Thursday, June 29, 2006
Between work and car problems it has been difficult getting to the abortion clinic to sidewalk counsel these past two weeks. Last week, I was there three mornings, and this week only two mornings. The good news is that business seems to be down for the abortionist. Hurray!
Very few Muslims come for abortions in this predominately Muslim neighborhood. So, last week when a Muslim man and woman came on to the sidewalk headed for the abortion clinic, that took me by surprise. She would not look at me, but he took my card with information on where to go for free health services at a CPC. He came out of the clinic to smoke. I followed him to the bar parking lot. I asked him if he brought her for an abortion. He said, "Yes, but she is my friend's girlfriend and he begged me to take her here." I know that is a lie! I asked what he thinks about abortion. He told me that he is a "man of God", and does not agree with it. I asked him if he feels that he is an accomplice to the killing by bringing her here. He shrugged. We talked some more, and he told me he will try to get her out of there and leave. He did! Other women took the information we distributed, which Kathy designed. Some turned away, and some went inside. Most of the girls and women come and go in tears.
Tuesday was very slow, thanks be to God. I was there alone early on. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man coming down the sidewalk towards me. I don't recall seeing him before. As I would to anyone, when he got close, I greeted him. He moved as far away from me as possible on the sidewalk, put up his hand, and said in a loud mean voice, "Get away from me, you are evil!" His eyes were popping out and he actually looked frightened....of me? He was a large man....how could I possible hurt him? He kept on eye on me as he walked on as if I were going to cast a spell on him. Soon after that, Joe, Richard, and Jane arrived and we started our prayers. Only three women were in the clinic. A mother and daughter came out and left. They did not have time for an abortion, and they did not have the dreaded 24 hour notice envelope. I walked beside the mother, and she finally agreed to take my card.
Today I encountered another unusual situation with a man at the abortion center. I was working away trying to get women to leave to go to a CPC. Few were very responsive to my conversation attempts. Stan was with me wearing his sign that says, "Pregnant? Call 800 No-Abort" I always watch to see who is pulling in to the parking lot. I saw a man pull in who was alone. That is strange. I watched him get out of his car. He was a big muscular white man with sunglasses and a confident gate. I thought, "Here he comes, he can hardly wait to harass me." His shirt had a police patch. I waited for him to approach me. He whipped off his sunglasses, and stepped too close to me. I would not back up. I smiled and said hello. He told me that he drives by us all the time and today he felt compelled to stop and let us know that he supports us and our ministry. Shame on me for being so cynical!
His name is Jim. He stood close to me because he wanted to tell me something personal. He told me that he brought his girlfriend to an abortion clinic twenty years ago, when he was 21 years old. He has been struggling with that guilt and regret ever since. He has talked with a priest, and confessed. This big strong man had tears in his eyes. I listened to him becuase I could tell that he wanted to tell his whole story without being interupted. When he finished I asked him if he would stay and pray with us. Kathy, Katie, and Debbie were coming towards us. I gave him our prayer sheet and offered him a rosary. He smiled and said no thanks, I am a Knight of Columbus, and I have my own rosary. He knelt with us when we prayed the Chaplet, which he knew. It was great to have him pray with us, and I am sure it helped us be more noticable as witnesses from the street to have this great big muscular man pray his rosary with these four little women and Stan, who is not much bigger than me. I hope he comes back to pray with us again. We prayed for him.
Next week Tuesday is the Holiday. We think the abortionist will only close on Tuesday, but we will call. Afterall, he was open on Christmas eve, so what would he care about the Fourth of July eve? Before we leave the abortion center, we always pray Fr. Frank Pavone's prayer called The Prayer for the Closing of an Abortion Mill. A part I particularly like says, "...We pray, then, for the least among us, the children in the womb. Protect them from the violence of abortion. Give new hope to their parents, that they may turn away from the desperate act of abortion. Grant conversion to the abortionist and to the staff. Show us how we are to respond to the bloodshed in or midst....." That is what Jim did......he responded to the bloodshed in our midst!
Monday, June 19, 2006
Last Friday, Teresa Tomeo of Ave Maria Radio, interviewed Alicia Wong and Ed Miller on their sidewalk counseling experiences. I did not hear it because I went to the abortion center to join Meg to talk with women before the door unlocked at 9:00AM. Laura from the Lennon Center heard the interview. Alicia and Ed had worked to shut down Dr. Alexander's abortion center in Ann Arbor. It did close, but he now opened up for business in Ypsilanti, and they are currently working there.
