By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
As a radio reporter for the secular media, I covered everything from Presidential candidate visits to prison riots. But one news story that is especially vivid in my mind is the time I had to pay a visit to a local abortion operation.
The abortion business was considered to be one of the city’s busiest. Located just a few miles from a major university campus, its customer base included a number of students.
I recall that the building that housed the abortion facility was also home to a dentist’s office. One of the women I spoke to outside had come for a cleaning, not an abortion, and so she was frustrated when she saw the media attention the building had attracted.
I will never forget stepping into the building. I was hesitant, not certain what I would find. I never got past the reception area—the staff refused to speak to me.
What really lingers with me, though, was the feeling and energy (or lack of it) in the waiting room. This waiting station, where babies awaited their deaths, reeked of misery. The faces of the women seemed so forlorn. I wished that I could reach out and comfort them, allaying whatever fears had brought them to this point.
But I was just a reporter, trying to do my job.
How different an experience it was to visit a pregnancy resource center!
Entering it was like walking into the sunshine. The staff greeted me warmly, indicative of their compassion for all. Unlike the abortion center, the pregnancy help center felt like home.
It would be some time before I would come to the point where I could leave secular journalism behind and fully embrace the pro-life movement. But those early experiences certainly planted the seeds which led to my pro-life advocacy.
It’s been said that people might not remember what you say—but they will remember how you treat them. The treatment at the abortion facility was cold, hostile, and unwelcoming. In sharp contrast, the treatment at the pregnancy resource center was warm, friendly, and inviting.
It’s not hard to see, then, why so many women who have had abortions eventually become pro-life—even volunteering at pregnancy help centers. They know the depths of grief that occur from the loss of a child to abortion, and they do not want others to make the same tragic mistake.
In the end, women in challenging circumstances will know we are pro-lifers by our love.