This past Sunday, we shared a story about a young woman who spoke to 40 Days for Life volunteers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and told them, ?Thanks to you, my son?s alive.?
Some stop to say thank you because they chose life. Others also stop to talk ... even though their abortion appointments had a different outcome.
I have said many times that the vigil in front of an abortion center is a sign of mercy to the mothers who?ve just had abortions ... and I believe it. It can be a sign of mercy to the fathers as well ? even years later.
Kathy, the local 40 Days for Life coordinator in Columbia, was nearing the end of her prayer time on an unusually cold afternoon. A young man walked up to her and said, "Thank you for being here.?
He then blurted out, "My baby died there."
With a sorrowful expression, he told his story. Seven years ago, he begged his girlfriend not to abort their child. Despite the urgency of his pleadings, she refused to listen.
Kathy described how women were processed for their abortion appointments. They were lined up on the sidewalk while security guards checked them in and took their phones. Perhaps his girlfriend may have had second thoughts, but was pressured to continue.
He said he?d come to know Jesus just before his girlfriend found out she was pregnant. Kathy soon learned that the clean-cut, nicely dressed, well-mannered young man she was speaking to had once been a drug dealer. But Jesus had come to his rescue ? ?not once,? Kathy said, ?but twice.?
The second time was when his grief over the loss of his child became unbearable.
This man is now married and looks forward to being a dad. ?I gently reminded him that he is a dad; and that his child is in heaven and that with God's grace, he would meet him some day,? she said. ?I told him that his baby knew he wanted him-- that he tried to save him and that his baby loved him. He left with something to think about.
Still, Kathy said, the loss he suffered will be with him the rest of his life ? just as the loss will remain with everyone who had been to this Planned Parenthood facility for an abortion.
?I think often of the 800 babies lost each year for so many years and I think of the 800 moms and dads each year who are hurting,? Kathy said. ?And I think how sometimes God brings them to the sidewalk looking for healing and comfort and how all of us are there for them--with love and never judgment. I thank God that I was there that day and that the sidewalk wasn't empty. God truly works in mysterious ways.?
This Planned Parenthood office no longer does abortions. But it still refers women to other locations that will abort their babies. So the need for prayer ? and a peaceful presence ? remains.