News from the Trenches
We had about 15 to 20 prayer warriors throughout the morning, as well as four sidewalk counselors. There were also three security guards, and the security company’s supervisor came for a short while. The guards seemed intent on figuring out how to get rid of the sidewalk counselors, but were frustrated because we never do anything illegal. The scene has gradually transformed from them threatening us by saying, “I’m going to call the police,” to us saying, “If you think we are doing anything illegal, then please call the police.” They have called so many times that they have lost all credibility with the police, who are required to respond to each call. They are like the kid who cried wolf too many times.
Today there was the usual mix of responses from the women going in. Some were receptive, some were polite but not interested, and some were defensively rude to the point of threatening violence. One man in his late 20s, covered in tattoos, took the first flyer about the doctor’s history of litigation and probation, and responded with, “Thanks, if he does anything wrong, we’ll sue him!” He laughed about our “protest” and said he wasn’t interested in any of our (expletive deleted). Sadly, he brought his girlfriend — who had a 6-month-old baby with her — in for an abortion. Her friend carried the baby up into the clinic with them. One can only hope that the presence of this precious baby inside the waiting room touched someone’s heart.
One of the counselors spoke with a couple who had parked close to the elevator. The counselor told the woman, who was in her early 30s, about the litigation history of the abortionist. She seemed very interested, and paused with caution. When the counselor explained some of the risks and side effects of having an abortion, and showed her a picture of a pre-born. 6-week-old baby, she said she already knew about this, and that she works in the medical profession. He told her she would experience emotional problems, but she had no sign of emotion or conflict on her face. She gave a cordial “thank you” and went upstairs.
Another couple had parked some distance away, and a counselor approached the car and motioned for the woman to open the window for a flyer. She told the counselor she had a 3-year-old child already, and listened carefully for about 15 minutes as the counselor told her about the abortionist, the risks of an abortion, and the trauma she was likely to experience. The woman seemed to be struggling with the decision, and thanked the counselor for the information. Sadly she went up to the mill a few minutes later.
The counselors had kept their eye on a van that had parked near them shortly after their arrival. The couple stayed inside the vehicle with the windows rolled up, talking, and occasionally embracing each other, obviously in conflict over what they were about to do. The counselors usually wait for the people to open the car door before approaching, so as to not appear aggressive, or invading their privacy. However, one of the counselors felt that after about 45 minutes in the car, they needed some nudging and encouragement to choose life. So the counselor approached with flyer in hand, and motioned for the women to open the window.
She opened the car door and the counselor offered her the flyer about the abortionist, and began telling her about how much she would regret having an abortion. She told the counselor that she had another small child already, and that she was not ready for another baby. She said she was about 7 weeks along. When the counselor showed her a picture of a 6-week-old pre-born baby, she grimaced, and turned away, but took the picture. She could not ignore the reality of what she saw, but did not want to face it. Her face showed the emotional strain of what she was considering.
The counselor told her, “If you feel this conflicted about it now, you are going to feel 10 times worse if you go through with this,” After some more discussion, the counselor offered her a Rosary. By now she was looking away in tears, but listening to what was being said. Still looking away, she held out her hand, and the counselor placed a pink Rosary in it, and told her he would pray for her. He told her to do the right thing, and drive away from this place. She closed the door, and we prayed intently for the next few minutes. The brake lights lit up, and the van backed up and drove away.
At the end of the morning, when one of the counselors was starting to leave, a couple drove up and parked. The counselor greeted them as they came out of the car. They were both 21 years old, and not married. The girl looked worried, and had guilt on her face, with the appearance of being caught in the act of doing something shameful. The counselor explained all about the abortionist, and the risks and emotional trauma they would experience. He told them they would probably not last as a couple if they did this. The counselor told the girl that some day if she had another baby, the abortion would come back to hit her like a ton of bricks the first time she held her new born. The counselor told the young man that it was his responsibility to protect his woman and his child, and that they were a family now. He was told that this could be the only son he would ever have, and to stand up and be a man.
Neither one of them had family in town, and they both worked. They both seemed moved by the reality of what they were about to do, and listened for about 15 minutes. During this, two of the guards came over and interrupted, asking the couple if the counselor was harassing them, and that they were free to go upstairs. The young man told the guards, “We’re fine,” and motioned them away. After a while, the man thanked the counselor and said they would consider all of this, but wanted to go upstairs and see what the doctor had to say about it. They were cautioned that the abortion clinic was only interested in their money, not their physical or emotional well-being. The girl was told that it was never to late to get up and walk out, even if she was on the table. The man nodded in agreement. They went upstairs. We had to leave before we had a chance to see if they came back out. It was in God’s hands. We pray they chose life.
— The sidewalk counselors of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants San Diego