There were sixteen clients in and out of the abortion facility yesterday. Twelve were there for abortions. A dozen abortions. Twelve pre-born human beings were killed in the womb. Some from as far away as Delaware. The parking lot was so full that people began to park in the driveway, blocking traffic. [They had to come out and move their cars later.]
The weather was freezing. Although it was warmer compared to last week, the wind was coming up off of the river and piercing right through our coats, gloves, and scarves. It was a difficult day to stand outside and offer help to women.
We all prayed for strength to continue. Mary prayed particularly, "God, please let there be one life saved. It will be worth standing in this cold if there is just one."
We didn't know if that prayer would be answered. Committing the outcome to the Lord, we faithfully reached out to every person entering Hillcrest. We told them all that we were there with free help for them and their families.
Alison* is 21-years old. She walked right up to Mary, who was praying at the front of the building, and told her that she was here for an abortion. Mary was surprised to have someone so talkative about such a personal thing. She talked with Alison, and learned that Alison had just been dropped off further down the street, hence why she was walking in. She also learned that Alison was fourteen weeks pregnant, and was not interested in getting any help. Alison said she respected Mary's opinion, but didn't want to have it forced on her. She walked inside with a brave smile.
At the end of the day, Alison was the last client to leave Hillcrest. Her friends, who had dropped her off, were nowhere to be found. And Alison had no coat on! So she came over and sat with Mary and other team members in front of our propane heater in the garage. Alison talked freely about her experiences inside Hillcrest.
"I had an abortion at 18 at Planned Parenthood. They weren't nice to me, so I came here this time." Alison told Mary. This time Alison said all the staff were kind, except for Dr. Thweat. He yelled at her while doing the abortion! That was the only time she cried.
Mary told Alison that she is sorry about her pain, and about the two abortions. Alison shrugged it off, saying how she had no other options. Alison's mom left her when she was a child, and Alison suffers from anxiety connected to that. Her Dad isn't supportive either. He threatened to kick Alison out if she didn't get an abortion. The father of the child was not with her.
"I've had a rough childhood." Alison said. "That's why I'm studying to be a social worker! I want to protect kids from what I experienced. And at least I'll be able to relate to them in that way."
Mary and the others told Alison that they love her, and will do anything that she needs. Not knowing where her friends were, Alison was worried about how she would get back to her home (which was more than an hour away). Without second-thought, our team immediately told her we would drive her anywhere she needed to go.
Mary also shared the gospel with Alison. The kindness and generosity of the pro-life team there obviously touched Alison. Before she left with the friends who did return, she told us this:
"You guys are so great! I am so glad to know about your support.
If I had had this kind of support before, maybe I wouldn't have made such a negative decision."
She left with the same brave smile on her face that she came in with, but she had teared up while listening to the loving words of Mary and the others. Kindness made a difference in her life, and we pray that it will profoundly impact her in the future. We pray that she will find true healing and peace through the Christ-centered resources we gave her. We pray that she will receive the gospel.
Shannon* is another young woman who came for an abortion on Wednesday. She was there with her husband and two baby daughters (3 and 1). She was 10 weeks pregnant with her third child. This family couldn't figure out how to take care of another baby, and so had come for an RU486 abortion to end the life in Shannon's womb.
When they arrived in the alley, there was nowhere to park. They were idling in the alley, so Becky walked over to the window and asked to talk to Shannon.
Becky talked over the options that Shannon had. She also shared about the risks and consequences of the RU486 abortion process. Abortion can have severe psychological consequences which are long lasting. The RU486 abortion can be particularly devastating because the mother will deliver the dead child at home in many cases.
"I just poured out my heart to her." Becky told me later. And Shannon heard her.
After talking with Becky at the car for almost half an hour, Shannon agreed to go with another member of the Undefeated Courage team to Life Choices, a local pregnancy resource center!
While there, Shannon got an ultrasound and met with a counselor.
We didn't know for sure what the outcome of the whole effort would be. We kept her and her family in prayer as they looked at the ultrasound and learned about all the support that Life Choices can give them.
At the end of the day, the counselor texted Becky. She texted to thank us for bringing Shannon. Without our presence, Shannon wouldn't have even known about the free ultrasound at Life Choices. Then the counselor texted to let us know that our prayer for just one has been answered.
Shannon chose life for her baby!
"This is why we do what we do!" Becky yelled, jumping for joy in the alley.
*Names Changed to Protect Annonymity