|40 Days for Life Milton Keynes, with Andy (R), founder David Bereit (L) and Kelechi (L, centre)|
This year, we ran our very first 40 Days For Life campaign in Cardiff on St. Mary's Street. The abortion clinic is unmarked and, for the most part, unknown. It is a busy street with lots of shops, night clubs, cafes and restaurants and offices. Indeed, the clinic itself is above a restaurant and the building is shared with a number of offices. We were a few weeks in when we were approached one day by a young man who calmly asked us what we were doing. We replied that we were praying for an end to abortion, but specifically praying for everyone who entered that clinic, that they would choose life. He told us that his girlfriend was inside the clinic, discussing and planning her abortion.
He told us that she had aborted a previous baby and that they also had other children but that they were living in temporary accommodation and were being pressured by social services to abort the baby that his girlfriend was currently carrying though they wanted their baby. When I heard him say this, I was saddened but not very surprised.
Again and again we are told that this is a woman's 'right to choose', yet it seems to me that few women do choose. Yes, some do, but many do not. More often than not, there seems to be some source of coercion. As the suffragette, Mattie Brinkerhoff, wrote in 1869, "When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society - so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged" We told him that we knew of an organisation in London, the Good Counsel Network, who could help him. I told him what I knew to be the truth: if he phoned them and asked them for help, there is no way they would turn him down.
They would (not might) help them with anything they needed: money, clothes, prams, food, counselling, accommodation. He seemed glad to know this and we were hopeful that he would phone, though he declined our offer to use our phones on the spot. So, after he and his girlfriend left, all we could do was pray and pray.
Being a former intern at SPUC and having parents who have volunteered and worked for SPUC for many years, we had quite a network of people to call on for prayers! We had people up and down the country praying for this couple and many offers of a home and help for them from total strangers! I was sorry that I didn't ask for a telephone number from the couple but I felt that it was so important, at a time when they were being pressured from all sides, not to add to this pressure and to leave them in God's hands. I kept asking the people at Good Counsel over the following weeks if they had phoned or not.
Sadly, they had not but I didn't give up on them because I know that no prayer goes unanswered. 40 Days For Life ended on the 24th March this year. By then, we still hadn't heard but we didn't forget about that couple. We all slipped back into normal life until one day about a week ago I got an e-mail from a member of the vigil's 'core team' saying that they had some good news...the couple had phoned Good Counsel and they are keeping the baby!
To say this was the best news I had heard all year was an understatement! I was so thankful that we had been there so that we met that young man and gave him that little card. It was such a little thing but it saved a life! In fact, it not only saved the baby, but it saved their mother and father from another abortion and the repercussions of extinguishing that life.
I think that few reading this blog could imagine just how many people screamed and shouted at us saying that we were "intimidating women" by standing outside a building where human beings are killed and peacefully praying. I am glad that we were there and we will be back for another 40 days, so that when the next couple comes up to us needing support and love, we will be there.
|Rhoslyn (L) with 40 Days for Life founders Shawn and David. Also pictured is Ann Howard, a former SPUC intern|
|Pro-abortion protesters oppose the prayer vigil in Cardiff|
|40 Days for Life vigil supporters praying|