Condensed from a report by volunteer sidewalk counselor Br. Paschal L.
September 15, 2022 — I had just arrived for my 10:30 am shift at the St. Paul Planned Parenthood (PP) to take over for Bill J., Kathleen S. and her son Sam were arriving too. Noticing a young woman crossing the old bank parking lot to head up the driveway into PP, I rushed to start speaking to her, but I started soft, because at that moment the traffic was quiet and there was no PP escort. I think I said, “Hi there, please come talk to us. If you know someone who’s pregnant, tell her about Abria (the nearby pregnancy help center), it’s just across from the McDonald’s. Explore your options there. . . . You are unique and unrepeatable. You are worth it.” She turned around and started walking toward us! I gave Sam a side-hug and Bill and I exchanged words of hope that she’s coming!
“Do you know someone who’s pregnant?” I asked. “I am, with twins,” she answered. “Oh congratulations!” “Well, I have two already and was just thinking I couldn’t handle more. I’m worried about my future plans. My boyfriend and some family members want me to have the babies, but I’m not so sure. I came by just to get an ultrasound and see if it helps me make a decision.” (Editor’s note – PP only does ultrasounds if the woman plans to abort.) “But PP is biased,” I said, “They abort over 99% of those who come to them and refer out less than 1%. It’s their income. They will only discourage you.”
Bill began speaking like a gentle fatherly guide. He said he had five kids, and God made a way for him. Then he said, “You don’t want the regret of abortion; so many women have suffered for life with that.” He focused on inviting her to Abria a block away to get a free ultrasound there instead. I told her we all on the sidewalk want to dig in and help for years to come if necessary. “Yeah,” she said. “I really don’t want to regret. I want to do the right thing.”
Kathleen came closer and offered to walk her to Abria. After speaking to Abria on the phone, the young woman said, “Wow they really do have free ultrasounds. I’m ready.” As they turned to go, I offered her a baby blanket with some baby trinkets. She gladly accepted and they walked away. We men then prayed that she would persevere and keep the babies. At the end of our shift, she came walking back to us and proudly showed us the ultrasound pictures of her twins. Though only about 13 weeks (I think), two little persons were visible there. They were moving a lot, she said. “Already playing in the womb!” I answered.
Numbers were exchanged, and her ride picked her up. This abortion-bound mother did NOT keep her appointment at PP. She had confidence and joy to move forward. We jumped for joy, hugs all around. Alleluia, what a grace, and what a team effort!
Additional notes from sidewalk counselor Kathleen S.
She shared her struggles as we stood there and the men spoke life-giving words to her. I was able to encourage her about the blessing of twins by sharing a bit about our 4-year-old twin granddaughters. Over an hour and a half later she returned from Abria, overjoyed to show us the ultrasound of her twins. Abria offered her the support that she really needed at this time! She was so grateful for our pro-life presence there and asked if she could give me a hug. As we hugged, I told her she would be in my prayers and that I’d like to keep in touch and meet these little ones someday! She agreed!