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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Prayers are offered at the Memorial Service for the Unborn at Catholic Cemetery on Sunday. The service is held annually on the first Sunday in October.

Service personalizes abortion’s toll

“Madeline Grace and nine other children were taken Oct. 20.”

“Mystique Andrea and eight others lost to us on Dec. 15.”

“Benjamin Francis and six babies were murdered on Feb. 9.”

About 200 people gathered at Catholic Cemetery on Sunday on a cloudy, cold afternoon to attend the Memorial Service for the Unborn of Allen County in recognition of the 307 fetuses aborted in the county since Sept. 1, 2011.

“These little babies are oftentimes not seen and easily forgotten,” said Cathie Humbarger, the executive director of Allen County Right to Life, which puts on the service. “We name them and remember them in the funeral service.”

After an abortion, the only evidence the fetus had been conceived is the termination of pregnancy report that must be filed at the Indiana Department of Health, Humbarger said.

“It’s touching to hold that piece of paper in your hand and realize, this is all that’s left,” she said.

At the start of the service a hearse drove through the crowd. After it parked, two child pallbearers crawled out of the front passenger side of the vehicle to retrieve the tiny, white casket from the back of the hearse. They deposited it at the foot of a podium.

In addition to the speeches made by local priests and others, women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign read the names, provided by the group, of 52 of the fetuses aborted in Allen County in the past year. Afterward, more names were read as some who attended the service placed a single red rose on the tiny casket.

Silent No More, a worldwide group for those who’ve had abortions and want to seek forgiveness and healing, has participated in the service for the past three years, said Kris Meidinger, the group’s regional coordinator and a Fort Wayne Newspapers information technology employee. A woman from the group shared the story of her abortion at the service, she said.

“It’s something I feel very passionate about,” said Meidinger, who shared her story at the service three years ago. “It’s not that I like to share my story. It’s that I feel I must share my story (to) help others see the regret this brings to your life.”

Sunday’s event marked the 20th such service for Right to Life, volunteer and event coordinator Tom Auer said. The event is held the first Sunday in October, which is Respect Life Sunday in the Catholic Church.

Some of the crowd attends year after year, Humbarger said, and, sometimes, a woman will approach her or another organizer, appreciative of the event.

“Some women come and are grieving their abortions,” she said, “and tell us later how meaningful the service has been.”