Pro-lifers stand witness in the vacant lot across from Planned Parenthood Aurora
Late yesterday morning, while I was out at Planned Parenthood’s “Abortion Fortress” in Aurora, Illinois, a young woman came out of the building and walked across the street to tell Margo, a pro-life sidewalk counselor, that she had decided not to go through with her abortion.
I was praying a Rosary along the road behind the building, so I wasn’t there when this conversation took place, but Margo reported that the woman was “extremely happy” and “excited” about the decision to keep her baby. Margo gave her information on the nearby Waterleaf Women’s Center for any help she might need.
In the evening, I told my wife April—who had also done a prayer stint at Planned Parenthood yesterday—about the saved baby, and we got to talking about what it is that inspires a woman who decided against abortion to come over and tell us pro-lifers.
The woman had not talked to a sidewalk counselor on her way in; most likely one of the counselors did try to speak to her, but was ignored. It wasn’t as if there was a dialog already established there that wanted closure.
I’ve seen this thing before: a woman, or sometimes her companion, who refused to talk to a sidewalk counselor on her way in, comes over to share her new decision—almost as if we’re old friend. I think there are really two reasons they do this:
1. They know we will share their joy.
Margo described the woman who chose life for her baby yesterday as extremely joyful about her decision. She knew that we would be, too.
After the woman had left, Margo—who was just about to leave—took the time to come around to the side of the building and tell me about what had happened. She knew I’d want to hear the good news. I immediately posted about the save on Facebook, and people across the country rejoiced that this baby would live.
I don’t know how the staff at Planned Parenthood responded to her decision to back out of the abortion, but for pro-lifers, it was a reason to celebrate—and this expectant mother knew that it would be.
2. They see us as the moral conscience on abortion.
Another reason that this woman may have been inspired to come over and tell Margo about her decision is that we pro-life activists may be perceived as the “official witnesses” of the immorality of abortion—the national moral conscience on abortion, as it were.
Often, we’re hated for this. We’re treated to foul language and rude gestures, just for standing out there in a vacant lot across from an abortuary, praying. Someone who really believes that abortion is a valid choice—and believes in “freedom of choice” in general (which ought to include our choice to stand and pray)—doesn’t behave like that. We make it harder for them to ignore their own consciences telling them that abortion is wrong. It’s a classic “shoot the messenger” scenario.
But once a woman chooses life, it seems as if she sometimes feels a need to “register” that decision with us pro-lifers—to let us know she made the right choice, as if seeking a kind of approval, validation or blessing.
Is the public learning who we really are?
Whatever the specific motivation for these kinds of revelations, one thing is clear: the public is gaining a sense of who we pro-life activists really are and what we’re really all about. Take another case for example:
During her prayer time at Planned Parenthood yesterday afternoon, April was approached by a young woman in her teens looking for help for a friend. The friend had gotten an abortion at Planned Parenthood a couple months earlier and was having a very hard time dealing with it. April told her, too, about getting help from Waterleaf.
I don’t know whether this young woman deliberately drove over to Planned Parenthood hoping to find a pro-lifer to talk to, or—as seems more likely—she was just passing by. But either way, she knew who to talk to to get help for her friend.
Abortion industry’s propaganda is failing
All of the propaganda from the abortion industry about how unreasonable, harassing, hateful and even violent pro-lifers are had missed its mark for this young woman. Somehow, she knew who we really were.
I find this extremely encouraging. Our consistently peaceful presence outside America’s abortion facilities is having an impact, sinking into the national consciousness.
The abortion industry continues to try to link us with maniacs like Scott Roeder, the man who shot and killed abortionist George Tiller last year, but the public isn’t buying it.
They can see for themselves that pro-life activists are people of peace and compassion. And they’re learning that when they need us, we’ll be there for them.