A Smile I will Never Forget
Charlie Heie and I had just set up our signs at the abortuary, said prayers at the front door and taken positions about 50 feet away on each side of the entrance when an SUV pulled in near the place where Charlie was standing. A middle-aged couple got out bringing a young girl after with them. “Oh-oh,” I thought, “Another couple dragging their teenager in for an abortion.” The girl looked very young – about 14. She had long, blonde hair and was weeping profusely. Also exiting the SUV was a young boy about 17, possibly the girl’s boyfriend. As they approached the clinic Charlie offered the father a flyer about the “deadly duo,” relating that both on-site abortionists had allowed women to bleed to death during abortion. The flyer was refused, but Charlie delivered its message to them verbally. As the group was about to enter the door of the abortuary, I approached offering the same flyer to the mother with the same results; in words laced with profanity and a warning to stay away from her daughter. However, while the mother berated me, the girl grabbed the flyer from my hand and took it into the mill.
I was really upset seeing what was happening to this child and even thought of calling the police. I had done that on another occasion; unfortunately, by the time police interviewed the girl she had calmed down and supported her mother. I continued with my prayers while trying to hand literature and give verbal advice to others going into the abortuary. About 45 minutes later (before the abortionist arrived) the mother and her daughter came out and walked toward their SUV where the father and the boy who had come out earlier were waiting. The girl turned, looked back at me and gave me the biggest smile I think I have ever seen and for sure will never forget. I walked quickly up to them and tried talking to the mother again. She responded with profanity, accusing me of judging the girl when in truth, the parents were judging their daughter and administering the punishment. I offered the girl our usual pamphlet describing the problems associated with abortion, stages of fetal development and a list of pro-life resources where women can receive help. The girl took it and held on to it even though the mother tried to take it out of her hand.
After the family left, the receptionist came out of the abortuary and approached us in a friendly manner, extended her hand, gave us her name, asked ours and said we should not tell people that the women killed by the abortionist died there. I told her we were careful not to say that and showed her our flyers as proof. She then accused us of blocking or touching women and said she had recorded this on their camera situated near the front door. She stood about two inches from my face. I said, “Show it to us as it is not true.” I think they were pretty upset with the little girl holding our flyer, crying for 45 minutes in the reception area and then leaving.
About 15 minutes later two teenage girls came to the clinic. Jeanne Nolan, the Saturday sidewalk counselor, had dropped by to give me her computer to be repaired. Charlie intercepted the girls and sent them to Jeanne (good timing!). Jeanne counseled them well and offered to take them to Birthright. As she said, it was an easy sell. Jeanne had to go to work after taking the girls to Birthright so she asked us to pick up the girls after we left the abortuary. Both girls were indeed pregnant and were receiving counseling from the Birthright women when we arrived. We waited until the counseling was finished and while one of them picked out maternity clothes. We took them downtown and left them near their homes. They said they needed to walk around for a little while.
I told the girls we would be praying for them and gave them each a rosary telling them (non-Catholics) how it would help them and why they need to pray for themselves.
Charlie, Jeanne and I were very happy with three saves plus that beautiful smile I had received and will never forget - from a very happy young girl.
A Very Heart-Warming Turnaround
at the Abortuary
As a 20-year-old woman accompanied by an older woman approached the abortuary, Gail began speaking to her. (We have a rule that if a counselor is talking to a woman, no one should interrupt her.) Gail spokefor about 15 minutes, going over all of the literature we provide. (She learned the young woman was scheduled for an abortion. The “mother” was taking both sides, warning the young woman and explaining the negative side of abortion, yet at the same time, reminding her that her father was disabled, and they could not care for a baby. She led the young woman to the abortion mill while talking out of both sides of her mouth, as they say.)
Showing them her information, Gail described the dangers of abortion to both women who were listening intently at this point. She made them aware of the many sources of assistance available to them. Since they would not consider keeping the baby although they could receive help caring for it, Gail spoke with them about adoption, the loving option, and asked me to step over to tell them about my adopted grandchildren because Gail knows how much I love those kids. I soon realized she would never allow her child to be adopted. She said she was adopted and (rightly or wrongly) really never forgave her birth parents for giving her away. She lives near my home town so I gave her my card with a phone number and told her we were there to help as we always promise. She was appreciative of this. She is single and lives with her adoptive mother.
