By Ava Frank | Intern
Often, our goal during outreach is to inspire others to care about abortion and be swayed toward our position. While these are certainly worthy objectives, this isn’t always the best approach because we should always be prepared for those interactions which demand that we listen rather than talk.
Sometimes, the people we meet just want to share their story, and we are the ones who actually need to be impacted. I let a woman share her story and she gave me hope when I thought I needed to give it to her.
While at Columbus State Community College, I approached her and asked what she thought about abortion. She stopped in her tracks and told me, “I had an abortion.” I looked at her, heartbroken, and said I was sorry. To my surprise, she looked joyful as she began telling me her story.
She got pregnant at a very young age and the daddy left. She had an abortion, not fully aware that inside of her was a living baby. Soon after, a friend explained to her what she had actually done; a truth which would have been easy for her to deny or ignore. But she didn’t. She looked at me and said, “I killed my baby; I took away its life.” She confronted her mistakes head-on and, after realizing her sin, asked God for Forgiveness.
Not long after that, she was given a chance at redemption when her sister became pregnant and was considering abortion. She told her sister that the life inside of her was “precious and not hers to take away.” Her sister had the baby and she concluded that because of her choice in the past she was able to save her niece.
Hearing her testimony filled me with encouragement, and she closed our conversation by giving me even more. “I want you to know what you are doing here matters, what your group is doing is what everyone needs to be doing,” she said. “Unfortunately, when I had my abortion I did not understand that I had taken my baby’s life away. You guys are not out here to hate on women, but to show them the truth and compassionate options. I wish that someone like you was doing this back when I had my abortion.” She told me her name was CJ and that her experiences inspired her start her own organization which helps women in difficult situations.
It’s easy to despair after a day of outreach when we don’t feel as though we’ve impacted anyone. And although our job is to go out and inform people, we sometimes forget that those people can impact us. This lesson was listening, listening to a stranger giving me inspiration when I thought I needed to give it to her.