Just read Emily's post about all the boyfriends/husbands/abusers who exert pressure on their partners/victims to abort children the men don't want. Em's right: I don't think any abortion clinics screen for this either. They don't want to lose that steady revenue stream.
The post brought me back to many couples just like that who I've seen going into the abortion clinic in my state where I've gone to offer alternatives and concrete help to the women. (They switched the one day I could go, Saturday, to Fridays, but my many good-hearted, baby-supplies-warehouse-stocking friends are still out there each time.)
One case in particular, though, stands out in my mind. I wrote about it in early 2003 in my newsletter:
TUES. FEB. XX, 2003, BRIDGEPORT, CT, 7-10am: I was late arriving today, so I missed the arrival of a certain frightening-looking couple. My friends told me that the man, the father, had covered his girlfriend's face with a hooded jacket and kept her from even being seen by the sidewalk counselors as they rushed into the abortion clinic, him gripping her by the arm and practically pushing her along.
I only saw him later, as he emerged alone and walked to his car, escorted by the large security guard. "Unusual," I thought. "The guard never walks dads to their cars." The young father had a large hood over his head, slouching forward so I could not see his face. I was ten feet away, behind the chain-link fence in the alley, as he arrived at his car.
As he unlocked his car, I implored him not to allow this to happen to his unborn son or daughter or to his girlfriend in there. Respectfully, quietly, I then asked him, "Sir, is that your son or daughter? If it is, did you know your baby is already able to feel pain, right now?"
I stopped short, nearly gasping rather than offering help as I usually do, because the young father, in his early 20s, quickly looked up, glaring hotly right into my eyes, and for the first time I could see his face. I will not say what was on his face, to avoid identifying him to anyone, but I felt I was looking into the face of Satan himself. My eyes widened as he stared hostilely at me, saying nothing. I met his gaze and did not look away, but I instinctively leaned back from the fence.
He had permanently altered his entire face to look as terrifying as he could possibly look.
As he entered his car and closed his door, the guard put an index finger to his lips, shushing me not to speak further, whispering, "He's SCARY!" The guard is a six-foot-three-inch, huge, burly black fellow, not too shabby in the intimidating department himself. As the father drove away, I replied to the guard, "I'm not afraid." He said, "YOU didn't hear what he was saying inside that he wanted to do to you all out here!" I said again, "I'm not afraid, Darryl." The guard replied, "I just don't want to have an incident." I told him, "There will not be any incidents."
I prayed the rest of the morning for the girlfriend and her baby inside the center, and even for the father who looked like the devil. I could not get the image of his face out of my mind. I prayed that night, and for days afterward, that his girlfriend would not be controlled or under any spell of this apparently dangerous-looking young man, that she would break free and find help. I prayed for him, that he would realize that God created him too and would take him back, if only he sought Him honestly someday. I prayed that the girlfriend was not being abused or otherwise damaged by this man. I prayed that someday, maybe 10, 15, 20 years from now, she would be out there like I am, offering to help women make the right "choice" and save them from a life of guilt and grief.
Saturday came, four days later. Back at the clinic. A young girl came up to some of us on the sidewalk, saying, "Do you remember the man who was here Tuesday with the scary face? I'm his girlfriend! Please help me, he lied to me, he kicked me out after I had the abortion, and I need help." She talked with Marilyn, Carmen and others for awhile. They told her they would help her get the help she needed, and then she prayed with them. Really prayed with them. As she walked away, with contact numbers for help and new friends, she crossed herself and I could see her calling upon Jesus' name.