Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday, May 22, Alicia called me as I was driving to St. Martha's for Mass at 7:30 AM. She is very concerned about a young Mexican girl whom she spoke to on Saturday. She thinks she may come this morning for an abortion. I assured her that I would be there before the door opens. But the problem is that I do not speak Spanish, and this girl speaks only a little English. When I got to the center, Alicia was there talking to someone in their car. For a Monday the parking lot is rather empty. Hopefully that is a sign that fewer women are coming here for abortions.

Alicia and I talked to women and handed out information on better options than abortion. Alicia gives out information about a wrongful death case that the abortionist, Dr. Ann, lost a few years ago. She will take women in her car to a CPC which has ultrasound equipment but is located quite far away from this center. I spoke to a CPC director, Laura, about bringing people to a CPC. She strongly advised against it for several good reasons, and I agree with her. Alicia is willing to take the risk. Too bad there isn't a CPC within walking distance. The Mexican girl did not come.

Stan came to help. He tells people who are coming and going that this is not a place for Christians. Some people actually argue with him about that. I like when Stan is here. He has told me about difficult times in his life, which I think has made him very strong and wise. He wears a sign that says, "Pregnant? Call 1 800 no abort".

Chris came and said he has a court date today. He was accused of assault by a pro-abort who attacked him. I am sure that Chris would never assault anyone. He shows everyone who even comes near the center huge aborted baby pictures which he carries around with him. He covers his van, which is parked across the street, with more huge aborted baby pictures. They are horrifying. He gets in people's face. Kathy, Stan, and I have a different approach. Alicia is somewhere in between. Even though we do not agree on how to approach women to turn them away from this wretched place, we understand that Satan is the divider and that he will win if we fail to stand together.

When Kathy arrived, we began our prayers. Chris leaves us alone during this time. Most of the women who will have an abortion are inside the clinic by 9:30 AM. We pray loudly so that everyone inside the clinic can hear us. Usually some will come out to smoke, make a phone call, or go to their car. That is another opportunity for us to persuade them to leave. Kathy is in charge. She arranges for one person to do the talking, while the others concentrate on praying. This works very well. It is impossible to do both. I am the talker when I am there. I think that is because the others have been coming for years, and they have talked plenty!

On Tuesday, May 23, I was alone at the abortion center early on because Stan was with the Sisters of Charity. A mother and daughter came first. I asked her if her daughter is pregnant. She looked me right in the eyes and said, "no, I am". She was young enough, but I knew that was a lie. I acted like I did not hear her say that. I gave her options for a better way. I usually make the point that she is a mother now, she has a baby in her womb...it's just a reality check.

Next, two women who looked like either sisters or lesbians got out of a car. They were very tall and thin. They had bright red streaks running through their black hair which was severely pulled back in a ponytail. They both had on tight jeans and red knit tops. Their features were very sharp. They refused to make eye contact with me when they came to the sidewalk. They were both talking and laughing as if they were walking in to a tattoo parlor. They would not respond to anything I said.

Carl, a homeless man, came by and asked me if I was a reporter from the News. I asked him why he keeps asking me that. He said I look like one. I asked him if that was good or bad, and he just laughed. He has no idea what we are doing at the center. He talked about his newspaper and other things, but I have trouble understanding him.

Then Charles came by to catch the 10 AM bus. I have not seen him for awhile and asked him about his leg. He said it is better. As we talked, Joe, Richard, and Kathy came to help and pray. I can tell that Charles likes talking to the men, especially Stan. How about those Tigers?

We started to pray and Charles joined us for the first time. Kathy explained to him how we pray and what our prayers mean, and I gave him our prayer sheet while Kathy gave him a Rosary. He prayed the entire time and even knelt with us for the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. I felt bad when the bus came and he struggled to get up to catch it. I think his leg still hurts.

While we prayed the two strange looking women came out of the abortion center. I stood up to try to talk with them, but one of them shouted, "fuck you", and then began to mock me. Everything they said was crass and caustic. After that, they mocked our prayers and went into fits of laughter. A woman who came for an abortion stepped out of the clinic for a cigarette, and they ran to her and pulled her into the parking lot away from me. I told her that they cannot help her. They fired more insults at me. The poor woman did not know what to do so she went to sit in her car. I thought maybe we should say the St. Michael the Archangel prayer early! I kept my eyes on them the entire time and continued to pray facing them...for the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and on the whole world.

We gathered our things to leave, and Chris came to take over. He usually stays until the abortion clinic closes at 2 PM. As I walked to my car, the song he was singing at the abortion center door started to fade away, " ....Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, black and white, they are precious in His sight......."

Monday, May 15, 2006

I have been away for two weeks, spending most of that time at our annual trade show in Las Vegas. I notice on this trip that the Strip looks more disturbing than ever! Or maybe after all this sidewalk counseling, I am just more aware of how perverted the culture there really is. What about all that exploitation of women? Where are the feminist? Do they think men have the "right to choose" people as sex objects? Hmm...maybe sidewalk counseling to stop prostitution would be a good thing...the strategy would be the same as at abortion centers....offer better options (oh, and some clothes too!)

I started my first day back praying very earnestly during Mass at St. Martha's before going to the aborion clinic. I especially prayed to the Holy Spirit to diminish me so that He can use me as His instrument... His work, His disposition, His Words.

