Thursday, March 30, 2006

As I drove by the clinic this morning to park in my usual place in front of the condo complex, I saw a young hispanic girl try to open the abortion clinic door. It was before 9 AM, too early to get inside. I parked and then walked towards the clinic. I found the young girl sitting on steps in front of one of the condos. I asked her if she was going to the clinic for an abortion. She said no, her friend is having an abortion today, and she is just waiting for her. I doubt that. I sat down next to her, and asked her name. It is Maria. She said I can't understand English well. I said, "Yes you can, right?" She laughed and said, "Right!" She has a two year old child, and she is only twenty one years old. She works in a restaurant in Mexican Village, and told me how hard it is to work and support her child. She said her mother is very angry with her for having a child. I asked her what her mother would think about her having an abortion. She said she would be more angry. We talked more about mothers and motherhood. We talked about God and her soul. Finally, I asked her if she made up the story about a friend coming here. She said no. I still doubt it. I think she was dropped off, their is no friend, and the abortion is for her. I told her I could take her to a place for help with her child, schooling, work, and her health situation. She knew what I meant. But, she would not go with me to the crisis pregnancy center. I continued to try to convince her, but she walked over to the clinic "looking for her friend", and went inside. Before she was completely inside I told her that this place will hurt her, and she will not come out as the same Maria she is right now. She gave me a pathetically sad look, but went inside. I wondered what else I could have said to turn her away from this horrible place!

Stan was there. Two men and a young woman came down the sidewalk. I talked with them, but they would not take the referral card. One man is black, one hispanic, and she is a very pretty red haired white girl. I continued to talk with them at the door. The hispanic man said, "I don't want to hear any more about this from you." I told him that I speak the truth when I say this abortion will hurt her, and he knows it IS the truth.

As they were standing at the door, Connie came by. She lives in the neighborhood, has some problems, and is very lonely. She uses my cell phone to call her case worker. A bus is suppose to take her to Salvation Army. I think Connie has difficulties with time. She was crying because she said no one cares about her. Stan suggested she bring out a lawn chair, her coffee, and hang out with us. Well, I thought, why not? The hispanic man was watching us interact with Connie. He was very quiet suddenly, and temporarily dropped his bad attitude.

The two men and red haired girl went inside. The men soon came out to let her wait alone. Later, she came out to get the money. When she returned to the door, I asked her why she is doing this awful thing to her baby and to herself. I told her that those men do not care about her. She said one of them is her husband, and they have a child and can't afford another. I told her she knows very well that she can love this child too, and one more child doesn't make a big difference financially. The abortion cost alone would pay for much of the babies needs. I talked to her about adoption, and she laughed and said she could never to that. I asked her which she thought her baby would pick, death or adoption. For the first time, she stopped smiling, she put her head down and went inside. That was a little harsh for me to say, but I felt she needed a reality check.

Kathy and her mother-in-law, Katie, arrived. The four of us began our prayers. We pray for about thirty minutes together with a very nice cadence, that can be heard inside. I am the "talker" today. A white man in his sixties went inside the clinic. I had a feeling that I should not approach him. He came out immediately with the red haired girl, his daughter. The black and hispanic men suddenly appeared. The father was trying to get her away from the clinic, he was not agreeable to the abortion. She told him that she is married now, and it is no longer his business. She kissed her hispanic husband, apparently as a solidarity sign. The father was upset, and he went in to the parking lot with the two men. Chris showed up and talked with them and showed them his aborted baby signs. I could not hear them, but I watched because I was concerned for Chris. The red haired girl stayed in the clinic.

As the drama in the parking lot continued, a white couple stepped on to the sidewalk. She looked under eighteen, he was in his late twenties, at least. I approached him and he said that she really thought hard about coming here. As I suspected, they were picking up the paperwork for an abortion. She ducked inside. I told him about the cisis pregnancy center and how he could take her there now. I told him that it would be worth the short drive, and he should do it if he is her friend and cares. I explained that if they do not like it at the CPC, they can always leave, but he must give it a chance, for her sake. He said he doesn't agree with abortion. I asked him to have conviction enough to help her so that she does not make the mistake of her life. She came out with the tell-tale white envelope, and they left. I gave him directions to the CPC.

