Peddling the Religion of Death
I decided to write about an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago outside our local abortion facility. This is a story you might like to share with friends or family who think that sidewalk counsellors harass and intimidate people. I know of some (otherwise) very good priests who believe that falsehood. Perhaps they would also benefit from reading this or other stories like it.
It was my first ‘early’ day; the pray-ers always arrive around opening time (7:30 am) and a sidewalk advocate tries to be there at this time as well. This particular week was my first time there on this early watch.
It was a new experience for me to see the carpark fill up and to see the doctor arrive in his Audi. I had a greater opportunity than usual to offer help to the women who came with their husbands, partners, fathers, mothers.
There was the couple I spoke to separately: the wife quietly declined any help; the husband had begun to reconsider, but then decided that since they’d driven in from the country, they might as well go ahead with the abortion of their child.
Then there was the young girl, brought by her boyfriend and father. The older man was grim, determined she wouldn’t go ahead with this ‘mistake’; the girl was flippant, the boy disengaged. I suggested to the father she might need some counselling after the abortion. He told me she already had a counsellor. If it was the counsellor who suggested the abortion, then there’s little hope that girl will get the kind of care she’ll need in the future.
There was the couple who stayed in their car for a long time before entering the abortion facility. They were there so long that I was sure they weren’t merely discussing a strategy to deflect my offer of help. It’s very likely they were unsure about what to do. The woman looked so sad as they eventually made the fateful trek across the carpark and into the facility.
There were others: the silent man who had brought his partner a coffee for afterwards, the very sad man who just looked away, the angry couple.
Then there was Gary. I call him ‘Gary’, so that I can use that name when I pray for him. He certainly needs prayers.
Gary came out of the facility after dropping his wife inside: I didn’t speak to her before she went in. He moved his car and parked very close to me. Then he sat inside for about five minutes, gazing straight ahead. He finally opened the door and cut me off before I could finish saying, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
He began to yell: “Get away from here! What the f*** are you doing there! You have no f****** right to be there!! Go on, get the f*** up to your friends!!!”
I told him I wouldn’t leave and had every right to be there. I pointed out where the public walkway ended and the abortion facility property began. Then he started again.
“I told you to get away! I’m a security officer and I’m telling you to go away! Go away you pathetic woman! You’re f****** pathetic!! Where is your husband? I bet he thinks you’re f****** pathetic!! And your parents? They think you’re f****** pathetic!! And your children think you’re f****** pathetic as well!! Go on - get the f*** away from here!!!
For ten minutes he went on with this.
It was ok. It wasn’t as bad as the mother and her baby were about to experience inside Marie Stopes.
He sat in the car quietly for a couple of minutes with his door open.
I said to him, “You might not believe this, but I’m very sorry you have to go through this.”
He started again, “Don’t you f******* talk to me!!! I have two kids and I’m very happy to be here. It doesn’t bother me a bit!!! Why don’t you have a f****** job you pathetic woman!! Go on go get a f******* job!! Go away or I’m calling the police!”
At this point, he began to dial on his phone. He talked to the police and started to describe the location, the situation and also to describe me.
“They know who I am,” I told him. He sneered. He told them I was being abusive and then hung up.
A few minutes later the police arrived; they first talked to my friends who were praying a little distance away, then they walked down to me. One talked to the man, then went into the abortion facility; the other stayed and gave me a long lecture.
He said so many strange things: Was I sure it was even a baby being aborted? How do I know it’s not just a clump of cells? How would I like it if someone came to my door and started peddling their religion to me? What would I do if they wouldn’t go away, but kept harassing me with their religious ideas? Did that give me some idea of what the couples going into the abortuary felt about my presence?
I told him to go home and google ‘Planned Parenthood undercover videos’ to see if they were selling ’tissue’ or ‘baby parts’. Then I suggested that for the sake of his own conscience he needed to do some research on this issue. Then I moved away, at his urging.
I joined the others and began to reflect on the ‘religion’ I was offering, compared to that being offered by the abortion facility.
An abortion provider peddles the religion of death.
Death to those countless little children. Death to the mother’s soul. Death, in some cases, of a father’s or grandfather’s conscience. Horrible, excruciating, bloody death.
To borrow the police-officer’s analogy, if we are door-to-door salesmen in humanity’s street, then it is humbling to have among our wares the gifts of hope and life. Our ‘religion’, is life. It is a philosophy of hope, of acceptance, and of the honouring of motherhood and fatherhood. It isn’t a quick fix, but it’s a solution that brings new life, and with it, peace.
I invite you to pray for Gary, for his wife, for the policemen, and for all involved in the abortions that have taken place in Australia this week.
As to who was abusive? And who harasses and intimidates?
I’ll leave that to you to decide.
Business is bad, it’s murderous.
Death of a Salesman. Arthur Miller