I asked how many weeks into her pregnancy, and she said thirteen. From my pocket I took a thirteen-week fetal model of a baby and handed it to her. Gail noted the young woman just melted. On her face was a look of amazement, tears and everything else combined. Afterward, Gail and I wished we could have had a movie of her expressions. I talked about the baby's development, beating heart, fingers and toes, expressions etc. Her adoptive mother claiming to be neutral, continued pulling her toward the door, urging her to just go in and check it out. Gail advisedher once she was in there, the staff would try to persuade her to have an abortion. She could go to another facility close by for an ultra-sound, and it would be free.
It was extremely hot with bright sunlight, and the young woman was feeling weak, so she sat on the stoop of the abortion mill. The pro-lifers all tried to talk to her and her adoptive mother. Both women listened, but the young woman insisted she at least wanted to go into the abortion mill to see “the movie.” Pro-lifers wondered what she meant and thought she might have been talking about an ultra-sound. Celia gave her pro-life information about a local pregnancy center where she could have a free ultra-sound. Father Jack also talked to her. All of the pro-lifers tried to keep the young woman thinking in positive terms. The air was thick with prayers out there!
Unfortunately, she persisted with the movie in the abortion mill, and her mother said she should go inside to see it. Pro-lifers admonished the mother, telling her she should guide her daughter in the right way, not lead her into a dangerous abortion mill. Against our advice, she finally went into the abortuary with her mother. Father Jack paced up and down in front of the abortuary praying the girl would not go through with an abortion. All of the pro-lifers prayed intensely.
The young woman and her mother came out in about ten minutes. Both were smiling, and the girl was weeping as she smiled. She came over and hugged me, saying she had changed her mind. Luckily, I happened to be standing right there. It is always great to witness a save and better yet to be involved in one.
Everyone gave her a hug. Pro-lifers exchanged phone numbers with the young woman and her mother. Charlie gave her a small baby gift set, and Gail took her into the Hope Center next door for some baby items, where Melissa was very helpful. She wanted to get some baby items. Father gave her a rosary and some faith information.
Thanks to God, the counselors' counseling, visual aids such as the rubber fetal model, pro-life documentation, the visible Hope Center and the pro-lifers’ intense prayers, the young woman chose life!
A Very Unusual Save
I was sidewalk counseling alone outside the Hagerstown abortuary until Angela showed up. I say alone, but there were three women there (deathscorts) to make sure I did not give any literature to or talk to any of the women coming in for an abortion. After about an hour, Angela arrives with her two children. I feel like the Marines have landed. Angela wipes out the opposition with fervent prayer for all to hear and witness. She is on her knees, praying loudly and waving her hands like no one else. Her children hold up ‘Stop Abortion’ signs while she prays.
We had only five women enter the abortuary, and one came out before the abortionist arrived. The time indicated there would be no more women coming into the abortuary, and all we could do now is try and talk to the women as they came out.
Angela had to leave, but before she did she gave me a chair to sit on as I had been on my feet for three hours. After she left, I took it across the street to sit in the shade and wait for post-abortive women to come out. There was an open parking spot, so I had full view of the abortuary. Unknown to me, at about 1:30, one of the women inside the abortuary asked her partner if I were still outside. Her partner looked out one of the abortuary windows and could easily see me across the street, though she probably couldn't have seen me if I were up near the building.
They both came out, walked across the street, sat down on the curb next to me and said they needed a good person to talk to while they waited for the abortionist to show up. He was late, and they had 45 minutes to wait. I thought, “Great! I have 45 minutes to talk her out of it.”
The woman (I will use the name Louanne) was crying but adamant about having an abortion. Her partner was the only one who took literature on the way in today and she still had it in her hand. I asked Louanne if she had read the literature. She said she had looked at the pictures. I told her about the negative effects of an abortion on the woman (she had already seen the pictures of an aborted baby). She was really solving one problem today (she believed) but getting multiple new ones in the future. Louanne listened to everything but insisted it was not as bad as having another child.
