Sidewalk Advocates for Life shared a video telling the recent story of a woman pregnant with twins who changed her mind about having an abortion. When the woman tried to leave the abortion facility, workers there refused to unlock the doors and let her go.
On her way to the abortion facility, the woman, whose name has been kept private, was having doubts. She made a silent promise to God in her car: if she was pregnant with twins, she would not go through with the abortion.
Lauren Muzyka, an attorney and the Executive Director of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, describes what happened:
So she goes to the abortion facility, she pays for her abortion, they take her back, she goes into the ultrasound room with the so-called ‘counselor,’ and the counselor says, “It’s two sacs.” And she about jumped off the table. And she actually told the so-called ‘abortion counselor’ the pact that she had made with God. And this abortion worker looked at her and said, “Well, if you thought that you couldn’t take care of one, how could you possibly take care of two?” Just pressuring her to go through the abortion. And she said, “I don’t know, I don’t know right now.” Her head was spinning.
The abortion facility worker told the woman there was something wrong with one of the babies. The worker said that the heartbeat of one twin was very faint, if it was even there at all. She told the pregnant mother that a miscarriage of one or both twins was likely.
Nevertheless, the pregnant woman wanted to leave the facility and let her babies live. The worker’s questions and probing for doubts did not sway her. She went to the front desk to get her money back and leave the facility.
So she leaves the room, and they tell her she’s got to go to the front desk to get her money. She goes to the front desk; they say, “You’re going to have to wait before we can refund the money. The doors are locked right now, so you’re going to have to sit over there in the waiting room until we get this taken care of.”
Long story short, they only refunded half of her money. Here I am listening to this story, and as an attorney, light bulbs are going off, and I’m going, oh my gosh, they held this woman there against her will. She said they told her in order to get her money back, she had to sit inside the abortion facility, and they said, “You know, you might change your mind anyway.”
They pretty much held her there against her will because she says, “I just want to get my money and go. I just want to get my money and go.” So she went up to get half of her money — because again they weren’t going to give it all back to her. … They said, “You know what, we’re going to keep half your money so that you have a down payment in case you want to come back and get your abortion sometime over the next couple of weeks.”
Stunningly, the facility was withholding this woman’s money in the hopes that she would change her mind.
Consider the words and actions of the abortion ‘counselor’ and the facility staff when you read the following excerpt from the pro-abortion guidebook, The Abortion Resource Handbook, which was written by a pro-choice author to help women through the process of getting abortions:
[C]ounseling and other services at pro-choice clinics are nondirective and nonjudgmental. Doctors, nurses, and counselors won’t try to talk you into doing anything you don’t want to do — either terminating a pregnancy or continuing it. … Instead, they will give you information on your options, talk with you about your feelings, and encourage you to choose the course of action that is best for you.1
This woman’s story is only one of many examples showing actual abortion facility ‘counseling’ to be very different than pro-choice supporters claim.
Muzyka describes what happened when the pregnant woman was finally allowed to leave the facility. She stopped to speak to a pro-life sidewalk counselor standing outside the facility in the pouring rain:
And her head is still spinning. She’s still thinking, How am I going to do this? Maybe I do need to come back. … But the person that was standing there after she left the abortion facility was one of our sidewalk advocates. And Laura had chosen to be out there in the cold, crazy rain. She said the rain was coming down hard enough to where you needed an umbrella. It was really cold. … And [the pregnant woman] was crying. Our sidewalk advocates said, “What’s going on, sweetheart?” and this young woman said, “I think I changed my mind.”
And our sidewalk advocate embraced her and said, “You made the right decision, and we are here for you and anything that you need, we will be there for you.”…
So she took her by the hand over to the local pregnancy resource center, and they did an ultrasound. And they saw both the twins and they determined that both twins were fine. Both of them had a heartbeat. We don’t know if this abortion worker lied; we don’t know exactly what went on. I wouldn’t put it past them, from what it sounds like in the story. And as she was leaving the pregnancy center that day, they loaded her up with diapers, formula, and absolutely everything that she needed.
Even if the abortion ‘counselor’ did in fact lie to try and convince the mother to abort her set of healthy twins, the abortion was thwarted, and the twins were allowed to live.
In this case, the sidewalk counselor was pivotal in saving the lives of these children. The pregnant woman later told Laura that had she not been there, she would probably have gone back to the facility and aborted her babies eventually.
But the pregnancy resource center was there to help her, and she was given the resources she needed to choose life.
There is one more important point to be taken from this story. Along with the sidewalk counselor outside the facility that day, there were a number of anti-abortion protesters who were yelling at the woman going in. Even before finding out she was carrying twins, the pregnant woman was feeling ambivalent about having her abortion. She had wanted to stop and talk to someone outside the clinic and looked for a friendly face. But the people yelling at her were so hostile that she was afraid to stop. She didn’t feel she could trust the people outside the clinic, so she hurried inside instead.
If the angry, yelling people had not been there, this woman may have never even entered the facility. It’s very sad to think about how many other women walked past the angry demonstrators that day and were afraid to stop and ask for help, even if they wanted to. Babies may have died that might otherwise have been saved. This is why pro-lifers should never, ever yell at women or show anger towards them outside of an abortion facility. It makes the work of the sidewalk counselors there much, much harder and may actually lead to a greater likelihood that women will go ahead with their abortions.
At the end of the video, Muzyka says:
As executive director listening to this story, I realized this is absolutely why we do what we do — why we work so hard, why we answer all these emails and these phone calls, why we work so hard to raise the money that we need so that this ministry survives. And you know what the amazing thing is? This is one of 1500 stories of mothers who have chosen life in just over two years.
Notes: K Kaufmann. The Abortion Resource Handbook (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997) 2