I was immediately met at the clinic by very hostile mothers seeking abortions for their pregnant teenage daughters. A few stopped to talk and took the referral cards to the CPCs, but most had some harsh words that they felt compelled to rifle at Stan and me. OUCH! When Kathy came our mood lightened up as it always does with her cheerful personality. We prayed, and then left. Chris took over. What a tough morning....maybe tomorrow the Spirit will diminish some of those hard hearts!

This morning, now May 16, I was alone for the first forty-five minutes because Stan was working for the Sisters of Charity. A young Hispanic girl pulled in to the parking lot driving a red Element. I approached her and she stopped to talk with me. She told me that she thinks she is pregnant. I asked her if she is here to arrange an abortion. Her face fell and she asked me if it is still an abortion if she is only two or three weeks pregnant. When I told her yes, and showed her how her baby looks at three weeks, her eyes filled with tears. She told me she could not ever have an abortion. We talked about it, and I gave her the information for the CPC, including directions. She said she would go there immediately, but when she left the parking lot, she went in the opposite direction. I suspected that she went to pick someone up to accompany her.

There are a lot of men today. I feel like telling them, "Hey ....be a MAN, take responsibility for what happened and protect her and YOUR child!" But I don't say that because if they are willing to hurt their girlfriend and child, they might hurt me too. I do tell the woman, right in front of him, that by bringing her to an abortion clinic he obviously does not love her or care about her. Most men take off leaving her all alone, and then when it is all over, she calls on her cell phone to be picked up. His problem is gone, her's is just beginning.

I was approaching another young Hispanic girl just as Kathy arrived. She stopped and we talked while standing part way in the driveway. She is considering an abortion; she is confused and frightened. She wants a pregnancy test and ultrasound. Her name is Sandy. She said she cannot embarrass her parents with this pregnancy. I assured her as a parent myself, that after they go ballistic, they will get over it and help her. Clearly, she does not want an abortion. We talked about how easy it is to rationalize doing something that is obviously wrong when we are trying to get out of a tough situation. I told her about a good CPC that will help her. They will even council her on how to approach her parents about this big news. She asked me to tell her everything that would happen to her inside the abortion clinic. I told her in detail. She looked at me and said, "I am going to cry." I asked Kathy to join us. Kathy was very good with her. She is kind and gentle, but very matter-of-fact. Sandy listened intently, and asked questions. She believes in God, and Kathy told her if she does God's will, He will help her. We talked more about help available for her.

Suddenly, we were startled by a loud honking horn. Sandy commented how rude that was. I told her that the rude person in the huge silver Lincoln Continental honking at us is the abortionist. She looked at Kathy and me in disgust and said, "he must really hate you." Then Sandy noticed Chris with his gigantic pictures and asked me what they were. I told her they were gruesome aborted baby pictures. Sandy asked me if she could see them. That surprised me, so I called Chris over and he showed her the pictures and he spoke to her as well. Sandy agreed to go to the CPC. I called the director, Laura, and she said she would take care of our Sandy. Sandy left to meet with Laura. The abortionist, Dr. Ann, called the police to report that we were blocking his driveway. He does hate us.

A red van pulled in to the parking lot by the bar. I waited for them to come out of the car, but they just sat there. It was obvious that they were coming to the abortion clinic. Kathy and I started praying, and after a few minutes, the red van left. Thanks be to God. Hopefully, they will never come back here.

As Kathy and I finished our Rosary, and started the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy on our knees, the young Hispanic girl who drove the red Element returned. I was very disappointed that she came back to the abortion clinic. My hunch that she went to pick someone up was right. Her young Hispanic BOYfriend came towards me. I told him that I talked with his girlfriend and that she does not want an abortion. He smiled and told me that they are having the baby. I told him that I know he is lying to me because I can see the guilt written all over his face....and of course because he is here! I showed him where to get help, and sternly told him not to force her to have an abortion. I told him that she is scared and that they will hurt her here. He stopped smiling. He went back to the car and she came to the sidewalk. I approached her and she put her head down and ran past to me to the door. After Kathy and I finished praying we walked to our cars and looked back to see her with the white folder, which is the twenty-four hour notice packet to prepare for the abortion. Hopefully, Kathy or I will be there if she comes back for the abortion. He is pressuring her.

It is now Wednesday morning, May 17. Laura said she is counseling Sandy. She is twenty weeks pregnant! Laura is the real counselor, she is the expert. I don't like the term sidewalk counselor, we are really more like sidewalk intercessors.

The Hispanic girl in the red Element did not come back for an abortion. That is such good news. The people in the red van did not come back either. Today is a slow day for the abortionist. Most everyone that came took our referral card to a CPC. Some left without having an abortion, and some left without the dreaded white 24 hour notice folder.

I should be elated about Sandy. But instead I am troubled about how difficult it is to talk with a girl/woman who arrives at the abortion clinic with her mother, boyfriend, or husband. I can see that she does not want the abortion. But she is in a position where she has no control. She is not treated like a person, she is an object someone owns. I suppose that is similar to a prostitute in Vegas. She is not treated like a person either; she is rented out by an owner as a product to use. If grown up walking, talking, thinking, persons can so easily be treated like objects, what chance does an unwanted unborn baby have?