an After abortion

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Saturday, July 24, 2004

“25 Years Later, My ‘Choice’ Hurts Me Still...Let us help you & your baby. Right Now. We Care.” That’s the sign I take to the sidewalks outside the abortion center. On the other side is the “I Regret My Abortion” sign I held at the counterprotest in D.C. April 25 of this year. When I hold it up, the pole raises the sign about 8 feet off the ground, so it’s seen by all motorists coming and going on the busy downtown street, high above any parked cars.

Today, I got down there to find out it was closed. The clinic had moved abortions from Saturday to Friday, yesterday, as they sometimes do. I said a few prayers outside the place before heading off for home, a half-hour away.

Back when I first started going, I wondered how long I’d be able to keep doing this. I doubted that I should be there at all. The reaction I’d had that first day was enough to make any post-abortive woman stay far, far away. Why would I or anyone wish that on ourselves?

But on my second visit there, on Sat. Dec. 28, 2002, I believe God gave me another reason to keep going, despite the possible personal danger evidenced by an incident involving the police that same day. (Bear in mind, I hadn’t even heard of "Silent No More" at that point.)

This is what I wrote in my e-letter later that day:

“At the last minute before coming down here this morning, I’d grabbed some Rachel's Vineyard retreat (healing from abortion or miscarriage) brochures. I didn't really think I'd hand them out, but something made me take them today.

“As I stood at the curb for drivers stopped at the red light to read my sign, I made eye contact with a woman in her car. She read my sign, then looked down, pointed sadly at herself, and I could see her say the words, ‘Me too.’ She looked about to cry. I dashed to the median in the middle of the busy street, fumbling to get my gloves off in the frigid cold, reaching in my pocket to get the leaflet before she drove away. I grabbed some other literature accidentally first, threw it down on the grass with my sign and my gloves, and by now the light had turned green, but she rolled down her window, waiting, sensing something important was happening, and not a single car honked impatiently at her to go. This took a good 10 seconds of the light being green and her waiting. I finally found the Rachel's Vineyard leaflet, gave it to her and said breathlessly, ‘I went on this retreat! It's wonderful!’ and she took it, thanked me and then drove on.

This kind of thing happens more than I realized it would, ever since.

“Forty people came out to the streets to stand in the gap for the Moms and the babies today. Twelve women came for abortions. Nine African-American women, one Hispanic, two white. Four turned away. Eight babies died here today.”

It was shortly after that that I learned of "Silent No More" and was asked to be the Connecticut State leader.

The abortion clinic’s security guard was also arrested for breach of peace (plus a resisting arrest charge), earlier that day:

“A few of us were standing in a tiny, short sliver of an alley off the clinic’s property to the far side, completely behind a fence surrounding their parking lot and building, where we were last Saturday and many days prior apparently. The security guard, a very tall, very burly guy, told us we couldn't stand there, and the police officer, much smaller than the guard, told him it wasn't clinic property and as long as there was no complaint from the next door owners, we could be there. The guard then said we couldn't touch the fence or rest signs against it, so we didn't. But he kept angrily arguing with the policeman to the point of harassing him, calling him nasty names and cursing at him. The cop told him several times he was being disorderly and he'd better stop or he could be arrested. The cop kept going back out to the sidewalk and turning his back to the clinic, but the guard kept standing behind him, taunting him, saying he had no authority to arrest him. The cop warned him four more times that he was becoming disorderly and tried to take him by the arm gently and escort him back to the guard's own van inside the parking lot. The guard began shouting at the cop, 'Don't put your hands on me!' several times in a threatening way, shoving the cop's hands away. He shouted that the cop didn't know what he was doing and was a 'fat slob.' The guard then said he was going inside to call the Police Chief and complain, and the cop called for backup. The guard came back out shortly and loudly abused the cop more about how he didn't know how to do his job. The cop then told the guard he was being arrested, pushed him up against the chain link fence and told him to spread his legs, which the guard refused to do. Within seconds, four cruisers pulled up fast, lights flashing, several cops jumped out, guns drawn and had the guard in handcuffs in the back of a squad car almost before we knew it. I was questioned by the police since I was one of the ones in the alley and heard and saw the whole thing. We also had the entire thing on videotape.

“We are hoping it doesn't lead to repercussions against us. We really didn't do anything wrong.

“It was really so stupid. There was no reason for the guard to keep harassing the policman like that. It was like he was looking for a fight. He escalated it probably just to try to draw attention to us and try to implicate us for something we didn't do. He even kept saying that we were the ones trying to prevent a legitimate business from operating, but not one of us was even anywhere near the driveway opening which is the only way to even get close to the building. We are always 100 feet or more away.”

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