July 9, 2005I had tears in my eyes reading this young man's email. I thought I'd never get to know who he was.
My name is Bob Jones [not his real name]. I'm a fan of the site, and a regular visitor. I'm also this guy:One of our men holding the I REGRET LOST FATHERHOOD signs was a lone, 22-year-old college fellow, handsome as a movie star, quiet and reflective. The pain was so evident on his face. He'd come to the group all by himself. Said little to anyone. Perhaps his buddies wouldn't understand or had already laughed at him for missing his little boy or girl who he'd never know. We only learned his story at the very end of the day, walking back to the hotel, as he offered to carry my friend's tripod and camera case. My heart just broke.For the record, I vehemently disagree with the movie star comment, but anyway. Right now I am going into my second year of law school, and I'm the president of our pro-life student group. I'd like my name and mention of the college left out if this email is used in any way. I just like to be overly cautious about doing stuff in the name of our group when it’s really a personal request.
My college is over 80% Catholic, and the Campus Ministry / community is pretty phenomenal. The law school has a small group of very dedicated and close students trying to reclaim (claim?) its identity as a Catholic law school. There's a sense that the administration is a bit self-conscious about it, and a stronger sense that the students I speak of aren't going to stand for that. We have the help of some superstar professors and heads of both the Religion and Law Departments.
I think I found your blog accidentally. I googled the march for women's lives looking for either pictures or for written accounts, and I think it brought me to Aa. I really don't remember, but needless to say, I was surprised to see I was mentioned there. VERY unexpected. Actually, I think a friend of mine told me to check out Amy Welborn's blog, and she may have had a link to one of the stories, and I saw that you had a link to the account of the march for womens lives, and read it. The short version is: God thought I should know about your blog, and He made it so.
I think it was this fall , and since then the blog has been in my favorites. I check it every few days to see what's up, and I always find it's full of wonderful resources and insight.
I've been active in many activities involving policy and legal work, and until now I haven't been as involved in some of the more service-oriented efforts. Today was the first time I stood outside of a clinic here and prayed. It was tough for me to stand there and not grab the kids by the shoulders and say, "Please don't make this mistake!" But I've learned that zeal without wisdom is folly.
I'm writing because afterward, I looked at the literature some of the counselors were handing out, and it simply wasn't the right stuff. I didn't want the young lady I had been with to have her abortion, and I spent long hours arguing over it, but I still accompanied her, and gave her half of the money (I figured if I didn't she'd have an excuse to ignore me). I just think of what information or what words at that time might have changed her mind, and the brochures were not written for the immediacy of the moment (actually, I think they were out of others that were more appropriate).
I think I remember reading that you do some sidewalk counseling. I was wondering if you or your readers have come across good literature to hand off in the last moments before the girl walks in that our student group would be able to use in our upcoming efforts (currently the law student group doesn't do sidewalk counseling, and we're hoping to change that), and also what the best resources are to learn how to do it properly.
Alternatively, if there isn't anything that comes to mind, I think post-abortive individuals have a significant opportunity here. I'm thinking of a pamphlet with real pictures of post-abortive women and men and short statements in big letters of what we would do if we had that moment again, and the reality of the aftermath in contrast to what they might have been told. The emphasis would be on brevity and simplicity.
I feel like whatever is in their hands should say up front what we know they need to hear, and they probably haven't yet, which probably isn't statistics and information about the procedure, although that is important (maybe the end is better). I wanted to tell them that they're blessed in that moment, because they still have the chance to get up and walk away—they still have the chance that I and the young lady that was with me will spend the rest of our lives wishing we had back. I wanted them to know that the people right outside the door would help them and that I know how they scared feel, but this isn't their only option. A big thing to offer would be help talking to their parents. At 19, it was fear of telling our parents that drove her to it, and led me to think that I had to handle what I was going through myself. I'm ashamed that I didn't tell them all of this today, but I'm looking forward to God helping me grow and giving me the chance to do more, and I trust that my prayers were just as important.
I'm wondering if you or any readers know of literature that addresses the immediate needs and emotions of the woman walking through those doors. Like “impulse buying for life.”
If not, perhaps you or your readers know some people who would be interested in helping put something like that together.
Thank you for your help and your wonderful efforts at After Abortion.
I know many of you will have suggestions and some even create such material. Please chime in, all. Thanks.