She already had two children (ages two and three) and had horrible morning sickness, had just started a new job, etc. She just could not have another baby. She was single. She showed me pictures of her two children. I told her she really had three children. She told me she was 11 weeks pregnant, and I told her I just happened to have an 11-week old baby in my pocket. I gave her the fetal model, and it hit her pretty hard but she had previously seen a sonogram of her baby (not at the clinic) and was still adamant about having the abortion. I gave her a card describing the baby’s maturity at 11 weeks. She read all of the information and said, “Well, he won't get any bigger after today.” She held the fetal model in her left hand as she stoked its tiny features with the index finger of her right hand. She then gave the baby to her friend to look at. She was still adamant and still crying.
I asked her if she would kill any of her other children instead of the baby. She said a friend asked her the same thing. She was still adamant about the abortion and still crying. Her friend went to the car to get more tissue.
Meanwhile, I am trying to find out more about her. She talked about coming down from Pennsylvania to Hagerstown as the Pennsylvania abortuary was too far away from where she lived. She talked about seeing a “Life is Precious” sign on a church bus on the way down here and it really broke her up. She told me about her father trying to talk her out of the abortion. She was still adamant and still crying.
I told her the story of the couple caught in a flood, and a guy came by with a canoe and they refuse to leave saying, “God will save them.” The story goes on about men coming by with a big boat and finally a helicopter and they have the same response. When they finally drowned and went to Heaven, they asked St. Peter why God didn't save them, and he responded, "Well we tried to save you three times." I told Louanne that God has tried to save her more than three times. The Pennsylvania abortuary was too far away, they get stuck behind the church bus, the abortionist is 45 minutes late, the fact Angela gave me a chair, I never sit on the opposite of the street and I wasn't supposed to be there today, anyway. I told her, “God's angels were busy and he sent me.” She was still adamant and still crying.
I took a picture of Sophia, my two-year-old, “adopted granddaughter,” out of my pocket and showed her. I told her the baby was adopted, and her natural mother had been in an abortion clinic three times before she finally got the message. She let someone adopt rather than have her killed in an abortion. I kept pushing the fact God is giving her a message. She was still adamant and still crying.
Finally, I took a crucifix out of my pocket and showed her what Christ did for her, and why can't she put up with some morning sickness for him? I think I was getting to her, and she asked her friend to call her father. They talked on the speaker phone, so I was able to hear what he said. Her dad told her to trust in God as well as many other things. She finally handed the phone to me and wanted me to talk to him. Her father told me he has been trying to talk her out of having an abortion for the last two months. I told him about the abortionist, what he was like, how many women had died because of him. We have all the facts – it is on the Internet. I told him how the uterus is easily punctured when the abortionist is scraping out the baby parts etc.
He thanked me for what I was doing and talked more to Louanne. She finally told me and her father she is going to keep the baby. She is going to get her money back.
Her friend gave me a little hug and a big smile and said, “She really is going to keep the baby.” Thank God! I ran over my 45 minutes and was running out of ammunition.
I told Louanne I wanted to see that little baby next June, to give me a call and we will meet right here at the clinic. I gave her a big hug and made her promise. She said she would bring all three of the children. She has my name and phone number and her dad has my email address.
God is good!
An Unusual Day at the AbortionCenter
Sidewalk counselors are an unusual lot. Some call them crazy, and I believe they are – a little bit anyway. They stand on the sidewalks outside abortion clinics trying to talk women (and girls) out of aborting their babies and they have only seconds to do this amazing task. The following is a story about an unusual day at one abortion center:
We try to have three sidewalk counselors at the abortion center. One stands near the front door, and the other two stand about 75 feet away. The object is to try to speak to a mother as soon as possible while she is walking to the abortuary. We try to give her literature and information about the help available if she keeps her baby and problems that can occur as a result of the abortion. We try to talk about the woman, not the baby. We place two posters on each side of the abortion center about 40 feet from the door, indicating the number of women killed by legal abortion (the names of many are written on a tombstone). We cannot block or touch a person entering the abortuary. We can only talk and try to offer literature. We offer free help, pregnancy tests, adoption services, etc. We have the local crisis pregnancy center, Birthright, lined up before we start, and their information is on the flyers.