Our world is the Schaefer abortion center where Kathy has been working daily for ten years. She has established a relationship with the Dearborn Police so that we can maintain a peaceful presence there by abiding by their rules. Abortionists have come and gone under her watch. Kathy knows them all, and knows the staff. It is part of her ministry....to evangelize, convert, and pray for them. She does not denagrate or disparage them. Stan and Chris have been working there for a long time too. Richard, Joe, Jim, and Jane always come to pray. I am the new member, and they have welcomed me as part of the team. The team also includes Laura from the Lennon Center, who is very important because ultimately our goal is to send the women to her. We are not really sidewalk "counselors" we are more like intermediators. Laura is the counselor.
When I came to join Kathy on the sidewalk five months ago, I had no idea how much this work would affect me. I had no idea how much I would learn from her about God, prayer, abortion, sin, evil, and about people who live on the street. I learned a lot about myself too. Another person who has helped me, even though I did not think I needed any help, is Laura. She helped me to stay focused, and gave me encouragement when I was frustrated and disappointed. She said I should never leave that place discouraged. She said I should leave thanking God that He allows ME to be the one to help do His work, and thank Him for letting the women see His light shine on them through me. What an honor! Laura told me that many of the women who come for an abortion have insurmountable problems, and they want to hurry hurry hurry to solve this one of many problems by a quick and "easy" abortion. Also, she stressed that we do not know what God's plan is for these women, or for us, and we must trust in Him because it is Satan who wants to thwart our efforts by discouraging us. My pastor, Fr. Browne, also gave me encouragement by telling me that he thinks God has sent me there. He said, "When I look at you, I see..." I thought, oh no, he is going to say...."a big fat sinner" or "an over zealous evangelist"...or "someone who needs lots of help". But he said, "When I look at you, I see a wonderful transformation." Whew what a relief; I almost laughed aloud at my insecurity! God knows I need these wonderful people.
Friday was a slow day for the abortionist. Most of the women took Meg's and my information. Meg did not want to stay there alone, and I had to rush off to work in Grand Rapids. Fortunately, Chris was coming towards us just as I was leaving.
I was happy that Stan joined me this morning. Two young white girls came to the door. They took the card I gave them with information for help, but they would not talk. A black couple came to the sidewalk next. They both looked distraught, and they both took the information. I sensed that there was tension between them. He came out for a smoke. I asked him if she is pregnant. He said she is having a pregnancy test. I asked him if he would be the father. He said he did not know. I talked about how nice it would be to have a baby so close to Father's Day. He said she might abort. I told him how badly that would hurt her, he looked down but did not reply. I asked him to consider using the information on the card for help. He went to stand by his car, and she came out to join him. They argued for awhile. I moved away to give them some privacy. They quieted down, and left. She did not have a white 24 hour notice folder. She was holding my card. We prayed they will not return.
A young girl went in alone. She hurried in and would not talk with me. She looked very upset. I smiled at her and gently suggested that she come back out to talk when she is ready. She did not come back out. Others took information, some went in the center, and some left. Kathy was there to help and to lead us in prayer. She designed our prayer session. It is perfect. The three of us prayed the Rosary, Chaplet of the Divine Mercy on our knees, and other prayers. I am not sure what else could be as humbling as praying on my knees at a busy intersection in front of an abortion center. I think it is powerful, and I would not do it any other way! We pray for certain people and situations. Often, the people on the street and even the people inside the abortion center come out to ask us to pray for their special intentions.
They can hear us praying in the waiting room. And believe me, they wait a long time. There are no appointment times. The door opens at 9:00AM, and everyone just sits and waits until the abortionist is ready to see them....and their baby. They hear us pray for forty-five minutes....."blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus...."...evangelize, convert, pray.
Friday, June 09, 2006
We are a little community. There is more to us than just tne interaction between the sidewalk counselors and the abortionist's customers. There is the interaction between sidewalk counselors and the neighborhood folks. Let me see, there is Connie, Charles, Carl, and now Jamie who comes to talk with us before getting on the bus to visit her boyfriend.
