The National Day of Remembrance on Saturday is memorializing the 55 million children who have been aborted since the practice was legalized in the U.S. in 1973, with Christian leaders saying the day provides a proper outlet for both personal and national grief.
"The graves of these victims are scattered across America – graves of sorrow and graves of indictment on a nation that permitted the killing of the innocent," said Monica Miller, co-director of National Day of Remembrance and director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
Several organizations, such as Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life, and the Pro-Life Action League, are coordinating the event, which serves not only to mark the deaths of the unborn babies, but also to heighten awareness of the consequences of abortion.
"The grief caused by abortion is an 'invisible' grief – what grief therapy expert Dr. Kenneth Doka defines as 'disenfranchised loss,' one not recognized or socially sanctioned and therefore not triggering the type of social support people normally receive at a time of significant loss," a press release said.
What amplifies post-abortion grief, according to some counselors, is the message that abortion is not only a legally protected "right," but also celebrated in the U.S., which leaves no room for mourning an unborn child that has been aborted.
The National Day of Remembrance also marks the 25th anniversary of the burial of several hundred abortion victims in Milwaukee, Wis., where prayer vigils are scheduled at the city's gravesite. Thirty-four other vigils are planned at other burial sites across the country.
"It's sobering to realize that these grave markers for the unborn victims of abortion list only a date of burial," remarked Eric Scheidler, co-director of National Day of Remembrance and executive director of the Pro-Life Action League. "They have no birthdays because they were never allowed to be born."
Fr. Frank Pavone, co-director of National Day of Remembrance and national director of Priests for Life, added: "Having a memorial service where these babies are buried reminds us that abortion is not merely about beliefs, but about bloodshed; not just about viewpoints, but victims."
The group recommends that people visit gravesites of the unborn so that they can become aware of the reality behind abortion, and "cut through the lies" by which some people justify it.
"Even pro-life people are thrust into a higher level of commitment and activism," the website states.
"Touching the reality of abortion happens in various ways: hearing a description of the procedure, seeing diagrams of it, seeing images of aborted children, hearing a woman's personal testimony of regret over her abortion."
According to a May 2013 Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans believe most or all abortions should be illegal, while 39 percent are in favor of most abortions being legal.