Conflict is Not Unusual
Many of the women we work with are conflicted. Even after they make a choice for life, sometimes they still waver. The first 48 hours are particularly critical. In that 48 hours, in most cases the resources and help we are able to provide have not yet kicked in. They are returning to the same circumstances, the same struggles, the same group of people urging for abortion. The same mindset that contemplated abortion in the first place is now confronted with the same triggers that brought the woman to the abortion center.
In those first 48 hours, I will often text encouragement, reminders of the humanity of the baby, verses with Biblical support for the sanctity of life and God’s clear commandments to protect innocent human life. However, this is not always enough to keep a woman solid in her choice for life.
In the case of Gina, this sad problem was abundantly evident. Gina scheduled five separate times to abort the same baby. This is one of the most unusual cases I have ever dealt with, but it is NOT unusual for women to change their decision multiple times. Many report the conflict continues until there are active changes in their circumstances.
Never Discount the Miraculous
I met Gina when she came for the first time to the abortion center. She came alone, though her boyfriend was up the street at McDonald’s. Another counselor stopped Gina but called me over to help since Gina was so strongly abortion-minded. When Gina saw me approaching, her mouth fell open. She stared at me like she had seen a ghost.
“I know you!” She exclaimed.
I did not recognize her at all.
“I mean, I saw you … in a vision … this morning.”
This was a new one for me!
“My boyfriend and I had just awakened, and I knew that today was the day for my abortion. I looked at the curtains and I saw a face in the curtain!!! It was your face! I remember thinking it was a face of life! I even asked my boyfriend if he saw a face in the curtain. He said he did, but he saw a skull. He said it was death.”
This is definitely on the very weird side. I promise you, I am not a kook (despite the fact that I wear an umbrella hat in the rain and a belly pack as big as Montana to carry my sidewalk supplies.) I asked her what that meant to her.
“It means my boyfriend saw the choice for abortion and I saw the choice for life!”
With that pronouncement, I concluded she was conflicted and leaning towards keeping her baby but that the boyfriend was pushing for abortion. Since Gina was certain she had a vision from God, it was easy to convince her to go on the HELP Monroe Mobile Ultrasound unit and see her baby. She was overjoyed to see the heartbeat. She said she wanted to call her boyfriend and show him the ultrasound. I heard her talk to him in Spanish but didn’t know what she was saying. She asked if I could send the photos I had taken of the baby to him. She gave me his number. I sent the photos, glad I now had his contact. At that point, I had no idea how crucial that would be in how Gina’s story would unfold.
As with all moms I meet on the sidewalk, as soon as possible, I shared the Gospel. Gina was very receptive but said she needed to think about it before she made a commitment to Jesus. I gave her some materials and told her about the mentorship program. She was interested, but asked if she could think that over as well. I told her I would have the mentor call her to share how they could help. She thought that would be ok.
Conflict Can Continue: Be Ready for It
She left and I was convinced this was a solid choice for life. However, the next day, I texted her and she was honest that she was wavering. She admitted then that she believed the boyfriend was cheating on her and she did not want to be tied down to him for the next 18 years by the baby. She said it would be better to abort. In fact, she had made a second appointment.
I begged her to let me take her to lunch so we could talk more. She lived quite a distance away, but she finally agreed. I met her at the restaurant and spent the next two hours trying to convince her to keep her child. This time, when I shared the Gospel more fully, she agreed that had she followed God her whole life, things would be different. However, she also shared life stories that were filled with terrible things out of her control. The discussion was very fruitful, and this time she said she was tired of her terrible choices and would like to submit her life to Jesus. She promised to cancel the appointment to abort.
She allowed me to call the mentor right then and there and set up a time for them to meet. I went home feeling NOW her choice was solid.
Satan is Persistent
However, a few days later, I got a call from the boyfriend. In broken English, he frantically told me Gina was on her way back to abort. It turns out, he WANTED the baby and was in love with Gina. He had not been totally committed to her, but he was now. He begged me to help. I was not due to be at the abortion center that day but raced over. The boyfriend updated me periodically through the morning. He had met Gina, and told her they needed to do some shopping before heading to the abortion center. He convinced her they had plenty of time to do the errands. However, cleverly he managed to distract her and go to enough different stores that by the time she realized how far they still were from the abortion center, she had missed her appointment. The boyfriend called me to tell me they were returning home.
He also begged me not to tell her at all that he had contacted me. He said she would leave him for sure if she knew he was working with me to prevent the abortion.
