Friday, October 15, 2010

Hitting Close to Home

I was on my way home the other day, taking the route I normally do, when I saw something I'd never seen before. It was a group of people on the side of the road. They were holding signs; some with pictures, others with slogans. The pictures were of babies, smiling and happy, the kind marketing whizzes use for infant related products. The slogans said things like "I'm an American. I have rights, too." I had no idea who these people were or why they were standing on some random point next to a busy street. Out of curiosity I pulled over and approached the group. I was told by a white-haired, older woman that they were members of various churches across the state and were taking part in a peaceful protest against abortion. I almost laughed when she said this, not because of the subject matter but because of their odd location. I asked why they had chosen this particular spot--there wasn't any sort of facility that provided abortions near.

I've always considered myself to be very open-minded. I've never contemplated having an abortion myself, but I have lots of friends who did and it never bothered me; it was their right. So why the woman's response to me seemed to freeze some part of my soul, I'm not sure.

"That building about 50 feet behind us is an abortion clinic," she said.

I couldn't do anything but stare back at her. I think my reaction was taken as hostility because I noticed a few of the members bristle. I managed to get out one word; "what?" I was five minutes from home. Five. I passed this grouping of buildings every day. I had never known there was an abortion clinic so close to where my family and I live. "Oh, sweetie, you didn't know that?" the white-haired woman said, looking like she wanted to hug me. But before I could answer, something happened that I will never forget.

A man and woman, maybe in their early 30's, stormed up to the group. "What the HELL do you think you're doing?!" The woman looked like she wanted to rip the heads off of every single one of us. "You have no idea--NO IDEA--what it's like to need to terminate a pregnancy and to have YOU F****** PEOPLE out here judging us!! Who do you think you F****** are?!"

I was shocked. This woman was enraged. I started to back up, worried physical violence would be the next recourse; but the rest of the group stayed put, just looking back at the abrasive couple. The man began yelling at this point, I can't remember what he said--I just know his face was as red as his wife's. I was waiting for one of the group to respond with yelling and swearing of their own, but no one did. They spoke to the pair in calm, even tones. This didn't faze the woman at all. Her words became more vulgar, her manner more agitated. "I had an abortion! I had an abortion! Are you going to judge me?? Here I am, go ahead! I was 19! I had just graduated high school, I was too young to know what I wanted in my life! I would have made a shitty, shitty mother! I didn't want the damn thing! Do you think it would have been better for a baby to have a mother that didn't want it?!"

That was when it happened. The man, who had ceased his yelling, suddenly turned to his wife, grabbed her shoulders, and screamed into her face; "I WANTED IT!! I wanted my baby!! YOU KILLED MY BABY!" The man, tall and muscular, who looked like he could take on the world, collapsed on the sidewalk, sobbing. His wife appeared to be in shock--she stood staring down at her husband, completely silenced.

Something broke inside of me. I began sobbing, as well. I turned and ran as fast as I could back to my car. The five minute drive home was the longest of my life. I kept seeing that man trying to speak through his gut-wrenching sobs. I couldn't wait to walk into my house and just hold my three little ones; couldn't wait to hug my husband and tell him how much I love him.

This happened a few days ago...I'm just now able to write about it. I can't describe the impact it had on me. I see the "termination of pregnancy" in a different light now. After witnessing the incredible pain that man had carried around with him for years, after hearing him yell out "YOU KILLED MY BABY!" I just can't help it...I see abortion as murder.

I know this is a controversial subject. I know so many women would be furious beyond words to read my conclusion. And maybe those women could convince me otherwise. I don't know. I do know, however, that this issue deserves more than a passing thought. It's not enough to simply say "I don't really have an opinion on the matter." It is a serious, life-altering issue. One I will never view in the same way again.

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