At this abortuary, we have learned the identity of the abortionist and have developed a flyer on him. We even have his picture and accounts of court cases where twice he allowed a woman to bleed to death because he did not know what to do after he punctured the woman’s uterus. This flyer is a big help if we can get them to read it. Even if they won’t take the flyer, we tell them about the abortionist.
Some of our sidewalk counselors are very good. My friend, Dick Retta, has dissuaded many from abortion even before they left their cars. He is fantastic! He counsels at several sites in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland. He has had as many as five “saves” in one day (more than once). Most of us are about one-tenth as good as he is. The entire experience is humiliating as you fail, and fail, and fail, and fail, and frequently you are cursed by the woman and her friends. Sometimes you are threatened by the boyfriend as he does not want to pay child support. These men care not at all what happens to the woman. Ninety-five percent of them drop the girlfriend following the abortion. They don’t want a girl friend who will likely get pregnant.
At this site, we have very few of those we call prayer warriors -- people who pray the Rosary across the street from the center. I think the local people have become discouraged by their lack of success and simply gave up. We have only recently begun our activities at this center and have been successful, so now we are working on getting the prayer warriors to come back. A Catholic school and Church are less than a block away; hopefully, we can get them motivated.
At a recent morning of sidewalk counseling, Dick approached a Hispanic couple coming to the clinic. They brought with them a 17-year-old girl who spoke both English and Spanish. The couple only spoke Spanish. While Dick tried to explain the flyer in his best Spanish, I talked to the girl. She had a child of her own and didn’t want the woman to have an abortion. I gave her a flyer about the abortionist and quickly went through it e.g. the abortionist she would see had already killed two women. I then told her the woman was a beautiful woman (she was) and her baby would be a beautiful child. I showed her a picture of my beautiful adopted granddaughter who I told them was saved from abortion. We spoke of other aspects such as the free help from Birthright, however they said they had an appointment and must go in. I gave them each a Rosary asked them to pray about this. Dick asked them to cancel the appointment and come back out. They went in, but did not come out.
About half an hour later two women in their 30s came down the sidewalk and looked at the tombstone sign. They asked questions, so I explained our mission and described the abortion center and the abortionist. I gave them flyers and even a 12-week-old, life-like fetal model we often give out. They couldn’t believe women would go through with this as they had children of their own. They appeared sympathetic to our cause. Just then, the Hispanic couple came out with their friend and headed across the street to their car. I told the two women, “That is a save!” The women were so excited they ran across the street to tell the couple how happy they were for them. One of the women was crying with joy.
About 30 minutes later, Dick had another save. He talked to a couple before they got out of their car. The man had motioned to Dick to come over to his car to answer a question. The Holy Spirit was there for Dick on this one, and Dick did a good job. They never left the car but drove off, then drove around the block and gave us a big ‘thumbs up’.
We have reached the end of this day. Just before we started packing up our signs, a young man, obviously homosexual, came up to another sidewalk counselor, Chuck Edgar, and began telling him he disagreed with our signs. Then he turned to me and said, “How can the button on your jacket be true?” “It says, ‘You can’t be Christian and Pro-Choice?’” I asked him, “What part of ‘thou shall not kill’ don’t you understand?” He came up with the usual clichés which we quickly refuted. Having run out of clichés, he says, “I bet you hate me because I am homosexual.” Chuck says, “No, we love you as much as anyone else. We just don’t approve of your sin.” I pointed out that a homosexual life style would probably shorten his life by 20 years. I told him it is an illness with a 75 percent cure rate, the same as any other mental illness. He countered by saying the Psychiatric Association says it is not a mental illness. I told him this was political correctness that is killing million of homosexuals. I also informed him about an organization called Courage that helps homosexuals. He seemed very interested and wanted more information. I told him that everything we had told him could be found on the Internet. He thanked us and left. His name is David, and we told him we would pray for him. Please add him to your prayers!