Our prayers were almost finished when a van pulled right behind me at the curb. We heard more crude and rude remarks this morning than usual, so I was startled. I turned around to speak with the driver. Kathy joined me. He asked what we were doing. Kathy spoke to him since I continued talking with people coming and going from the clinic as Stan and Katie prayed. Kathy said he is Muslim. I heard her tell him that this is an abortion clinic and it is worse than the terror going on in the Mid East, and it is happening in his own backyard. He said he drives by every day, sees us, and had no idea what we were doing. He thanked and affirmed our work, and gave us his homemade kibbie to eat. Sure beats rude comments! We gave the kibbie to Chris, and he loved them! There you go, sidewalk counseling is NOT a thankless job! I left thinking about and praying for Maria. No friend is coming.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The cars started pulling in to the abortion clinic parking lot at 8:50 AM. I recognized the first woman to approach the clinic. I spoke to her the other day. I greeted her, and we talked while she waited for the clinic to open for business. I told her I had hoped and prayed she would not come back for the abortion. She said she is having a bad time with this pregnancy, and between work and her three year old child it is just too much. She was very soft spoken. I referred her to a place that would help her financially, medically, and with adoption. I offered to go there with her. We talked for about ten minutes. She had big soft brown eyes and she seemed very gentle. I asked her if she believed that having an abortion is wrong. She said she would rather not do it, but feels she can't handle going through with the pregnancy. I asked her about the baby she carries. No response. I told her that she seemed to have a good heart, knows what is right and wrong, and asked her to do the right thing and please leave the clinic now. She said no, I am going through with it. I asked her if the clinic offered her RU486. She said they do not use it at this clinic, and she is nine weeks pregnant. She said she would not take that drug because women die from it. I added that babies die too, and their burial place is a toilet! No response. Well, I guess my soft spoken good hearted mother IS concerned about life, her own. The door unlocked, and she went inside. I feel badly for her, and I am disheartened that after all that conversation, she still went inside. I told her I would be out here praying that she will change her mind before it is too late. Two others came and I talked with them and they listened and accepted the reference and developmant cards.

I was alone until 9:30 AM, and then saw Kathy walking down the sidewalk towards me. She had been sick for over a week and I was happy to see her. Joe, an older man came to pray with us. We pray loudly so that everyone inside can hear us. At 9:45 AM, same time every day, the big silver Lincoln pulls in to the parking lot. The windows have a smoky glass, but I stare inside anyway at the abortionist and his wife arriving for the slaughter. They enter through the back door, of course. The rear entrance of the clinic backs up to an alley. Maybe tomorrow I will go into the alley and talk with the abortionist. I assume he will ignore me, but I think it is worth a try. I wonder how many babies it cost to buy a Lincoln Continental.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I arrived in front of the abortion clinic at 8:55 AM after Mass at St Martha's. Cars filled the parking lot. Stan was there with the sign he wears on his back that says, "Pregnant? Call 800-no-abort." As the 9 o'clock hour closed in, the car doors began to open and the pregnant women and their escorts crossed the parking lot and stepped on to the sidewalk. First was a black man and a white woman. They looked to be in their mid to late twenties. I talked to them. He was very amused about the situation, but she hung her head low and would not speak. He acted like this was a big joke. Next came a black couple who would not give eye contact. Then a very reluctant young white couple approached the clinic door. They looked to be in their very late teens or early twenties. She clung to him. I spoke to him, but he looked away each time. I continued to speak. Her hair hid her face as she cried on his chest. He put his arms around her. They looked completely out of place here. Two black women came next. I spoke to them also and the escort told me to, "just shut up." I asked her what bothers her so much about what I am saying. She continued to blast me with rude comments. This really upset the young white couple, and I was glad that these unkind words bothered them. I told the black women I would pray for them and the baby. She told me that she could pray for herself. I said, "good, please pray yourself and everyone else right out of here." She did not like that! They were all grouped together waiting for someone to unlock the door, just like at Farmer Jacks! The clinic staff opened the door, and they all piled in. I gave my last comment that before the abortion happens, they can always change their mind and come out for help. That was countered by one more rude comment.

