Editor's Note: Reagan Nielsen is the Midwest Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America.
ST. CHARLES, MO, March 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Something happened at the first stop of the Midwest tour of the Planned Parenthood Project — at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri — that brought me to tears and reminded me why I do what I do.
After the first time they see the display, which exposes Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report from the 2013-2014 fiscal year, students are usually shocked to learn Planned Parenthood commits 897 abortions every day — and that taxpayers are funding this organization that thrives on aborting innocent babies.
At the Lindenwood campus, most students that walked by had no idea that Planned Parenthood committed so many abortions – or abortions at all for that matter.
The majority of students thought we worked with Planned Parenthood. One of the librarians came out to me and said, “Wow! I really support what you are doing here today. If you need copies or anything printed just let me know, and I’ll take care of you.”
When I said, “Thanks so much! Did you get a chance to read all of the displays?” he took a closer look, then turned away and marched back inside.
A couple people said we were liars and full of…organic fertilizer.
Other than that, it was a mellow educational day — until just about the time we were ready to pack up.
There was a group of three young women who got upset as they walked by. They decided to go sit across from us and start yelling and making fun of us. When a banner would fall over from a gust a wind the young woman would yell, “That’s what you get for being anti-abortion!”
I started putting our teardrop display away. As the wind kept knocking it over and as I was zipping up its cover, one girl yelled, “Hey I wanna talk to you, anti-abortion person!”
Lisa, the president of Lindenwood Students for Life, asked her if she had a question, but the girl said she wanted to talk to me. Preparing myself to get yelled at, I took a deep breath and calmly walked over to her with a friendly smile on my face asking if she wanted more information.
When I got to her, she couldn’t put her words together, stringing together question after question at one time. Frustrated at that point, she spit out, “Ok, just tell me why you are here. Like why do you hate abortion? Why are you attacking Planned Parenthood?”
It seemed the answer would take awhile, so I took a seat on the ground next to her.
I explained how I actually wasn’t attacking Planned Parenthood; I was just exposing their annual report, because I don’t agree with how they treat their clients. As she grew more upset and continued fumbling over her words, I knew she had a personal experience with abortion.
Usually in conversations like this, the woman will talk about her abortion at some point, so I just continued to calmly answer her questions.
She started to take breaths, and we had a conversation about where women should go if they don’t want to have a baby. She still wasn’t willing to open up so I briefly talked about pregnancy help centers and how they would do everything Planned Parenthood does, minus abortion, for free.
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Then she said, “Well I think women should be able to kill it if they don’t want it.” So I said, “Oh ok, so you think it’s human then and you recognize abortion is killing something?”
She said, “No it’s just blood. Seriously, I know. I had an abortion.”
There it was. She was one of the 897 women who had an abortion at Planned Parenthood.
My gut reaction wasn’t shock. Instead, I told her how sorry I was that she went through an abortion, and I asked her how she was doing. She told me she was fine, but I could see the hurt that she was trying to brush off.
Then she grabbed her phone and said, “See, it’s just blood!”
My stomach turned as she shoved her phone up to my face and I saw what was on the screen, her aborted baby.
I can’t even put into words what I felt at that moment. I have been around multiple women who have suffered from abortion, but I have never had a woman take a picture of the aborted child and insist on showing me.
Turning to another photo, she said, “Actually, you can see a leg and a foot in this one.” And you could.
It was the saddest thing I have ever seen.
I’ve stood in front of graphic images of aborted babies and it is extremely saddening, but seeing someone hold up a picture of their aborted child was a different kind of sad. I knew who that child was — 15 weeks old — and that (s)he didn’t even get a chance at life.
Tears just starting running down my face as she (in her words) “proudly” showed the picture to her two friends.
But as she turned to me, her eyes welled up, too.
I’ve never been in this position before and I probably shouldn’t have cried, but my heart just ached for this woman as she tried to hide the hurt she had experienced two years earlier with her own abortion.
She had taken pictures of her baby and saved them on her phone. Clearly she knew she had ended the life of her child. As the tears continued to roll down my face I said, “I’m so sorry. I can’t help it. I’m just so sorry you felt like this is what you had to do.”
“You deserve better than this.”
She continued to hide her emotion but couldn’t, as her eyes filled up with tears.
Sensing she was uncomfortable, I asked her if I could give her my card and she could call me or text me another time. I also gave her the card for a local pregnancy center, so she could get help if and when she was ready.
We talked for a few more minutes, and she told me how the father of the baby didn’t want her to get an abortion, but she did it anyway. Her parents couldn’t know, and she needed to finish school. She even recognized the fact her baby was too far along to have taken the RU-486 pill.
She said, “They screwed up. Fifteen weeks is too late to have taken the abortion pill. You could see the leg.”
She knew it wasn’t just blood. It was her baby.
I felt like I could have sat there longer to talk to her, but she wasn’t willing to move to another location where we could have privacy from her friends (who were laughing at me). I told her it was so nice talking to her, and I hoped she would call me soon.
I feel confident that she will also go seek post-abortion healing from the pregnancy help center. I also trust that God will take care of her. I will pray for her every day as I know she is grieving.
This is why I do what I do.
Abortion hurts women, and I will not rest until I know not another single woman will be devastated by the trauma of abortion.