Even when we don’t have verifiable ‘saves’ we are witnesses for Christ. Our large sign “Abortion Kills Children and Harms Women” is seen by about 5,000 people a week as it is on the main route through town. Many people see us praying in front of the abortuary, and we get many ‘thumbs up’ and “Thanks for being there.” Of course we get those gestures telling us we are number one, and we always respond by telling them we will pray for them.
Three Saves in One
It was a regular downpour when Angela and I began sidewalk counseling at the Hagerstown, MD, abortuary. The abortuary wasn’t open yet, so Angela and I were standing under the awning on the stoop at the adjacent building to keep dry. About this time a mother and daughter drove up and parked down the street. The car had West Virginia plates, so it was easy to assume the girl was there for an abortion.
When we saw the mother and daughter get out of the car we walked over to intercept them. Angela spoke first while showing them our flyers. The mother seemed interested and was listening. I suggested we enter the adjacent building to get out of the rain.
While we spoke we learned the girl was19 years old, her name was Megan, and neither she nor her boyfriend had jobs. The boyfriend didn't care if she got an abortion. Megan was living with her grand mother who did not want her to get an abortion.
Megan admitted she wanted an abortion so she would not lose her figure. Her mother told her this would not happen as she did not lose her figure when she was pregnant with Megan.
Although Megan’s mother did not want her to have an abortion, sheprovided the money and drove her to the abortuary. discovered Megan’s mother had an abortion at the same place many years ago, has become Christian since then and regrets the abortion. She told me the name of the church she attends, but I was not familiar with it. She said she wished someone had been outside of the abortion clinic on the day she arrived so long ago.
Angela was going through the flyers when suddenly, Megan’s mother took one of them and showed the picture of an aborted baby to her daughter. The mother was visibly shaken, and her hands trembled as she held the paper . I am sure she was thinking of her own abortion. She asked her daughter if she wanted her baby to look like that. The mother then continued through the flyers as if she were one of us, describing the risks of abortion both physical and emotional, now and in the future.
I had my coffee cup with my three year old granddaughter’s picture and I told them how the girl’s birth mother was ready three times to abort her before she finally chose to give birth to her and give her to my daughter for adoption. Megan smiled when she saw the picture of my beautiful granddaughter. I told her my daughter wants to adopt again and would gladly take her child.
Megan’s mother did most of the talking. Her daughter didn’t want to hear anyof it. She wanted to go out to the car, but her mother insisted she stay and listen. When I went outside to get a fetal model from my car, Angela told the mother that cooperating in the sin of abortion and expecting to be forgiven was the sin of presumption and worse than the sin itself.
The mother also told Angela she had been praying the night before for a something to happen so her daughter would not go through with the abortion.
Angela said, "There you go! This has been an answer to your prayers."
Angela later offered to take Megan to St. Mary's to pray and told her how beautiful and inspiring the church is, but Megan’s mother knew she would not go.
When I returned I asked Megan how many weeks along she was, and she said, “I think I am nine weeks.” I then showed her the fetal model and indicated her baby was just about the size of the model, with eyes, nose, ears, toes and fingers plus a beating heart. (Her mother later said this was the clincher for Megan.) I gave her the model which she later gave to her mom.
We told them about all of the help available, including a pregnancy center in her home town. I gave each of them a card with my phone number.
Megan left first, after Angela gave her a reassuring hug and a CD of a recent, very inspiring pro-life talk.
After her daughter left, I gave her mother some information on healing for herself, another good flyer on the facts of abortion, and I also gave her a hug with the promise we would help her if she needed it.
We watched as Megan’s mother entered her car and handed her daughter the fetal model and told her, “Here, hold your 'baby'.”
After a “save” or a “near save” we usually do a “Lessons Learned” and ask ourselves, “What did we do right and what did we do wrong?” When I am by myself I usually say, “I should have said… I should have said….” This time we felt the flyers and the fetal model were the right materials, and we used them properly. I jokingly told Angela she should have told Megan’s mother that God answered her prayers by sending two angels to talk to her this morning, or at least one angel and an Angela.
A good triple save! A baby’s life was saved a girl was saved from a mistake she would regret the rest of her life, and a woman is on her way to being healed from a mistake she made many years ago and still suffers from.