Now knowing Gina was still abortion-minded, I called her with the ruse that I was just checking in and wanted to know if she had met with the mentor as scheduled. She had not. (I knew why!) She told me something had come up and she had missed the meeting time. She did not say it was because she tried to return for the abortion.
I again counseled as I always do on the three main areas: humanity of the baby, God and resources. We revisited the many issues that she faced, and how the mentor could help. We talked again about the value of the precious human, made in God’s image, that she carried in her womb. I reminded her that having committed her life to Jesus, she could not abort. She seemed convinced (again) and we talked about baby names. If it was a boy she wanted to name him Lio. I commented that I had never seen it spelled that way. She told me she had made it up. She sounded genuinely excited (again) about baby Lio.
God is Faithful
The next day, I was scheduled to go out of town. As I was driving, about 2 hours from home I passed a strange billboard. It had a completely white background with one large word in the middle: LIO. I kid you not.
In shock, I called Gina.
“You will never believe what I just saw!” I said, “I am passing a billboard and all it says is LIO on it!”
DEAD silence from Gina. After a moment she asked where I was. I had a feeling I should not tell her I was heading out of town, so I just told her I was on the highway. She said she had to go.
A few moments later, I got a text from the boyfriend, frantic. Gina was at the abortion center! He was hoping I was there to stop her. I told him I would call my fellow counselors since I was a hundred miles or so away. They kept an eye out for her. Meanwhile, I texted Gina asking if her choice for life was still firm.
She didn’t answer.
I texted verses to support the choice for life. No response. I was very sad, sure she was really going to do it this time, the fourth time that she had made an appointment to kill her child.
Later that day, the boyfriend texted me. Gina had returned without aborting. She had said that when I told her about the billboard with Lio’s name on it, she just couldn’t do it.
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of God’s People
Over the next couple of weeks, I texted and called often. The mentor called to tell me that Gina was not answering her texts and requests to meet. This was not a good sign. Given the obvious conflict in Gina’s heart, I was concerned that she was not willing to meet the people that could provide resources that would help with pressing obstacles in her life.
Gina texted to tell me a water pipe had burst in her home and she could not get anyone out there to fix it. I called the mentor and asked if any of her church members might have plumbing experience. Within minutes, the mentor had arranged for people from her church to go to Gina’s house and fix the pipe.
Gina was so grateful. She was amazed that total strangers had helped her. She began talking of the power of God when we follow Him. She sounded like finally she had turned a corner and was making a commitment to keep her baby. I was scheduled to go out of town again. I left to visit my son’s family, feeling Gina was in good hands, and there was no more need for me to worry.
Never Lose Hope
I was almost four hours out of Charlotte when I got a call from a fellow counselor, the one who had stopped Gina the first time about a month or so ago.
“Gina is back at the abortion center.”
My heart fell. “Are you sure it is her?”
“Yes, I even called out to her and she turned. But she went in.”
I texted Gina who miraculously answered.
“I have to do it,” she texted. “I’m sorry.”
I sent a flurry of texts after that but it was the last I heard from her. I arrived at my destination and went for a long walk. I prayed and cried. We had fought so hard for that baby, so many of us invested in that little person’s life. How could it end this way?
My daughter-in-law’s father is a pastor and was at my son’s house when I arrived. I told him the whole sad story and he prayed with me. I was devastated. I had given all I knew to give to save Gina’s baby. All for nought!
Three hours later, I got a text from my fellow counselor.
“You’ll never believe it…Gina just came out. She said she is done trying to kill this baby, the fifth time she has scheduled an abortion! She wants to go on the mobile ultrasound unit and see her child.”
Gina called me after the ultrasound. She told me when she got in the abortion center, they discovered she had an infection that had to be treated before she could safely abort. She threw her hands up and told God, “That’s it. I am done. You want this baby to live. I will not fight you.”
Trials Strengthen Us
A few weeks later, Gina called me with devastating news. Her doctor appointment revealed that the baby was 99% certain to have Down’s Syndrome. I knew this was in all likelihood going to lead to Gina scheduling abortion appointment #6.
To my shock, Gina said, “They asked me to consider abortion. But I told them I love my baby no matter what. After being stopped by God so many times, I know this baby is meant to live. And I am going to take care of my baby no matter what.”
The Reward is Worth It
The baby was born completely healthy and normal. She called me to come visit when she got home from the hospital. Misty-eyed, I held that little miracle in my arms, rejoicing and praising God.
No one will ever believe what it took to get you here, I thought as I cuddled the baby. I don’t even believe it. But nonetheless, you are here. Praise God, you are here.