Abortion clinic counseling: rhetoric vs. reality

Peter Korn spent a year observing abortions and interviewing patients at an abortion clinic for his book Lovejoy: A Year in the Life of an Abortion Clinic (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1996). He was allowed to sit in on several counseling sessions with women considering abortion. He describes what he observed in his book.

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  1. Yep, that’s how it goes, alright. Regarding the young father, whom they threw out. Once outside a Chicago clinic where I was on the sidwalk handing out crisis pregnancy flyers where women could get help, a group got out of a beat-up old ghetto sled–looked like the young woman, a mom or aunt, and a boyfriend. I went over to the group to give them a flyer, and the young man turned around, and I paused because I thought (based on past experience) that I might be about to get slugged, since this young man fit the profile for sure. Tattooed all across his neck and arms, muscular as a con, eyes so red they looked bloody, clearly high and mad–at me, I assumed, for butting in, and I am ashamed to say I backed away and did not give them the flyer (in my defense, I’m old and pretty fragile and a blow from him could have ended me), but I did manage to squeek out that ‘help is available’ and to please not go in there. They went in, though. And then in a few minutes, he came back out, and approached me, and said the saddest thing: ‘Did you say you could help me, because they’re gonna kill my baby in there! ‘ And then I realized why his eyes were red–he’d been crying, and he was still crying. So I talked to him, helped him with some things to say to her that might work, and sent him back in, with the pamphlet this time, and my promise that I could give them a ride to the pregnancy center if he could get her to listen to reason. But he came back out again a few minutes later, and he skipped me and went out into the street, and this time he flagged down a police car slowly passing by making sure we sidewalk counselors weren’t offending anyone. And this thug, this tricked out young black kid, stood out there on the street and tried to get the police–you have to say that African American style to appreciate the irony, the POlice–to come with him into the clinic, because there was a murder going on. The policeman patiently explained to him that the law made it the girl’s decision entirely, and that there was nothing he could do. I do not think I have ever seen anything sadder, that cold street corner, that armed policeman defending not the baby, as even a thug still believed he would, but the murderer, and the young man standing out there, his shoulders bowed, sobbing, as the squad car resumed its useless patrolling. It’s all the pain the world can handle. And I cannot understand the Holy Father, asking us to talk about something else for a change. What else? What else?

    • That’s a very moving and sad tale Janet.
      We can only try to stand against the abomination of this infanticide and in democracies try and alter individuals minds and hearts from the terrible affect of the abortion.
      It is a full scale war and the casualties are not the babies sacrificed on the altars of inconvenience and death (the innocents murdered thus are taken back to Christ’s loving mercy) but the parental lives of mothers (or fathers) ruined by terrible horror of this most grievous sin. The state in willing such a terrible horror to exist and the society that shrugs off the business and industry of Death as somebody else’s complaint.
      Without people like yourself doing what you do (even if it at times it seems hopeless or forgotten) the state of the whole land would be even worse. The comment that evil triumphs where good people do nothing is very much to the fore. Yes sometimes Our Lord will even allow horror to apparently triumph and we simply have no idea why this should be so, other than a faith that requests the faithful to believe in the eventual victory of Goodness.
      To be fair I do not think the Pope was suggesting that abortion is not important or even a fully engaged conflict. What he was stressing was the singular hope of the Salvation of God as a priority over the sinfulness of mankind. In this event he was suggesting to the fascinated secular media that there are other facets to the Catholic Church and that these should not be marginalized by what is often a sensational press.
      Obviously, I expect that stories like yours above are very shocking and worrisome for you because they are so traumatic. To witness the terrible suffering of people around us and helpless to intervene absolutely must be a type of Calvary for anyone.
      For what it is worth, I think you should continue in the battle you wage and try and try again. We do not always know what benefit our toil shall bear but we should engage with Life more and help to the best of our various abilities; the ending of anything which denies Life especially in the most vulnerable of our communities.
      Lastly try to be of Good Cheer because evil is destroyed by Cheerfulness of faith. If we are in doubt or despair or darkness to call upon The Holy Spirit to come upon us and to make us whole again even in the wake of horror. To understand the faith we hold dear and to pray that we may understand the holy father and his direction as faithful souls led always to greater grace.

  2. What the political wing of the pro-life movement has “accomplished” is of little real impact. Every incremental political “victory” tacitly reaffirms the “right” to abortions by attempting to restrict them or make them inconvenient. “Whack-a-mole” offers better odds of winning.

    The abortion rate is going down not because of laws, but primarily due to four factors: 1) a self-annihilating pro-abortion demographic, 2) prayer, 3) the infinite mercy of God, and 4) the tireless, selfless efforts of the sidewalk counselors and their supporting infrastructure and organizations.

    If Roe v Wade is ever repealed, it will be long after it has been utterly marginalized in the social sphere.

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