I didn’t expect today to turn out like it has. I woke up this morning expecting today to be like any other. But it wasn’t. Today was a blessing sent by God to cheer me and pro-lifers reading this everywhere.
We Decide to Go to the Clinic
John, Urszula, and I usually go to the clinic for an hour on Friday mornings. But John’s on vacation and Urszula had an errand to run and didn’t know how long that would take. So I thought, maybe we’ll just skip this week. It won’t really matter.
Urszula’s guardian angel had other plans, though, and she just didn’t feel right skipping prayer for an errand that could wait another day or two. So we met at the clinic to pray the Rosary.
The thing is, there were other prayer warriors and counselors standing closer to the door that likely would have helped her, but if I hadn’t shown up, I wouldn’t have received this blessing today that God wanted me to have.
“Mary” Asks Us for Help
While standing in the alley, near the parking lot of Family Planning Associates Albany Medical-Surgical Center, a visibly pregnant young woman, “Mary,” came over to us.
She needed help. She was nearly in tears.
Yesterday afternoon she had been at this clinic and they had inserted laminaria into her cervix. (These seaweed sticks dilate the cervix so the pieces of the baby, which are very large in the second and third trimesters, can be removed more easily.) She had an appointment this morning to have more sticks inserted.
She was an hour late for that appointment because she’d been making phone calls for hours trying to find someone to help her stop this process. No one would help her, though. Afraid of medical liability, or just unwilling to get involved in the politically volatile subject of abortion, they refused to help and just kept telling her to go back to the place that had put them in.
But they don’t take out laminaria at Albany, they only put them in. There would be no help from them.
(In fact, when they called later to find out why she hadn’t come in, I spoke to the clinic’s receptionist. I said Mary had found another doctor and didn’t need them. She said “OK.” Then I said that she wanted a refund…and I was disconnected.)
Why Was Mary Having an Abortion at Six Months?
We stopped at the pregnancy center around the corner, where the counselors helped assure Mary she was doing the right thing. They sent us to the emergency room at a local Catholic Hospital.
As we drove, Mary explained what had brought her to this point. Why had she waited until she was six months into her pregnancy to have the abortion?
She admitted that she had never wanted the abortion, but that eventually she’d just been pushed into it. Her boyfriend didn’t want a baby (his parents weren’t going to be happy he was having a baby out of wedlock). She was scared and worried about so many things. Finally her resistance was worn down and she gave in.
Something that struck me, though, was that Mary would not have started this procedure if it had been illegal. The fact that it was legal—even this late in her pregnancy—made her think this was something it would be OK to do. It made her think this was something she could get herself to go through with. (As she found out, what is legal is not always right. Thankfully, our conscience knows the difference.)
She Knew She Was Doing the Wrong Thing
So she drove to Chicago by herself to begin the procedure.
But she told me from the moment they shoved the first stick into her, she knew she was doing the wrong thing. She said it was an extremely painful experience. That makes sense, because the woman’s body is designed to protect her unborn baby, which means keeping the cervix closed until it’s time to give birth.
Mary wished from the moment the nurse started working that she could stop it.
But the clinic staff had told her the process was irreversible.
They told her the laminaria were going to remove moisture from the amniotic sac, which is why they would expand. This would mean the baby wouldn’t be able to survive if she changed her mind. They told her there would be chemicals released into her body that would hurt the fetus, another reason she couldn’t change her mind.
The father of all lies, Satan, had his hand in all of this, just like he was behind the fear that pushed her through the abortion clinic’s door in the first place.
Mother and Baby Are Just Fine
The doctor at the hospital was very kind. He explained what they would do, answered Mary’s questions, and explained that the things she had been told at the clinic were not accurate.
Because her water had not broken and she was not experiencing contractions, he expected the removal would go smoothly. They were ready in case she started to deliver the baby early, but hoped the baby would stay inside for another couple of months.
And he did. That little one is tough. All night last night he kicked his mom so hard she couldn’t sleep. I think he knew she was scared and he was empathizing the only way he could.
Mama and baby are doing fine. They are heading home to Mary’s father, the baby’s number one supporter. When Grandpa heard we were heading to the hospital to get the laminaria out he was so relieved. He had never wanted her to have the abortion. He wanted to protect his beloved daughter from something he knew she would never get over.
We all need support from people who love us, but when we’re facing a crisis, it’s a blessing to have our parents behind us. Some day, if Mary tells her baby this story, I hope she mentions that it wasn’t just Grandpa who was fighting for him, but his mom was too. I hope she gives herself credit for stopping when she knew she was heading down the wrong road. She did the right thing today, which is always tough, and I’m proud of her.