Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Judgement day

So today at the abortion clinic a woman pulled her car over to tell us we were bad people. Our crimes were judging people, wasting time instead of getting a job, judging people, not doing something useful like stopping war or poverty and not caring about women. I explained that we are not judging people, I have a job, we are not judging people, and I do oppose war and help the poor, and I do care about women.

She said we block women from going into the clinic. I told her we did not - that would be illegal. She said we yell hateful things and tell women they are damned to hell. I told her our "standard" speech - "You don't have to go in there, there's plenty of help available (we then name several crisis pregnancy centers they could go to)." We then typically tell them where to get free medical care, an allowance to care for their baby for several years after it's born, a place to stay, job training if they need it. We offer them a brochure on pregnancy health and fetal development, with phone numbers on it where they can get help. If there is a friend with them we ask the friend to please talk her out of it.

Sometimes we get "the finger". Often we get ignored. On very rare occasions we get threats. But at least a few times a day we have someone who will take the brochure and talk to us. Last week a woman didn't want to have an abortion but felt she couldn't afford a baby. She said she didn't even have a car to get to work. The gentleman I was with that day gave her his car (an old clunker, but it runs), and his phone number so she could call him if she had any more questions or needed help. She said she would call him later about the car, which she never did, but she didn't have the abortion either.

The woman continued to claim that we were haters who blew up and murdered doctors. I asked her to give an example. The only actual "pro-life violence" she could think of was the killing of George Tiller. I explained that the killer was not a member of any pro-life group, just a nut who killed for his own reasons. She did not believe me. I told her about pro-abortion violence, like the crimes Kermit Gosnell is being tried for (I forgot to mention James Pouillon, but I doubt she would have believed me anyway).

I explained to her that I am there on my lunch hour because more human beings are killed in that building alone every year than the total US casualties in Iraq. That I see women abused, going in and coming out crying. Women forced to go in by their boy friends. And I also see women changing their minds and thanking us. Sometimes they return later with their babies to show us.

I then thanked her for the conversation, and for her concern, and she drove away. I hope I gave her something to think about. I know I got a lot to think about from the conversation with her.

One of the things I've been thinking about is what did she mean by judging people? Because judging people means making a determination about their guilt or innocence, which necessitates assigning a motive. We realize that these women are all going in to do something which is objectively evil - the killing of an innocent human being. But we don't question their culpability or their motives. We assume that each woman, if she realized what abortion was and had an alternative, would choose it. We try to give her that alternative.

On the other hand, the woman who stopped actually was judging people. She assumed we hated women and didn't care and were trying to make people feel bad. She told us that outright. She assumes that pro-life people are criminals, who have no regard for human life, but are pushing some agenda (I don't know what she thinks the motive for it is - I wish I could ask her, but I didn't at the time).


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