Abortion: an issue of monsters and savages

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Meaghan Colvin
A&E Editor

Hail Mary, full of grace …

Behind the lines, or just across the street, I look out towards the abortion clinic. It looks like an ordinary building, an ordinary shape with ordinary architecture. The day feels glorious; it’s the perfect weather for shorts and a t-shirt.

… the Lord is with thee.

One bead right after the other. I’m telling myself to quit going through the motions of the prayer and just pray. But it’s hard not to recite sometimes. I’m running down a to-do list in my head: clean bathroom, finish article, do laundry … just ordinary things.

Blessed art thou …

But I’m not out here for the sake of appearances. It goes beyond looking like a good citizen or a goody-goody. It’s my own way of saying, “Thanks, whoever you are, wherever you are. Thanks for turning around and going the other way.” Something like that.

… amongst women …

Not many women come to the clinic today, thank God. But the ones who do look ordinary. That’s because they are ordinary; hats, high heels, sunglasses, sweatsuits, jeans, blazers, tennis shoes. Each one is different, but you encounter all these women on an ordinary day. They could be making a quick run to Tom Thumb. They could be dropping the carpool off to school. They could be dragging themselves to that 8 a.m. class. Anything ordinary.

… and blessed is the fruit …

Across the street are more ordinary people sporting matching t-shirts and matching rosaries. The leader breaks from the bunch. He’s bald, but his jeans and t-shirt make him appear young. You’d find replicas anywhere – he’s ordinary. He lunges towards a woman going near the clinic. “HEY! SINNER!” I stop praying aloud and listen. “SINNER! DO YOU HEAR ME, YOU SINNER!” She looks frightened and walks even faster than before – the clinic is her only sanctuary. “KEEP WALKING, YOU CRIMINAL, YOU’RE JUST ONE STEP CLOSER TO HELL!”
Two large men dressed in white shirts stand on both sides of her, whoever she may be, to keep her safe. They walk her into the ordinary brick building, away from the wailing and grinding of teeth.

… of thy womb …

My chest always tightens up when the women leave the clinic. In a way, they look so lifeless. But I don’t know what happened in there. I don’t know what’s happening with any of them. I don’t know what that one woman ate for breakfast, where another will be next Wednesday, how many times that other woman cried during the week … endless questions, and I’ll never know the answers.
The woman exits the clinic from the back door after a decade or so. She’s in a wheelchair, looking weaker than before. I want to give her a hug and hold her close and tell her it’s going to be okay, even if I’d be lying. I remain silent and standing where I am. The man, holding a Bible, waves it at her as she moves along. His words are louder and more menacing than before. “MURDERER! MURDERER! YOU DON’T DESERVE TO LIVE! YOU PATHETIC – ”

Jesus.

People come out of their stores near the clinic with horror spread across their faces. Some laugh at the lunatic. This man doesn’t stop his hollering. In fact, his group joins him. “You’re going straight to hell!” a girl shouts. She can’t be more than fifteen. “Yeah! And I hope you burn there!” her friend cries out. Are they smiling? No, they can’t be … My group and I have finished our rosary. We keep quiet and look straight ahead.

This woman looks down at her lap. At one point, she glances up to look for her ride. Her face reveals total agony. Her olive skin and dark hair remind me of someone …

Holy Mary, Mother of God …

The nurse takes her to the parked car. It’s just an ordinary car zooming to ordinary places. It’s running, ready to go. The windows are tinted, so I can’t identify who is in the driver’s seat. The matching group continues to sneer at her as she slowly steps into her side of the car. The car backs out of the lot and escapes. I feel sick to my stomach.

… pray for us sinners now …

That car’s been gone for minutes now, and I can’t get that woman out of my head. Did she even want to be here today? Did she want to go through with it? Will she be able to sleep tonight? Tomorrow? Will that man’s monstrous voice ever leave her ears, her memory, her heart? Will it ever leave mine?

… and at the hour …

He approaches our group with a beat in his step. “Good work today, everyone!” We all stare at him speechless. My fists are clenched; I only notice it when I feel the cross press a little too deeply into my skin. He walks away, looking proud of himself.

… of our death.

I’m not a judge. I’m not a saint. I’m not God, thank God. I’m just an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary world of sinners and savages.

Amen.

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