in her heart she knew the life she was carrying was good, Mercedes knew abortion was not an option. Having that first-hand experience with an unplanned pregnancy and the pressure by her partner to abort, Mercedes empathizes with women who face this same situation, and she knows that women need to receive support from their community in order for them to joyfully welcome their child.
Before becoming involved in the Pro-Life movement, Mercedes believed that abortion was not right but she would not impose her beliefs on another woman. When abortion became a focus of politics in Presidential Elections, Mercedes noted that women needed to hear more than what was being argued. After 2012, Mercedes came across a series of images revealing the process of a partial birth abortion. The violence on the unborn and on the mother revealed in the images was jarring, and she realized this was wrong. Moved by what she had witnessed, Mercedes began to get involved in the Pro-Life community. She attended the 2017 Pro-Life Walk in San Diego where she learned about the many resources for expectant mothers; then joined St. Mary English Pro-Life Ministry where she learned about COLFS, helped with Baby Bottle Drives and fundraising dinners. Mercedes has also learned a great deal from Penelope Ramirez who started the St. Mary Spanish Pro-Life Ministry and from many committed parishioners who have promoted a culture of life in the parish community.
Mercedes is inspired to be an activist for life because she sees how abortion hurts women, men, and children; ultimately, she sees how it hurts the family. “We deny who we are called to be. As women, we are called to nurture the life we create. Men are called to protect both the life they co-create and the mother, and the family is called to give the child a protective place,” said Mercedes. Abortion turns our hearts against the new life we are called to protect. When we don’t see babies and life as gift, we deny who we are called to be.
Mercedes would like the Pro-Life movement to seek out the youth, revealing to them that life is always a gift and that they are called to parenthood – either biological or spiritual- and their actions now will have an impact on those future roles of mother and father. She also sees the importance of giving parents the support they need. Mercedes is currently working to get the Walking with Mom’s in Need Campaign off the ground at St. Mary’s Parish.