I can still picture it

By Christine De Baets

Within a two hour “Choice” Chain, you can converse with a wide variety of people. Whenever I set up, taking my stack of literature and turning my sign depicting an abortion victim to face approaching pedestrians and onlookers, I never know what to expect. By the time we pack up, though, it’s sometimes hard to recall conversations in detail. That’s why I try to write down significant ones as soon as possible while they are still fresh in my mind. 

The other day, I stumbled upon notes about a brief encounter from two years ago. I had completely forgotten about it until then, but it came back to me like it had happened yesterday. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

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It was July, and we were out in a busy square at the hottest hour of the day. A young woman had approached me, and when I spoke to her, instead of answering my question “What do you think about abortion?” she asked, “Can I please take a picture of your sign?” I agreed, and while she pulled out her phone, she explained: “I’m pregnant, and my family wants me to get an abortion. I’m going to show them this – so they know why I don’t want one.” 

We proceeded to talk about her pregnancy situation. She was around four weeks along, I believe, and she assured me she was in a good situation in terms of support, that she didn’t need any help. All she needed was something to convince her family. She said it was such a coincidence we met at that moment because she had just been talking to them. I gave her some brochures. She thanked me, and went on her way. 

Reflecting on our exchange, two things stand out to me. First, I’m reminded that when it comes to the discussion on abortion, what’s often missing is the truth. What I mean by that is, there’s a noticeable difference between talking about abortion like it’s an idea or a concept, weighing a list of pros and cons and bringing the brutal reality of what abortion really is back into consideration. 

When this young woman was talking about her ‘options’ with people who were probably well intentioned, she needed to make her case for why she would not consider abortion. The broken body of an innocent child was the evidence she was looking for. With that, she would be able to withstand pressure, confident that she was doing the right thing in protecting the life of her child. 

Secondly, I was humbled by the role I was given to play in the situation. Pro-life activism is, at its core, witnessing to the truth, and it is said that the truth defends itself. The pre-born child I met that day might be a crawling baby by now, but I have no way of knowing. I know she has a determined mother though, and I’m grateful I could be of help to her that day.