Weeping women’s tears tell tale of abortion

by Roxane B. Salonen

SidewalkStories

Lately, I’ve noticed a new reality while praying on the sidewalk in front of our state’s only abortion facility: tears.

Often, the women and men arrive instead with stern faces, braced to push through with the decision they’ve come to see as inevitable. Occasionally, angry words follow when we offer information about resources or a prayer.

Certainly, the decision to abort can never be easy, since motherhood is something very innate in women, and fatherhood, in men. Purposefully severing the eternal bond already formed – whether that is a conscious reality – can only come through much angst.

But in recent weeks, I’ve been struck not by terse words, but this other dramatic reality, as the women reveal their deepest emotions.

One approached the sidewalk holding one hand over her face to cover her anguish, which peeked out through the corners and was heard in sobs. Others have not even tried to hide their weeping, tears dripping all the way into the facility, giving testimony of a pained heart.

These raw shows of emotion evoke powerful feelings of compassion within me and the other sidewalk advocates. For there is no question that these women are in torment, and yet our ability to ease their suffering is so limited against the culture of “choice.”

One of my fellow prayer advocates recently surmised, “She’s already grieving her child, even before she steps foot in there.” It certainly seems to be the case.

Not long ago, a young lady came out of the facility. Plopping down on the sidewalk against the front wall of the eatery next door, her legs crossed and a cigarette and cell phone in her hands, she quietly wept. I gently approached, crouching down beside her. “Are you okay?” I asked, tears forming in my own eyes.

Just then, one of the women wearing a baby blue “Pro-Choice Escort” vest walked up. “She doesn’t want you here,” she said to me. The woman stayed quiet, her pain unconcealed, her loneliness, obvious.

The week prior, we’d approached a car as it arrived, hoping to offer help for a redirect. As soon as I showed the couple within the small card with the baby on it, the woman in the passenger’s seat began to cry. She didn’t want the abortion; it was clear.

“Come on, we need to go in,” the male driver – presumably the father – said to her, but he, too, seemed conflicted.

“We can help,” I offered, and as a last resort as they exited the vehicle, I pled, “Fathers are meant to protect.” He seemed to flinch at these words.

A little while later, the couple exited the facility and quickly got back into their car, confirming, when we asked, that yes, they’d had a change of heart.

Just moments earlier, I’d been talking with a woman who’d wandered by from the street. She’d identified herself as a cousin of Savanna Greywind, the young pregnant mother whose name we’ve all come to know recently through her tragic disappearance and murder, along with the appearance of her infant child, who is now well and safe.

The woman vocally lamented what happens at the abortion facility, and complained that the escorts, whom she’d been talking to earlier, “just turned their backs on me.” It was a powerful moment, realizing who this woman was, considering what we’d just grieved through together as a community, and wondering how the workers of the facility were processing all of this.

Quite frankly, the presence there of the escorts and other abortion workers grieves us as much as the women going in. Though we pray, too, for them, we mostly feel powerless to move their hearts.

But on that day, in that moment, thinking of the strong emotions we’d all just witnessed, it occurred to me that we may not be the ones to convince the workers. God may have another plan. Indeed, we could pray for days for them without any effect, our presence only emboldening their staking a claim to the sidewalk and these women’s souls.

Now, however, it seemed possible something else could reach them instead; something more powerful than anything we might say or do. Perhaps those tears that so clearly reveal the soul, telling the tale of what abortion really is, and does, from the hearts of the mothers themselves, would be a conviction of the heart for them all.

May the weeping of these women not be for naught, Lord. On the appointed day, may their “tears be turned into dancing.” And may it be soon.

Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five, is a local writer, as well as a speaker and radio host for Real Presence Radio. Roxane also writes weekly for The Forum newspaper and monthly for CatholicMom.com. Reach her at roxanebsalonen@gmail.com.