Instead of a large bill and an unnecessary surgery, Massachusetts residents were handing out care packages filled with handwritten notes, a list of free healthcare resources in the area, and brownies, to moms in unexpected pregnancies approaching the Boston area Planned Parenthood on Saturday.
"Look, I just came to get this taken care of," said a young woman through her car window, as C.J. (community engagement director for MCFL) waved at her and asked if she could help.
"But what if you were taken care of?" C.J. asked her. The woman just shook her head. But she took the little violet box, and the note with healthcare options in the area. Later, she and her partner were seen driving away.
A multitude of people, young and old, had gathered that morning to sing Christmas carols at the well-known Boston abortion center. Young and old, secular and religious, they sang or prayed or stood quietly. A large group of Spanish-speaking citizens had bussed in, and had joined with some of the local Franciscans to pray; while a high school student from Arlington High had joined with her mother for the first time.
It was a busy morning. Christmas is often a challenging time for women who are pregnant; and Planned Parenthood doesn't make it any easier. The abortion provider advertises not help but abortion to relieve women of their challenges -- and relieves them of their living, breathing baby at the instead.
"What I don't get," said Liana, the high-school junior, "Is, I mean, why don't we make having your baby at a hospital free? Like, why isn't there a clinic here to give birth for like $500? We tax-fund abortion, but no one is tax-funding helping moms have their baby. I always hear women say, I can't afford $5000 to give birth and then baby clothes and all that stuff. But so what? How's abortion a choice if it's the only one you give someone?"
Many of the carolers have been working overtime on just that issue, calling the governor and our lawmakers daily, even hourly, demanding they reject the "R.O.E" Act (which would increase pressure to abort a child, and offer no more support to women parenting or giving birth, along with lowering the age of abortion-consent to 16).
In the meantime, though, they stood offering support and song to the many women impacted by the normal vicissitudes of life, on top of COVID-related job losses or stress.
"Brighton has a pregnancy resource and health center right up the street from here," said one woman, "I always tell moms, it's free. Right up the street. I'll even drive you there."
She has done just that.
But this frigid, 19 degree morning, she -- along with dozens of others -- continued to sing. From 9am to noon, they offering care boxes, hope, support, and song to each woman approaching the abortion center. Because, as a longtime sidewalk counselor quipped, "Empowerment is telling a woman to kill her child and pick up the bill. Empowerment is telling her you have the strategies, the resources, and a helping hand for her to do anything with her child."
Do you hear what I hear... they closed.
And I think they meant life, life and protection and support, for everyone, born and preborn, mom and child.
For pregnancy resource centers and free healthcare in your area, check out: Resource Spreadsheet for Women's Health Here.
The 93 in Braintree is no longer just a highway out of town. Thanks to Choose Life Inc., and generous pro-life donors, the 93 now paves a way to saving preborn lives in the state of Massachusetts.
photo of the artwork displayed on the billboard
According to The Guttmacher Institute, as of 2020, the restrictions on abortion in Massachusetts are minimal. A woman may obtain an abortion even after 24 weeks if a doctor agrees her health is at risk. Due to the fact that "health" is a broad term, and may be interpreted to mean emotional distress as well as severe or life-threatening complications, this restriction has little impact on protecting women and their preborn babies from the grueling, 3-day late-term abortion.
Additionally, children under the age of 18 may not be subjected to an abortion with prior consent from their parent, guardian, or a judge appointed by the state of Massachusetts (in the event that either parent or guardian is abusive or incapable).
Recently (December 2020), the annual state budget, section 40, sought to remove all safeguards for our women & babies in Massachusetts. Governor Baker line-vetoed removal of parental consent, and other expansions, but did not suggest removing the expansion of late-term abortion on babies diagnosed with fetal abnormalities in the womb.
As a state that prides itself on protecting the vulnerable, progressive dedication to human rights -- from our trailblazing history in the abolition movement to more recent participation in civil and racial rights, we need to be consistent. Human rights are non-negotiable, and apply to every human being. That protection applies to our women in the womb as well as to our women on the street; and to our preborn brothers and sisters of any skin color as well as to our African American brothers and sisters in our communities.
Pave the way for life this season and into 2021! #SaveMABabies
Current and recent articles, research, and facts regarding abortion, and those impacted by it, in Massachusetts:
- No Quantifiable Data Proves Late-Term Abortion "Necessary"
- Babies with "abnormalities"? Abortion is lethal discrimination to children like Baby Hope
- Down syndrome an ABILITY, as Collette proves
- This sidewalk counselor shows how showing up saves lives
Check out our online list of Massachusetts-based healthcare facilities that provide resource and support for women:
To bring this resource to neighbors, friends, and fellow citizens across the state, please share on your social media accounts using the hashtag #SaveMABabies.
Join our daily outreach in Boston at 1055 Commonwealth Ave. by emailing C.J. ([email protected])
"I so did not believe anyone would be out here. And if they were, I was sure they'd be a fat old man, with, like, MAGA tattooed on his forehead."
The young woman was in front of Planned Parenthood in Boston. In COVID-time, she was also on a surprisingly quiet Commonwealth Avenue. The few other human beings who passed were masked and serious and looped wide to avoid her and each other as they pushed by.
But she wasn't alone.
An MCFL member who has been reaching out to our staff since late-Spring for guidance on when to return to the sidewalk was also there. Her sign read, "You're strong. Choose hope. Look at your ultrasound."
The young woman had arrived that Friday morning looking for an abortion -- and asking for a sign. But she had told the Universe, if there wasn't a sign -- or if the sign-holder was an old white man -- she was aborting.
Well, the MCFL member* wasn't an old man. She was a quiet woman in a violet face mask with dark eyes behind big glasses and a singsong voice.
She was all that mother needed to see, and all her unborn baby** needed to have his or her life recognized and protected.
The importance of providing support and affirmation to women before they enter the abortion clinic can't be emphasized often enough. We have a society that has learned to treat women like burdens. As Boston, and the world, has had a light shone on how a system set in place can continue to dehumanize people despite the intentions of individuals, we see how the system of abortion has always treated women like problems, and their incredible ability to give life like a disease.
All we need as a society is continually to see that each of us can be workers on a new system: One that saves, protects, and cherishes vulnerable lives, and does not discard the woman or the child at any stage in their development. We can be like the woman this last Friday morning who was a sign of hope.
*The member asked to remain anonymous. Her story was taken by the director of community engagement and this article has been posted with her permission.
**This save was inspired by the #SaveBabyMyles campaign, and other members are returning to sidewalk counseling using safe social distancing to offer support to women and to be voices for the voiceless preborn babies. Whether online or in-person, you can join and save lives by checking the Baby Myles' story here.
MCFL launched a small-scale social media campaign last week with the hashtag #SaveBabyMyles. Referencing the baby in Western Massachusetts whose mother chose life after having a video from Live Action shared with her, the campaign's goal has been to raise awareness gently and to reach women where they are with support, information, and affirmation.
The flip-side of this kind of quiet outreach is that loving one person gives one person power to love another.
That is what we saw in Baby Myles' story, and in his mom, Veronica.
But the other vitally important aspect of Veronica and Myles' story was the availability of the information.
Visual, scientific, presented clearly and honestly, Live Action's video describes what happens to babies in each trimester during an abortion.
"The video...opened my eyes to the truth," said Veronica, "I had no idea that was what abortion really looked like. I couldn’t believe that people did that to their babies, and after seeing that I certainly wasn’t going to do that to mine. I cried after seeing that video, realizing if I had not found it that could have been my baby."
But the video, presented by former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, is neither graphic nor fear-mongering. No one needs to overemphasize what abortion is or does: The procedure that takes the baby's life speaks for itself.
This week, MCFL members have been quietly passing along social media posts, resharing content like the Live Action video with the hashtag #SaveBabyMyles and #abortionhelp.
Already, we have had phone calls. One member emailed in to say: "I didn't think a poster at the bus stop and FaceBook post would make any difference. But I had a girl message me saying she had been searching #abortionhelp desperately but found my post instead. She was in tears but just wanted to know what she could do? she was scared. So I told her MCFL's number and the Boston pregnancy resource center and listened to her for a while and messaged her I'd support her too if she didn't get help from the center. She kept her baby."
Will you join the quiet #SaveBabyMyles campaign with us? Abortion will someday be illegal, but if it's going to be unthinkable, we're going to need to continue loving, changing, and sharing the truth and support. Like Veronica told Live Action, "My son did not take away from my future — he gave me a new one. He is the light of my life."
Support the #SaveBabyMyles Campaign by donating here.
Pledge to join and share here.
by Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President
Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it. - Emily Dickinson
Getting to tell one story with a happy ending feels like a luxury this week; that there are two such items to share today, both involving long-time MCFL members, is a blessing indeed.
A few days ago, I received an email from my friend Jerry. The subject line: “Baby Myles Saved.” Since his birth a few months ago, I’d seen Jerry’s grandson on Facebook enough to feel like I knew him! Yet, as is often the case with social media, photos don’t tell all, and, as I read Jerry’s email, I realized that Myles’ story wasn’t just about the birth of a baby, but about his mother learning a truth that saved his life.
It is a privilege to share the family’s “unplanned” experience with you. Before you read it below, watch this Live Action piece. (You can skip the ads.)
In just a few days, Veronica’s story has been viewed well over a half million times.
Jerry, his wife, Maggie, and Veronica shared additional details about their experience with me this week, and our discussion revealed truths about what it’s like for a teenage girl to face pregnancy in Massachusetts.
Current state law requires one parent to provide consent before a minor undergoes an abortion. (If the ROE Act passes, a girl as young as 12 could legally obtain an abortion without a parent, or any adult other than clinic staff, knowing about it.) I asked Jerry and Maggie, “As a 16-year-old, how accessible was abortion to Veronica?” “Obviously, we weren't informed when Veronica went [to Planned Parenthood],” they said. “We asked her, and she said no one there mentioned her age. We don't think that law is being followed.”
Veronica agreed. “When I went to Planned Parenthood there was no adult or parent with me,” she said. “The woman I talked to knew my age, and it did not seem to be a problem for me to get an abortion.”
“What do you remember about the clinic?” I asked. “I was expecting to be given more resources and options, but it felt like they were just mainly focused on abortion," Veronica said. One worker told her, "It isn't a baby yet," a comment Veronica says haunts her today.
In spite of the difficult memories of being alone at Planned Parenthood, she says, “Every day, when I wake up to Myles’ smiling face, I am so thankful that I made the decision I did. My life would be very empty without him. He gives me purpose.”
Knowing Jerry and Maggie have been MCFL members for over 30 years, I asked why they’ve supported our mission for so long. They said that MCFL helps “to expose the truth of what abortion is, its consequences and what the support services are.” They urged us to do even more “to help those who need support, especially teenage girls.”
Veronica agreed, saying, “I think many people my age are confused based on what society tells us, which is that a woman having an abortion should have that right because it is her body. I believe if there was more evidence out there about what abortion really does and how it hurts women, and also more outreach to people my age, there would be fewer pro-choice people,” she said.
Jerry and Maggie underscored deeply-held values that have prompted them to support MCFL’s mission, “We strongly believe in the value of every human life, especially the unborn. We feel the organization’s budget, compared to that of, say, Planned Parenthood, is worthy of, and greatly in need of, all we can do.”
Finally, I asked Veronica why she thinks her story on Live Action is generating such widespread engagement. “I think people are seeing that, even in difficult situations, there is always good,” she explained. “They see my son and his life and how precious he is, and know that no one should be able to take the right to life away from him.”
Join the #SaveBabyMyles Summer Campaign with MCFL.
Myrna's story is like most of our stories: we're only an arm-length away from miracles -- and needs.
Share a video or well-crafted image every week this summer like the video above that saved Baby Myles life.
You can find more resources for videos, images, and articles on our blog
Pledge to join the #SaveBabyMyles Campaign here.