The three women didn’t know one another. They’d never crossed paths, and had nothing in common. Except for one thing.
They had each scheduled an abortion at the same place.
In the beginning of 2019, Saturdays on the sidewalk were cold and felt fruitless. Women, one after another, would pull into the driveway, guided by abortion escorts and discouraged from talking to the volunteers in the pink vests with the bright pink bus.
They’re not here to help you, the escorts warned as they gestured toward the GPCC volunteers and staff. They’re liars. Fakes. Keep driving. Keep walking. Don’t look back.
But for these three women—all scheduled at different times, on different days—the commands to keep moving stirred within them the turmoil that had been brooding just beneath the surface.
And against the relentless urging of their escorts, each of those three women stopped. And they looked back.
When a woman hesitates before entering the abortion facility, it’s indicative of the war happening in her heart. These small windows of opportunity give our volunteers and staff the chance to speak words of life to these women.
Would you like to talk for a moment about your decision today? Have you seen an ultrasound? We can give you one for free, right now.
Sometimes a sidewalk advocate might slip a piece of paper into the hands of a woman with the story of her own abortion experience and how it impacted her.
Sometimes a woman might walk onto the mobile unit, hesitate, and then walk right back off.
But these three women, they each made a courageous choice. They walked away from the doors of the abortion facility—away from the escorts beckoning and calling out to them—and took steps toward a different way.
When a woman tells us that she plans to choose life, we know that her battle is only beginning. She may be stepping out of the safety of our walls and back into the uncertainty of broken relationships, overwhelming financial challenges, or a support system that is pushing for abortion. We’ve met with women who say they are choosing life, only to see them entering the abortion facility a few days later. The power and pressure of these difficult circumstances are real.
So when these three women stepped off our mobile unit, our nurses and advocates knew that nothing was certain. That month we were left wondering about these three women—what would they choose? These women were armed with resources, options, and newly formed relationships with their advocates—but everything can change in a moment. And sometimes, the only thing we can do is to continue reaching out and offering support.
In October of this year—almost 9 months after we first met these women—we were thrilled to receive pictures from all three women of their brand new babies.
They had all chosen life.
And now each of these women are moving forward in life with the ongoing help and support of the Care Center and local churches. Fully empowered.
This time of year, Saturdays on the sidewalk are cold and often feel fruitless. Our staff and volunteers show up, week after week, and offer a different way to women who, many times, feel as if they have no other options.
But no matter how fruitless our presence might feel, the reality is this: it is making a difference. And while we may not see the impact of our presence today, we keep showing up, because we believe that later—maybe days, months, years, or even in eternity—we will see how women have been empowered, lives have been saved, and hearts have been changed.
And that makes it all worth it.