This struck me from the very beginning days of my prayer time on the sidewalk. And it’s been even more pronounced lately as escorts at our local abortion facility have seemed more…aggressive, I guess you could say, about “protecting” their clients.
Going in, the clients seem to get the royal carpet treatment of sorts. A woman begins making her way up the sidewalk and the yellow vests come out in throngs, surrounding her, encircling her to keep her from hearing the words of life we want to offer her in those last moments before the point of no return.
I’m sure escorts would say they must do this so that the clients are not tormented by the dangerous protestors (their sentiments). But it seems to me that the encircling by vested escorts would frighten the women just as much as those quietly standing there with signs saying the rosary.
This sealing off of the clients might seem heroic, but it isn’t really, because it denies the clients a chance to hear words of life spoken by those who have nothing to gain, no profit to be made, from their vulnerability. Who is more trustworthy here, really?
If we prayer-ers were a true threat, I’d understand their purposeful protective stances, but something about it seems misplaced. And just as bothersome — and transparent — the encircling only happens on the way in. Once the client goes through with the abortion, little attention is paid her. Often, she quietly slips out, not an ounce of eager assistance in sight.
Today, one of our pray-ers who has been through abortion called them on it, telling the escorts in a mild but firm voice, “I hope you will hold their hands on the way out, too.”
In my hour of watch today, I witnessed one woman going in and another coming out. The contrast was dramatic.
The client going in was unaccompanied, until crossing the street toward us. At that point, the yellow vests were moving, and soon, had engulfed her. As she stepped inside, the escorts were laughing, saying things like, “Isn’t it a great day today?”
One of my friends took issue with the laughter. How can anyone be so callous? Even those who claim “choice” cannot say that abortion is fun, that those who would be so desperate as to seek it would be singing a happy tune. Can we at least agree abortion is not a happy topic? That it’s, instead, deadly, and sad? This doesn’t seem a stretch to me.
The client on her way out had hailed a taxi and she slipped out rather unobtrusively as most do. The escorts clearly noticed her, but that was about it.
Which kind of makes sense, right? What would you say, after all? “Thanks for your business, have a nice day?” On some level, the awkward silence seems completely logical. And yet, it also points to the reality of what has just happened, and why celebration should be far from anyone’s mind.
“We care about you bunches on the way in. Not so much on the way out.” This is the message that speaks loudly from the escorts. All of us pray-ers have noticed it, and commented on it.
It’s short-lived compassion. Once the money has been collected and the girl out of recovery, she’s released…into the cold world, with the life that had been moving and thriving and growing no more.
No potential for that life to bless her, not to mention the many people in her life. No potential for that life to save her, as we have heard countless times from mothers who have kept their babies even in difficult situations. No potential for that baby to look into his/her mother’s eyes and say, “I love you, Mommy,” wiping away all traces of doubt in an instant, permanently.
It’s not possible, not with that soul, not until heaven anyway.
“I’m sorry honey,” my post-abortive friend said to the client on her way into the taxi, who clutched a little brown paper bag. “I’ve been there; I know what you’re feeling right now.” The girl had a nervous grin on her face as she stepped inside the cab, but I’m glad she at least heard it. I hope it brought her a moment of connection; that she saw us not as enemies, but fellow mothers, sisters.
Words of love is what we want to give, and we’ll speak them whether the women are on the way in or out. If we could, we’d follow them home and tell them where they can receive post-abortive healing, and get assistance with reversing the brokenness that has led them to this grave decision.
“I’m sorry.” “We love you.” “God bless you.” That’s what we tell the women, on the way in and on the way out.
They are not a number to us, not a paycheck. They are of inestimable value just because…they are. And thank God they are.
Lord have mercy on us in our blindness and in the hopelessness that leads us to desperation. Help us be there for your precious children, no matter the direction they’re heading.