Imagine you are a scared teenager who has just discovered you are pregnant by a boyfriend who adamantly tells you he’s not interested in raising his child. Maybe you’re a single woman whose married boyfriend finally admits he has no intention of leaving his wife and helping raise his child. Perhaps, you are too poor to take care of the kids you already have and you feel overwhelmed by the thought of having another. Or you trusted your contraceptives to make your sex life sterile and now you’re shocked to find out they didn’t work.
You have cried, begged, bartered, and agonized. Your situation feels hopeless and all that you can think of is wanting it all to go away. Someone offers you a solution. Maybe it’s the parents who threatened to kick you out or the boyfriend who wants to keep his options open or perhaps the guy who raped you; someone advises you to have an abortion. You know, just some out-patient surgery to dilate your cervix and rip/vacuum out the “contents” or some magic pills to force your body to dispel the little body growing inside of you. It’s just that easy; a bit of cash, some anesthetic or pills and your problems will disappear (at least that’s what they tell you).
Maybe you’ve always been okay with the idea of abortion or maybe you weren’t until now. Either way, this is a big deal for you. You are the one who has to go through it. You are the one who has to live with your decision forever.
You can do this, you decide. You can have an abortion. Lots of women have had them, so it’s no big deal, right? So, you make the hard decision and you secure a ride to the appointment. On the day of your abortion, you wake up early with your head spinning. Maybe you can’t eat anything because you’ll be under-going anesthesia or maybe your appetite is gone because all those pregnancy hormones have already kicked in leaving you with morning sickness. But you’ve made up your mind or at least it has been made up for you, so you are going to go through with this.
Just as your boyfriend cruises closer to the clinic, you see a commotion that looks something like a circus. Then you realize it’s all happening right in front of the place you need to be. There’s some lady with bright orange and crayon red hair standing next to the driveway. Next to her is a woman dancing around with a sign that reads “Everybody poops.” Then, you do a double-take because there are police officers and another woman holding a sign that declares, “Too bad I’m a vegetarian” right next to a picture of a dismembered baby. Is this some kind of macabre party that is being busted by the cops?
No, those “creative” people (the girl in her bathrobe and the hippie with his pants falling off) are here to help you in your worst hour. They want to comfort you and tell you that you have options. They want to share the truth with you and offer you a free ultrasound. NO, that is not their intention. That group of anti-lifers are enjoying the limelight by making a mockery of your horrible day.
This group that dubs itself Saturday Chores (SC) is full of contradictions and self-aggrandizement. Just read some of the coverage in online interviews and it doesn’t take very many lines into the articles to uncover the lies.
My family and I have prayed quite a number of times in front of the old abortion mill that closed (and is now a tubal reversal facility) on the other side of town, but this past Saturday was our first at the clinic next to Cary, NC. A notice of intent is required for groups of 10 more persons to gather for vigils/protests in this city and that means there are boundaries to abide by.* The police were required this weekend because the SC group found it repeatedly necessary to violate their boundaries. Two individuals crossed the street in order to intimidate one pro-lifer. They stood less than 3 feet from her and shifted positions every time she did. I suppose when they say, “We do our best to not talk to the pro-lifers” we should assume that that kind of taunting behavior isn’t expected to incite a conversation.
“Already, they’ve taken to putting their signs down when we show up, which we consider an important if brief victory,” their spokesperson says. Ummm, what can I say other than that is a blatant lie. If you want proof, look at SC’s own pictures wherein they photograph pro-lifers holding signs.
They made claims that they planned to show up early and take over the curb so that “they’ll (pro-lifers) have to squeeze into our ranks, as we normally do with theirs.” I guess they forgot about the permits when they said this. No worries, the police officers reminded them to step back to their assigned place this Saturday.
“While it’s true that we’re mocking people, we consider the chief value of what we’re doing the solidarity that we demonstrate for the individuals or families that need to use the clinic’s services for whatever reasons they may have,” stated the groups organizer. So back to that frightened woman in the car who feels like she has nowhere else to turn, is this circus helping her? Do the antics make her feel loved and empowered? Does she appreciate the cameras and attention called to the driveway as she enters? Maybe she hasn’t even told her family and now SC has pictures on the internet that show her silver car parked in the lot (oh, yeah and those pictures of her car aren’t only on the group’s webpage, they are also showing up on other sites like The Daily Dot). I suppose that’s solidarity, using a woman’s traumatic situation to drive-up hits on their tumblr page.
In all of my times praying at abortion mills, I have never once encountered the hate they mentioned. That would be completely contrary to the mission of pro-lifers. Sidewalk counselors have to abide by permit regulations so they can’t even legally prevent a woman from entering the facility. They can, however, present her with the facts and offer her options. There is a pro-life organization in Raleigh that does free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Pro-lifers offer this kind of information to scared and reluctant mothers. On the other side of town, the free pregnancy help center is proudly boasting two or more saves a week. That means at least a few mothers were shown the options and offered help and they chose to mother their babies rather than kill them. Clearly, not every woman walking into these abortion facilities wants an abortion.
I will offer one disclaimer. There is a so-called religious group that is attempting to shout their judgments, scriptural counsel and advice at confused women and that is always wrong. That is not charity. Angry tones and condemnation will not save children or their mothers in most cases.
|this is a baby at 8 weeks gestation (sure doesn’t look like a blob of tissue)
|Lastly, the SC group needs to go back to school and bone up on their science lessons. Apparently, these creative people have decided that they know when life begins and it isn’t anytime prior to when a woman wants to abort. Maybe they should offer to drive one of the reluctant moms over for a free ultrasound and see for themselves what a baby looks like before it’s shredded or dumped. Or they could just listen to an abortionist admit it for himself (HERE). Or read about it (HERE and HERE).
Abortion is no laughing matter. Not for those who value life in all its stages and not for the women who feel like it is their only option. Abortion has real risks, in the present (perforated uterus, uterine infection,hemorrhage, in addition to the dead baby) and in the future (prematurity in subsequent pregnancies, infertility, post-traumatic stress disorder). Women deserve all of that information. They deserve to know that people do care about their welfare and the welfare of their child. They deserve to know there are couples who would joyfully adopt their child. They deserve to know there are free services and aid to help them through their pregnancies as well as continuing help beyond the birth.
I am praying for the day when abortion isn’t legal. Really, I’m praying for the day when no woman wants to kill her own; the day when we all see human life for the gift that it is. The day when we recognize no one can be truly free when we are willing to deny the rights of the least among us and call it a “progressive view.”
*In the city of Raleigh, NC individuals may legally gather for prayer vigils or protests. This is considered “picketing” and only groups of 10 or more people need to be covered by a notice of intent which is filed with the city. A current notice was on file as of the writing of this post and individuals do not need to carry a copy with them. I urge others to answer the call to defend the sacredness of all life by volunteering a bit of your time to pray in front of your local abortion clinic. See your local ordinances for requirements.
** all quotes attributed to the SC group and photos referenced appear in an interview posted on The Daily Dot
(dated July 23, 2014)