"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.
In bunched hoods and pulled-down beanies, gloved and ungloved, but each rubbing their hands or stomping to stave off the chill, a crowd gathered in front of Planned Parenthood, December 21st, in Boston. At first, only the sound of muffled traffic crackled on the air.
But then a young woman arrived, arms filled with paper. Carols.
And the crowd began singing.
The day didn't warm up, but the space on that pavement did.
It came upon a midnight fair...
Hark! the herald, angels sing...
MCFL members, young and not as young, longtime and just joined, belted out the songs that have given hope to millions through the centuries.
This is The Carol for Life, or A Pro-Life Christmas Carol. Each year, partnering with fellow pro-life organizations and communities, MCFL hosts this outreach -- and each year, we reach hundreds of women.
Members hand out gifts, and resource cards for women, and men, that list medical and community centers offering real medical care, housing, and testing, and don't kill. Boston Pregnancy Help is right up the street in Brighton. Just outside of Boston, Friends of the Unborn, in Quincy, provides housing.
"Make sure to ask them for all your options," said one member, as a girl approached -- "If they just offer abortion, that's not a choice."
"Ask to see your ultrasound."
"You and your child are worth a full life."
"Can you take a minute?"
One girl did pause for a minute, meeting C.J., our community engagement director, as she had to leave. "I can't afford another one. I can't even afford my utilities this month."
By the end of the day, local MCFL members had covered her utilities. She never entered the clinic.
In Boston on Saturday, December the 21st, before 8:00am, there were people on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood. They were bundled in layers, and stomping their feet. Most were young, joined by a few older members who have spoken up for the vulnerable here for decades.
In Boston on Saturday, a life was saved -- because people were on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.
Christmas comes but once a year, but you have the chance every morning -- before work, on a day off, on the weekend -- to save lives and make abortion unthinkable; make abortion visible; make hope a choice a woman can make.
See our online resource shop for pamphlets and resource cards.
See previous articles on how to save a life on the sidewalk.
Donate today to MCFL to keep our feet on the ground where it makes the most difference.
"But it wasn’t until September 2009 that Johnson actually saw for the first time what happens in the womb during an abortion. The experience radically changed her life. She quit Planned Parenthood and became a pro-life activist. Her extraordinary metamorphosis is portrayed in “Unplanned,” a compelling new movie starring Ashley Bratcher ."
So writes Jeff Jacoby in a recent op-ed for The Globe. Detached, but thoroughly honest, his article does something very similar to what UnPlanned does on the screen: looks directly at the people impacted by abortion, without flinching, and yet without judging either.
"Before it is anything else, the destruction of life in the womb is an act of violence against a helpless creature."
I encourage you to take this article and run with it. Share it and support The Globe, but more particularly, support Jeff, who has gone against the unspoken gag rule in our nation not to look at the victims of the killing of a human at his or her earliest stages.