Wednesday, November 2: 3pm to 7pm shift
The face of the Planned Parenthood building is dark, bland and the labeling sign is hard to read. People looking for the site often walk by and have to come back. When they return, they stand in front of the doors and peer up at the sign trying to be sure they have the right place. We vigil keepers are sure that this is the wrong place for anyone for any reason.
On the other hand, the 40 Days for Life volunteers are clearly visible. Although some people pass by not “seeing” us, we engage at least 50% of the passersby. These 50% are grateful, curious or offended about our presence. Hooray. We pierce the silence Planned Parenthood persistently pursues for abortion.
Our Wednesday third shift was as eventful as we have come to expect. Katie and I began by praying with the Devotional for the day, today written by Father Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life.
Putting ourselves in God’s care, we have learned to ignore the well intentioned remark of so many friends to, “Be safe.” What does that mean? St. Peter cautioned Jesus about the safety of Jesus’ decision to go to Jerusalem. St. Peter grew along that continuum all the way to his own crucifixion upside down. Hooray. Peter pierced the foolishness of the “wisdom” that cautions disciples to “be safe.”
Noticing a young woman passing us and crying, Katie and I joined hands and prayed for her. Shortly after, another young woman walked up to us. “Don’t you know that your standing here, looking so hard hearted, frightens young women who really need the services of Planned Parenthood? They are just looking for birth control help. I am not pregnant and I need their help to stay that way. I have no children. Actually my nieces and nephews are a joy in my life.” And then, the other young woman who passed just before, returned, still crying. These young women were friends and were together. Eventually it came out that both had had abortions. Both reported that things were going badly for them. They wanted to talk. Since we were there and holding the “Silent No More” prolife signs they knew they could talk with us. As they left after about 20 minutes, one young woman apologized for thinking we had hard hearts.
We have learned that people want to talk about abortion. We have learned that very many people want to talk about abortion and long to discuss their experiences with it as the mother, father, grandmother or grandfather or aunt or uncle of the baby trapped as the “problem” in the crisis pregnancy.
The shift progressed as people walked by and thanked or rudely remarked. About 2 people per shift walk quickly by after a fleeting glance at us and say something like, “as if God existed….” People intuit that abortion is all about people and God. Be safe and kill that “problem.” Go out on a limb and carry that child.
As the shift came down to the last minutes, a weary middle aged man leaning on a cane stopped. “My 22 year old daughter was living with an older man. When she became pregnant he told her to get rid of that “parasite” growing in her.” Fortunately, the young woman told her parents. They brought her back to live with them and she is now 6 months pregnant. Her father accepted our handout sheet with information about pregnancy support. This loving father is a retired boxer and has cancer. He told us he would have gone around to see that man, but his wife and daughter needed him home and as strong as possible.
Here is a photo from today, taken by Marlene: