The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I was up and at it early Saturday morning to get ready to leave to go to Mass and then pray at the abortion clinic.  The night before I tried to relax and dispel the warfare in my mind – a few glasses of wine usually helps.  A big stumbling block for me on this journey and part of the reason for this whole blog venture – is that my story and my healing and my past have to remain essentially a secret for the time being.  I have small children who aren’t able to understand yet and shouldn’t have to hear such things about their Mommy.  I’m sure at some point in their lives, I’ll be able to talk to them about it, but until then, I have few outlets for all of these feelings and thoughts. 

Adding to this is the fact that I didn’t talk about my abortion for so very long that once I started, it was like I couldn’t shut up about it.  I couldn’t turn my mind off about it.  I started to look at everything and feel everything against the backdrop of my abortion.  I really have to practice discipline when dealing with all of this or else it would overtake my life and I simply don’t have time for that.  It would be way too easy to curl up in a ball and shut the world out and wallow in my despair.  Not saying that I haven’t done that for an hour or two or an entire afternoon before.  It would also be very easy for me to become the Prolife Superhero if I didn’t have the necessity of anonymity reining me in at the moment. 

But in His good time – we will see what unfolds.  For now, this is my forum with countless pages of paper I write on and emails that I pester my poor, but patient Priest with, the times that I’m in counseling  and the talks with my husband after the kids are asleep are the only time I have to really talk about this part of my life.  It becomes a fine line between hashing out my past and living in the present.  There is a lot of work to be done, but not a whole lot of time to do it.  Add to it too that sometimes I’m in such a hurry to help someone else that I don’t recognize that I still need help too.

Saturday was a reminder of that need.  Feeling bolstered by my participation in the Mass, rosary in hand, I was ready.  This is all the “good” part of the title of this post. 

Why is it that abortion clinics – in all their do-goodedness and their “helping” of women – are often tucked away somewhere, with quite frankly, an ugly and desolate entrance?  This particular clinic is in the rear of a building, with chain link fencing all around, nothing descript save for one sign identifying the building.  Of course the pro-choicers would argue they have to disguise themselves this way because of the horrible profilers when in actuality – I tend to think of the old adage that if you have to do something in secret, it’s probably not the right thing to do. 

The group I was with was much smaller than the first time I prayed outside an abortion clinic.  The first time the Bishop of our Diocese was with us and that brought a lot more people out, there were more clergy, etc.  Yesterday, there was no clergy at all.  A sad fact for me and I’m sure the other witnesses.  The person in charge thanked the celebrant who jumped in at the last minute to celebrate the Mass.  The group is minus a Chaplain at the moment and is waiting on a new one to be appointed.  I don’t know, but there is something about having the Priests there the last time and of course the Bishop, I felt better being able to be close to some alter Christus (Christi?  Christae?), protected and safe.  There are a few videos on YouTube of some Priests that surround an abortion clinic on four sides and pray – I’d like to see the stats on those days of women who changed their minds.

Anyway, I digress.  This group prays 15 decades of the rosary and in between they sing a portion of a song – which is a bonus for me because I can sing as loud as I choose and nobody looks at me like I’m nuts.  They also have a large crucifix and a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It’s a prayerful, peaceful witness across the parking lot from the door of the clinic.  They use these little walkie-talkie type things so everyone is on the same page and can hear and they ask people to use one to lead a decade.  The gentleman in charge did approach me and asked me to do just that, I silently shook my head, no.  Not up for that one yet, Lord, nice try though. 

I faired pretty well as I did the first time I prayed outside of this clinic.  My feelings and emotions are all over the place the whole time.  It’s uncomfortable at times because I know exactly what each woman is about to face when they get of their car and walk through that door.  I know what each tiny infant is about to go through.  I know every little sickening detail and I know what they are going to face when they come back out.  They think they just solved their “problem.” 

It’s difficult to watch each woman get out of the car too because none of them are alone like I was so it’s hard for me to watch and concentrate on my prayers when the anger starts to bubble up inside me at my own circumstances.  I temper it with thoughts of my Grace, thoughts of her glorified in Heaven and looking down on me with a smile on her face, happy that I’m finally at the place I am and not ignoring her any more.  She makes me feel okay about it for most of the time.  I ask her to intercede for me with our Lord and give me strength.

The strength I need for the ugly part - to not run down to the end of the sidewalk and punch out the woman who stands there and screams at each car that pulls in to the parking lot.  This woman is not part of our group – thank goodness.  I guess she is a regular there each week.  She sits in her chair and when a car pulls up she stands up and starts waving papers around screaming things like “baby killer,” “don’t kill your baby,” “you’re going to hell,”  and the like. 

She doesn’t get it.  None of those kinds of protestors do.  There was another “gentlemen” across the way and he yells and screams too.  Don’t they realize that maybe some of these women are choosing abortion because someone already screamed and yelled at them?  Or maybe they are choosing abortion because they are afraid that someone will scream and yell at them?  They are running inside the clinic to get away from your screaming!  Idiots.  So I keep breathing and praying to quell the anger and frustration.

The 15 decades were finished.  I watched about 6 or 7 women go into that clinic and 3 or 4 come out.  I hope that Grace helped to take those little souls and usher them to Heaven.  I hope that my witness there that day made some difference to someone.  The drive home was difficult but gave me time to sort out some thoughts and ready myself for reality.  Time to put it away for a while. 


  1. Thank you for carrying this cross with patience and dignity. May you have Veronica to give you a bit of comfort and affection when you need it and Simon of Cyrene to help when you just cannot do it alone and may the presence of Our Blessed Mother and her prayers give you strength.

  2. Thank you David for your beautiful words.