I felt that I was not saying the right words today. I don't know why. Thank God, the white couple did come out and leave before her abortion. Maybe the rude comments to me and the cavalier attitude of the black man turned them away. I don't know. I approached them again, but they would not stop and talk. I asked them to please talk with me, they refused. While I walked with them to the parking lot I told them that they do not belong in a terrible place like this. I told him to protect her, and if he cares for her, he will not let her abort their baby. He nodded. But, that is all I could say before they got in their car and left.

Another woman came on to the sidewalk. She told me she is planning to have an abortion. She listened to me, took the information, but still went inside. When she opened the door, I looked inside. I saw all the women whom I spoke to sitting on folding type chairs arranged in a long line. I think you could call that death row. Some of the men would leave them there, run an errand, have a smoke, and come back later. The white woman came out twice to speak with her boyfriend who was waiting in the car. The first time I saw him give her the money. I spoke to her each time, but she would not respond. He was quite happy about the whole thing, but she was absolutely miserable. Richard came at 9:30 AM and we prayed the Rosary, Chaplet and other prayers. I will re-think my sidewalk talk today and pray that I will be more successful tomorrow, God willing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This morning I arrived at the abortion clinic at 9 AM. A black man and white woman entered the clinic quickly to avoid Stan. She was very young. Next a station wagon pulled into the parking lot, and Stan started to talk with the women as soon as they stepped out of the car. He tried to get them to go to a crisis pregnancy center. He explained that this clinic is no place for Christians. To avoid walking in front of us, they unsuccessfully tried to enter the clinic through the side door, and then tried the back door which was also locked. The Mexican mother was sobbing, and her daughter bolted towards the front door. Before I said a word, the mother approached me to say that she told her daughter abortion would endanger her life. She cried that she tried to talk her out of an abortion. I added that her daughter's life is not the only life involved. The baby will die. The mother agreed and through her tears said rhetorically, "what can I do." I showed her where to take her daughter (and grandchild) for help. I asked her to just grab her daughter by the hand and pull her out of there. She went inside to be with her daughter and did not come back out. I paced back and forth in front of the door partly talking to Stan and partly to myself. I said how terrible it is for a mother to bring her own child here. Her sweet little daughter. I went on about it. Stan looked right through me with those deep blue eyes and said that it is now in God's hands, it is God's will. He said to remember that we are no better than anyone in that clinic. We began our prayers. I prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy on my knees more fervently....."For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."
Yesterday, March 22, I arrived at the abortion clinic at about 9:30AM. Stan, as usual was there wearing his sign. He told me that he attends Mass with the Sisters of Charity. He helps them out too. The first people to arrive at the clinic were two Muslim women in full garb. This is so unusual. I approached them and talked with them about going elsewhere for services. I asked if one of them was having an abortion. They smiled, and said NO, but would not tell me what they were there for. The younger woman listened to me as I explained to her that they kill babies at this place, and showed her on the card other places to receive health services without supporting abortion. She asked me if the places I showed her accept people of all faiths. I affirmed that, but they still went inside. Thank God, they came out immediately and held up the card and smiled. I prayed that they were being sincere, and would seek an alternative clinic. A few more people came and went, but it was a fairly uneventful morning. Chris asked me to come at 9:00 AM because that is when most girls arrive to be prepped for their abortion. Yes, I will come earlier and be there waiting for them with a smile and on a mission from God.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Usually I go to Mass to receive the Eucharist and to ask the Holy Spirit to give me the words I need to be most effective at the clinic. Kathy is usually there and I do the talking while she and Stan pray. I love her upbeat personality and kind disposition, even in the midst of all this misery! She is Christ to whomever she meets on the sidewalk. She brings a kit with holy water, a laminated sheet of our prayers, business size literature and fetal development cards, and kneeler pads for saying the Chaplet. I am talking more openly now with the clinic "victims" with each visit. I always smile at them and usually say my name. It is hard to know success and failure, but the prayers and Kathy's affirmations are inspirational.

