Hillcrest Women's Medical Center wasn't supposed to be open on Good Friday. They aren't ever open in the afternoon. So when I got the text that the abortion facility was opening up at noon on Friday, I was surprised.
I wouldn't have been able to go if they were open in the morning. I wouldn't have been able to go if they were open on Saturday. So the fact that they opened at noon on Friday gave me the chance to go. I drove over to Harrisburg to help women who were getting abortions on the day we remember Christ's sacrifice for us.
I wasn't alone. Three other regular pro-life sidewalk counselors and prayer partners were free to drop everything, change their schedule, and be present when the need arose. We hadn't scheduled to be at Hillcrest, but we got there.
When I arrived I learned about a woman named Charla,* who had come to get an RU-486 abortion that afternoon. She and her boyfriend went inside and bought the pill before the abortionist arrived. Becky saw them come out with a brown paper bag holding the lethal pills. Charla talked to Becky and said she really wasn't sure about going through with this. Becky poured her heart out to Charla, encouraging her to choose life. Charla took the resources that Becky offered, and then promised to talk to Becky more. She and her boyfriend drove away and came back about fifteen minutes later.
They told Becky that they had decided not to have the abortion! Becky was thrilled! Charla told her that she hadn't taken the first abortion pill, so she wanted to go in and get a refund.
Becky tried to keep her from going in. There is a big risk that abortion staff will convince women to go through with abortions, even if they declare that they've changed their minds.
After talking to Becky, Charla did go inside with her boyfriend. Becky and I prayed for them as they were inside. We prayed that they would come out soon.
Another young woman with her boyfriend came out at this time. She was also holding a brown paper bag with abortion pills. I walked with her for two blocks, talking with her and learning about why she had decided to have an abortion.
"Hi, can I talk with you?" I asked. She rolled her eyes. "I would really like to give you this information. Would you take this?" I offered, extending a flyer about reversing the abortion pill. She rolled her eyes again, but this time looked at me and decided to take it. "Sure." She said, and took the flyer. There was a band-aid on her arm, probably from where the clinic drew blood.
"Today is Good Friday. Do you know what Good Friday means for you?" I asked her, hoping to get her talking.
"Yeah. I'm a Christian too," she said, "I already took the first pill. I had to do this."
"Can I ask what brought you to make this decision today?" I pressed. Still walking. I didn't know how far we had to go. I didn't know how much time I had.
"I don't want to have kids. Ever." She said. She didn't say this meanly. She actually sounded a little bit embarrassed by it. "This was an accident. I want to be a medical doctor. I have six more years of school ahead of me, and having a child doing that is impossible. I can't do that."
"Yes you can." I said. "Whoever said that wasn't telling you the truth. You are strong enough to do this."
She looked at me as though she had never heard anyone say that before. "Thanks." She said, softly, before going on, "I would be a bad mother, anyways."
"I don't believe you. You would be a great mother." I answered. "It's not too late to change your mind. The abortion can be reversed. All of the information is on that paper I gave you. Please call that number and change your mind. Your child will be loved."
She had placed the paper in the brown paper bag with the second set of abortion pills.
"Thanks for talking to me." She said as we approached her car. Her boyfriend hadn't said anything or even looked at me this whole time. He walked around the car and got in the driver's seat while she and I continued talking.
I told her about friends of mine who have been in situations like hers. I told her about those who chose life and finished school (even Law School) with children. I also told her about those who chose abortion, and regret it to this day.
"You have life and death in that bag." I said, "Only you have the voice to save your child right now. Please choose life." She looked at the bag and hesitated by the door of the car.
At this point I started getting emotional and almost started crying. I couldn't help thinking about the child who was being killed by the pill that had been ingested just minutes ago. Every moment was important as this child faced death. The young woman looked at me, tears welling up in her own eyes, and then she said she was sorry for making me upset.
I told her that she doesn't need to apologize to me. She needs to think about herself and her child. She needs to choose life. I told her that she could do it. I told her that we would help. I begged her to choose life. Then I watched her, with tears in my eyes, and she got in the car and drove away.