Connie has physical and mental problems and she is lonely, Charles's leg always hurts and he has some financial problems, Carl is homeless, and Jamie told me she is poor but she kept her babies. I have learned a lot from them. Although they struggle more than most with various hardships, they do not despair, or complain. I believe God brings His Dearly Beloved Son to me through these friendly and caring people. They are a witness to me of His love, they are the face of Christ.
Every person took my referral card and information to a CPC today. All but two women left. One of them was a Hispanic women accompanied by a man. I tried very hard to talk with him. He would not look at me, until I asked him if he is Catholic. He shot me a hard look, but would not speak. I took that as a yes. He quickly went inside the abortion center. The other woman never came back out; she is alone.
I felt bad calling Kathy to check up on her because she was not here this week, and this place is really her turf. She is on vacation, refreshing herself before coming back to fight in the battle. We talked a bit about the women who refuse to accept the truth that the life inside of them is a separate person from themselves. They do not have four eyes, four ears, two noses and in half of the pregnancies, a penis! They deny personhood to the fetus, they reason this by rationalization, not by truth and honesty. Kathy has been sidewalk counseling for ten years. She heard my frustration and she advised me to read Mark 6. "If any place will not receive you or hear you, shake the dust off your feet..." Ah yes, just the encouragement I needed to keep on keepin' on.
Chris came with his huge gruesome aborted baby pictures. I looked at him and gasped. His face was a mess. Yesterday he got into a "discussion" with a woman who just walked out of the center after her abortion. She was headed to her boyfriend's car; he was in the driver seat. She told Chris that God understands abortion, then Chris quoted Bible passages to her refuting that. They argued. Then the boyfriend attacked Chris while she kicked him when he went down on the pavement. The police came but Chris won't press charges. I don't know why Chris does that. She already had the abortion. The abortion center atmosphere is highly charged and very intense, emotions are raw. We all know that what we do puts us at risk of being hurt, but we are careful. Chris is so confrontational that he increases the risk for everyone. He has been attacked several times.....his face will heal....this time. I am concerned for Chris, and troubled by this incident.
Stan and I prayed the Rosary, Chaplet of the Divine Mercy on our knees, and other prayers. Chris moved away, as always, while we prayed. The two women did not come out of the center. After praying, Stan walked me to my car while Chris took over in front of the door singing and preaching about Jesus. I said hello to a man working on a traffic light as we walked past him, and I thought it was odd that he did not respond. Seconds later he called out to us and said, "Wait a minute, I want you to know that you are doing the right thing here, and you should keep on keepin' on." I looked at him and said thanks, and saw the face of Christ once again.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
This picture represents open adoption; a loving and honorable alternative.
Today was one of those sidewalk counseling days when you just can't help shedding a few tears for the babies and mothers at the abortion center. Sometimes I wonder if a mother would have changed her mind on death for her baby if only I would have said more, or said less, or said something different. For example.....
Two young white women came to the sidewalk. They took the CPC information and listened to me only as far as it took them to get in the door. One of the women left. The other, Jenny, came out for a smoke. She told me she is pregnant and getting an abortion today. She has three other children. We talked for a long time.....two cigarettes worth. She said she cannot afford another child. I talked to her about adoption, and she said she could not give her baby away. I told her that since we both agree that she is carrying a baby, then as a mother, she must believe that giving her baby to a loving financially stable couple is the right choice over killing her baby. I also gave her information on where she could get free pregnancy care, and financial help for her other children. Then she said that her baby will go to heaven and be with God and she will see her baby one day. I told her that it is not God's will for her to have an abortion. God has a plan for her baby, and for her as the mother of four children. I had to say to her that what she is doing is so offensive to God, that her place in heaven is not assured. Besides, I asked her what she would say to her baby in heaven? Would she say, "Hi, I am your mother. You know, the mother that did not want you, did not love you, did not name you. Instead I killed you and your broken little body went into a jar that was tossed in a dumpster in an alley behind the abortion center." She said that it is God's fault that she is pregnant, and that it is His fault that there are abortion clinics. I said, "Come on Jenny, you are smarter than that and you don't really believe that this is God's fault." I reminded her of our free will to choose to love God or turn away from Him. I asked her to tell me why she REALLY thinks abortion centers exist. She shrugged. I told her they exist because mothers, like her, keep them in business. I asked her to change her mind, to do the right thing, go and get her money back. Do God's will, not her own will. Her chin quivered, she said her minister told her that it would be alright to abort. I challenged her that he NEVER said that. She admitted he did not. I told Jenny that she would never regret having her baby, but would forever regret an abortion. She agreed, put her head down, and tears fell from her big blue eyes, down her pale cheeks, and on to the sidewalk. She is very petite, and very pretty. I told her that she must love her three very cute children and would love this baby too. She took one last drag, then threw the cigarette butt so that it landed with all the other hundreds of butts in the weed bed by the door. She went back inside.