On Monday March 13, the clinic was very busy. Kathy was not there, so Stan and I worked the sidewalk. A women came out of the clinic with her friends. I asked her if she was scheduled for an abortion today. She said yes, and that she feels she has no choice because she is divorcing, and she already has two children. Her voice was quivering, and her face was streaked with tears. We talked about how she is already a good mother, and could love and care for this child too, even without her husband. Eventually, I gave her the resource card, and the card picturing fetal development. I also suggested adoption. I felt very sad for her, and had to concentrate on keeping my own composure.

Thursday March 16 was another busy morning at the clinc. Every person stopped to talk and take the resource card. I felt strongly that I was turning people away from the clinic. Then a young college student with pretty blonde hair and a pink WMU sweatshirt came around the corner. I approached her and she immediately said, "I am getting a pregnancy test and I don't want you to pray for me, I am an educated person." I smiled at her and said, "OK, but as an educated person you don't belong in this horrid clinic". She went inside, and came back out almost immediately. I asked her how it went. She walked up to me and asked for directions to the crisis pregnancy center. She said, "This really sucks". I thought about my college age children and their cousins. I remember my own college days and my heart went out to her. I went back near Stan, I looked down, and my own tears fell on the sidewalk. I pictured her panic stricken look all day. I could not talk for awhile.

Today, March 20, is the first day of Spring. Only Stan and I worked the sidewalk this busy morning. Chris came, but he respectfully moved away when we began our prayers. People coming to the clinic were not very receptive to our cards or conversation. A car load of people drove by honking and screaming at us, "F#ck you.' Stan watched to make sure they do not come back to taunt us, or worse, while I continued our Rosary. Our backs are to the street. A young girl, only fourteen left the clinic with her mother. I always talk with the parent, never the child. The mother glared at me and told me off. She rebuked her little daughter. Chris knew the mother took her for an abortion. Chris wants to find out if it is statutory rape, and filmed the mother talking about the situation. He has a lot of guts! He will get her liscense plate number and check to see if the abortion clinic files a rape notification.

Two black high school age girls entered the clinic quickly. One came out and told me that her friend is having an abortion today. I asked her to go and get her friend out of there so I can talk with her. This girl is stoned. Her friend came out and was also high. I asked them what they were so high on. They both laughed. I told them to go home, do whatever they need to do to come down, and never come to this place again. Stan and I finished the Chaplet, and Chris took over with his gruesome signs and literature. He is intense, this place is intense.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

First, the facts: Pregnancy is NOT a health problem. Tissue is that papery stuff we blow our nose on, it is not a very small real live human being. Most Catholic parents WILL help their pregnant unmarried daughter. Catholics for Choice is NOT a valid organization of the Catholic Church. It is never OK to take someone else's life in order to prevent the following: Embarrassment, a loss of free time, financial difficulties, or a disruption in your life style. Adoptions are easy, open, and free. A mother at any age or socio-economic status knows in her heart that her abortion was NOT good for her, no matter what her circumstance was at the time.

Our pastor asked us this question: "When Jesus comes again, what will you say when He asks what you did to protect His innocent ones from the slaughter?" Well, I thought, I could say I wrote checks, prayed, and verbally defended life..."singing to the choir" mostly. OK then, I admit those things are indirect and easy, so then what ACTION should I take? I took that question to the Holy Spirit, and felt Him nudging me to go to the sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic and use my sales skills to sell life. This blog is a journal of life and death on the sidewalk.

My first sidewalk experience at an abortion clinic was on a cold Saturday morning on January 28, 2006. As I stood staring at the clinic I felt the evil; this place is hell. Five of us immediately recited the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Bob, a gray haired man in his 60's, carried a huge crucifix. Don, an older man in his 70's, placed a sign on the lawn that read, "Abortion is Murder". Karen, Rose, and I then joined the men to pray the Rosary as we alternately talked to women and handed them crisis pregnancy center flyers. We marched back and forth in front of the clinic. Some people honked their horn as they drove by. I wondered if the honks were an affirmation as in "good work", or an observation as in "what a bunch of nuts."