If anyone has taken the first dose of RU-486, it can be reversed! This is one set of brochures we have on hand, which
provides information about reversing the process. To connect with a doctor who will help reverse the abortion pill, call 1-877-558-0333. This abortion pill reversal hotline is available 24/7 throughout the year.
I pray that the young woman called this number. It would be a miracle for the baby to be kept safe. An Easter miracle.
Walking back to Hillcrest, I was updated by Becky over the walkie-talkie about Charla. I joined her in praying that Charla would stick to her resolve and come out. Shortly thereafter, Charla did come out, and Becky asked me to come back and be there to talk with her.
Charla and her boyfriend, Martin*, had stuck with their decision to keep their child! The Hillcrest staff could not dissuade them. In fact, going back inside had furthered their resolve.
"A girl is screaming in there." Charla said. "Her mom is in the waiting room crying."
Hearing this nearly doubled me over, as though I had been hit in the stomach. Charla delivered it with a look of disgust and fear on her face. Apparently the operating room is close enough to the receptionist that the whole procedure can be heard. How horrifying.
Charla got on the phone with Life Choices - a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Camp Hill. She scheduled an appointment for Monday!
While Charla was on the phone, other women started coming out after their abortions. One couple came to the facility driving two different cars. The woman was driving in a car with an "I belong to JESUS" bumper sticker on it! She had tears in her eyes as she left, and politely said, "no thank you," when I offered post-abortion healing information.
The man who came with her - in a separate car - took the information from me after she left. I was able to quickly say that
"Jesus has died for all of our sins," before he drove away. He nodded, but didn't communicate any further. At least he took the information. I pray that he reads it and that he and this woman find hope and healing through Jesus Christ.
A mother and daughter came out next. The mother had been very angry when she went in, but said nothing on the way out. We don't know if this was the woman Charla saw crying, but she was more somber than she had been going in. Abortion hurts everyone involved.
Charla finished her phone call with Life Choices, and Becky and I asked her if there was anything more we could do. Charla did mention that the Hillcrest staff would not give her a refund. Charla had given back the abortion pills, but the Hillcrest staff refused to give them back their money. The cost was $400.
Charla seemed upset about the not getting the money back. I offered to walk back in with them to demand a refund, but Martin was not excited about that idea. He wanted to get away from that place. I can't blame him. I was just selfishly thinking of how exciting it would be to march into Hillcrest as an advocate.
Becky and I wanted to help Charla however we could, and so I opened my wallet and she opened her checkbook. We covered the $400 on the spot, and promised to support Charla throughout her pregnancy and beyond. "Even if your child is twelve years old when you need something, you call me!" I told her. "Although," I paused, "I'm not sure that will still be my number." She laughed, and promised to keep in touch.
She has kept her promise. As Becky and I hugged and cried (after they left), Becky got a text from Charla:
"Thank you for being there today. You helped save my baby's life."
This is why we do what we do. There was more jumping up and down in the alley as we celebrated this saved life.
Almost two-thousand years ago, there was a death on Good Friday. Jesus laid down his life for you and for me. He sacrificed himself and became obedient to the point of death on that tree. Yet, we do not mourn his death on that day. We remember why he died. He died to bear our sins. He died to provide us with his righteousness. He died that we might be set free from the penalty of death. And three days later he rose from the dead!
On Good Friday I watched four lives destroyed. With a pill or a vacuum, Dr. Thweat killed the preborn. Their mothers had chosen abortion that day. Oh, God, grant the babies peace, I pray. And also their mothers. God save them from sin. They say they know Jesus, but is he their King? I pray they'll surrender their dreams and their pain. Trusting Jesus to provide everything. A future and healing is found in your arms. Oh Jesus, victorious, please answer my prayer.
And thank you for saving my new friend that day! She chose not to kill her daughter or son. I pray that you provide her with all that she needs. I pray that she trusts you, and commits her whole life to following Jesus. I pray that she asks you for every good thing. I pray that you fill her with streams of living water, that she will never thirst again. Amen.