Other mothers came and went, and all of them at least took my information. A man came to pick up the white 24 hour notice folder. I asked him if he was planning to bring someone here for an abortion. He said yes as he walked to his car. I told him that she will get hurt here, and that he should protect her from a place like this. He drove off.
Connie, who lives in the neighborhood, came by to visit. She has diabetes, and is bipolar. She likes using my cell phone. She is lonely. I enjoy talking with her. She told me all about her health problems and about her sons. I love Connie. I thought she was unaware of what we were doing here, but then she told me that her doctor advised her to abort her sons because of all her health problems. She pointed to the abortion center door, and said, "that is so wrong!"
A mother and daughter came towards me. They were smiling and I greeted them. I asked if she is pregnant. She said yes, and she came to pick up her ultrasound. I asked if she is planning an abortion. She looked shocked, and said no. She said she is having financial difficulties, but she is very excited about having the baby. I told her about the Lennon Center, and her mother encouraged her to go there for pregnancy help. Her husband just left for Iraq. She suddenly realized that people stopped at the traffic light were looking at her. She asked me why people were staring at her. I told her that they think she is here for an abortion. She looked at her mother and said....O my gosh, let's get out of here!" I wish they would all say that.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Here is a great picture of a tiny little person! This morning was a bad morning for tiny little people at the abortion center. I think there was at least four abortions today. A black man in a van drove up, and out popped a perky young white girl headed for the abortion clinic door. I stopped her and she talked with me briefly and took my CPC information. She told me she was having an abortion today and giggled about it; clearly a nervous reaction. He never got out of the van. He played a loud rap CD. During the "chorus," which was repeated often, he turned the volume even louder so that everyone in the neighborhood could hear the words, "She's a Bitch."
Cars were pulling in one after the other. Next came a white couple. He was literally pulling her in the abortion center door by the hand. They would not talk to me nor take information. Just as they went in the door, a black woman came on to the sidewalk. She listened to me, took the information and went inside. The man she was with came to the sidewalk. I asked him if she is his friend. He said he is her cousin.....ummmm....maybe....maybe not. Anyway, I told him what would happen to her inside this wretched place. He was polite, listened, asked a couple questions, thanked me, and walked away to smoke. That was useless.
An older white woman brought her daughter for an abortion. They were both very upset. I spoke to them, but they went inside. After only a few minutes, the mother came back out. I followed her to her car while talking with her. She told me that her daughter had several miscarriages, and doesn't want to go through another. WHAT??? I asked her if she thought having the baby ripped out in pieces would be less traumatic for the mother and child than a natural miscarriage? No response. I asked her if she believes in God. She said yes. She did not respond when I asked her who gives life and takes it away....her or God? Finally, she said that having the baby could kill her daughter (a lie). I told her having an abortion could kill her daughter. As she got into her car, I asked her to please get her precious daughter and grandchild away from the hands of this abortionist. She drove off, leaving her precious daughter to experience an abortion all alone.
Stan arrived. I was happy to see him. Then, down the street, I saw Chris coming with a young black girl that he brought with him to help. Kathy did not make it today, so Stan and I started praying our various prayers, rosary, and Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.
Afterwards, I spoke with the young black girl, Anna. She is about four feet eleven inches tall and eighty pounds. She is twenty-two, but looks more like fifteen. Anna shouts at people, and is very harsh. I am concerned for her safety. Actually, I think she is wasted, but I don't know what she is on. Maybe I can ask Chris tomorrow. Suddenly the white couple came out. She had an abortion. I gave HIM a card for counseling for her. She whirled around and told me to fuck off and shut the fuck up. He was speechless. I told her that I am sorry that HE upset her so badly by bringing her for an abortion.
Stan, as usual, walked me to my car. When we got there, I turned around for one last look at the abortion center. I only saw Anna, holding up one of Chris's aborted baby pictures and twirling around like a ballerina. Anna has a problem.