The clinic was busy that day. It was difficult to get the attention of the mothers because a big parking lot separates the sidewalk from the front door. Stepping off the sidewalk is a jailable offense. Cameras on the building moniter us. To be heard from across the parking lot, we had to shout. I viewed the big crucifix, murder sign, and marching action as intimidation that turned people away from responding to us. Their reaction reminded me of the ole "avoid eye-contact" technique one would use to blow by a salesman who is trying to sell weird gadgets at a home show! But this is the best that can be done under the challenging circumstances at this clinic, and the sidewalk counselors I am with are experienced, dedicated and passionate.

A very cute pony-tailed teenage GIRL arrived there with her parents. YES, with her PARENTS. They lowered their heads and rushed inside the clinic. Then a fresh faced blonde high school GIRL arrived with uncharacteristically silent girl friends. Obviously, the one with the sweat pants is getting the abortion. Nice friends! Next came a young woman smoking a cigarette. She was waiting for her tardy boyfriend outside the door so that he could be with her after the abortionist kills their baby. She decided to let us know what she thought of our ministry. She said "I am preganant, I'm having an abortion, and you bastards can all go to hell". She then broke down in tears. Many came to the clinic in tears, and departed in tears.

Before we left, a woman wheeled her car into the parking lot in front of us and rolled down her window to talk. She asked us what we were doing. It was obvious by her tone that she was pro-abortion, and she knew exactly what we were doing. She asked if we had ever held a crack baby. Karen said yes, and described to us how precious these babies are. The woman was speechless for a moment, and then said, "Well, what about the woman's rights?" I explained to her that the unborn baby is a separate individual than the mother, with a full DNA structure at conception. An actual person, not a plant or animal. A real live human being who has the same right to live as each and everyone of us. She pressed on about "rights". I asked her if she believed that the baby in the womb is a person, separate from the mother, and a human being with full DNA. She said yes. I think that counted as a victory.

My first sidewalk counseling experience was not what I imagined, and I was a bit discouraged. I did not like shouting at people, I did not like the crucifix nor murder sign. I felt uncomfortable with the whole thing. But since this was the protocol at this clinic I decided to give it more time.

Then, the staff at a crisis pregnancy center where I volunteer, introduced me to Kathy. She invited me to join her at an abortion clinic she has been counseling at for ten years. She is about my age and stature. Stan, who is in his 70's, comes almost every day. We stand directly in front of the clinic door which is just off the sidewalk. Oh good, NO shouting! Kathy did the talking that day, while Stan and I prayed the Rosary, then we dropped to our knees to pray the Chaplet. I actually liked kneeling on the sidewalk as a witness to the urgency of the need to pray to end abortion. It is very humbling, you know, on your knees at a busy intersection! I listened to Kathy's approach. She speaks compassionately and gently to everyone coming and going, including the clinic staff and pharmacy couriers. This feels right, and is very comfortable. Then Kathy turned the "talking" over to me, and it felt very natural to direct people away from this hideous clinic to a caring place like the pregnancy center.

We talk and pray for one hour. People stop and respond to us. Most take our card with alternative health service information. We stand about one foot from the curb with our backs to the road. Cars wiz by and once again horns are blasting for whatever reason. Someone shouted out, "get a fucking job". I found that amusing, except that it bothered Stan. I felt like shouting back, "I have a fucking job, I am doing this for Christ, what are YOU doing for Him"? But, I think that would have taken us a bit off our core focus!

After we prayed and talked to people, Chris came to replace us. Chris is a big guy about my age. He displays humungous signs picturing aborted babies. He spoke to a woman and her daughter as they walked to the parking lot. The woman got in her car and then suddenly jumped out screaming at Chris endlessly. She was incomprehensible. Kathy calmed her down, and she finally left. Then Chris talked to a very large black man who pushed him while yelling and screaming at the top of his lungs. His girlfriend was sitting in the car, in tears. While the big black man was returning to his car, he stopped and mooned Chris. Chris talks gently, but is in their face. We are concerned for his safety. I think his approach is too confrontational.

Richard, who comes on certain days, explained to me that Chris works all night, and comes for hours during the day to stop the killing. He has even taken a few beatings! Chris spends tremendous time actively pursuing law suits to stop abortion. Richard told me not to judge Chris, he said he is effective and very passionate. He saves lives. I believe it is true that his gruesome signs turn people away from abortion. The pictures are reality. Richard is right, Satan is the divider, and we need to work together and support each other in our efforts.