Addressing Abortion Clinic Verbal Abuse
“I can’t go to that pregnancy center. It’s right next to the Right to Life offices and I’m scared of those people,” the young caller outlined when I gave her a referral for an abortion recovery program in her area.
She went on to outline that when she was leaving the abortion clinic through a back door, she had been in great emotional, physical and psychological pain. She shared, “I’ve never felt that low in all my life. I stumbled and nearly fell but a man waiting at the back door helped me to my feet. He seemed so kind, Sydna. As I got up, he said, with a strange grin, ‘I hope you are happy. Your dead baby will rot in that dumpster tonight while you sleep in your warm bed.’”
This memory launched her into a few minutes of tears. When she recovered, she continued, “How can I ever go somewhere where that type of person works? I had no idea I was aborting a real baby until that moment!” Clearly the protester at the abortion clinic enhanced her wounding.
Many women share about encountering angry protesters in front of the clinics where their abortions were performed. Many who work outside of abortion clinics are compassionate, helping women before they enter with offers of physical support in continuing their pregnancies. Sadly, other protesters are often quite cruel, calling those who are entering the clinic “murderers” or “killers.” When protesters are cruel, women often feel relieved when escorts help them. These are often quite volatile zones.
This was the first time I had heard a story of a woman being abused at the back door of a clinic. Her story stayed with me as I worked to find her an alternate referral far away from those she was fearing.
While there were no protesters in front of my Indianapolis abortion clinic in 1981, I could certainly imagine the horror she had experienced. Thankfully, I knew the local pregnancy center director personally. This director took the time to meet with this wounded heart at an offsite location. With great compassion, this post-abortive person agreed to go through their abortion recovery program. She received deep healing and now walks in peace with God.
In sharing my abortion testimony publicly, I typically avoid “right to life” or politically based audiences. I learned many years ago that being “pro-life” doesn’t necessarily mean everyone loves God! I have only accepted a handful of such pro-life engagements, preferring to remain separate from anything politically based.
When I moved to Florida in 2000, I accepted one local speaking invitation from a pro-life group. I was lonely and hoping to make new friends in my community. After my presentation, the crowd disbursed quickly and without comment. Only one couple approached me.
The woman was crying when she spoke first – “Please forgive us. Please forgive us. We had no idea!”
Confused, I asked them what was on their hearts.
“We’ve yelled at women going into abortion clinics. We’ve used those terms – murder and kill – too many times believing we could shock the women into changing their minds. That rarely has worked and your story outlined why,” the husband responded sadly.
“On top of that, we’ve truly disliked post-abortive women,” the wife continued. “The only post-abortive person we know is you. We hope that by apologizing to you that you can share our regret with these women who have been verbally abused by clinic protesters. We have no other way to apologize except to never act the same way again. Your testimony has helped us understand the error of our ways. Thank you!”
They were sincerely sorry and I hugged them, knowing their hearts were full of repentance.
“I forgive you,” I answered. “I’m one of the few individuals in the world that has the blessing of comforting these women. I’ll share your apology with as many as I can.”
The woman then said, “Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your testimony. We just didn’t know and have a completely different perspective now. We will be kind and compassionate so you will always be proud of us!”
If you were verbally traumatized by abortion clinic protesters, please receive this humble apology from this couple into your heart. Remember that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing in every setting. Perhaps some protesters are working for the clinic itself, using verbal abuse so women believe the abortion clinic is more compassionate. That would ensure few women ever turned to the pro-life movement for help!
When a woman leaves an abortion clinic, one is dead and one is wounded. Ending abortion and verbally abusing women who are in crisis do not work well together.
If you endured any abuse on the sidewalks of the abortion clinic you entered, God’s word is clear – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 NIV. Record in your journal the story of entering and departing the abortion clinic. We will refer to these recorded experiences in a later module on forgiveness.