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.

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