From the front lines of Dallas’ Routh street abortion center, brought to you by one of our faithful sidewalk counselors, Rebecca Thompson.
It looked as if the abortion clinic was not going to be open today, like last week. The puddles in the alley were left frozen from yesterday's rain. There were so few cars (a handful of staff) in the parking lot and one client, who left. Kenneth (found out later) was stuck in traffic on I-35 (4 down to 1 lane). I guess the ice. Joanne's telephone was out. So, I waited in the White Rose office for phone calls, prayed the rosary and listened while Debbi counseled encouraged an abortion minded woman who called. (She thought she was calling an abortion center.) White Rose helped 3,000 women last year. Three thousand. Debbi said much of their work is on the phone. So she must say what she says, and ask what she asks... a lot.
The center smelled mmm spicy... clean. The mom on the phone would have to drive from Tyler (about 2 or 2 1/2 hours away). Debbi offered bribery: gas reimbursement. (That's service!) Seems like the woman agreed to make the appointment. Before the day got really started, Debbi took Holy Water and dabbed all the door knobs with it, making the sign of the cross. The water was from Lourdes. It felt oily to me. That was the scent I had smelled earlier. Well, maybe Our Lady of Lourdes was hanging out at White Rose today. I think she was.
Outside again, Kenneth had arrived. Routh Street was up and operating at full force. ugh. A woman stopped her car outside the entrance. She was alone and had an appointment. Free sonogram pregnancy test services other options were offered (I didn't mention the possibility of gas money), and couldn't understand why she was determined to keep her Routh appointment. She promised she would come to White Rose when finished with the appointment. I believed she would; but she was warned that fear buttons would be pushed. They were. She emerged some hours later looking slightly despondent. Worried. Quiet. I walked with her up the stairs to the White Rose waiting room trying to engage her in conversation. Not so successful. She wasn't sure from the Routh pregnancy test if she was having a girl or a boy.
Debbi was soon to be available. So we sat there in the waiting room... waiting. She was fighting back tears. A box of tissues in hand, she went with Debbi.
Back on the street, lots of cars... in and out. The alley still had frozen spots. Seems like everyone shows up all at one time at this abortion clinic. It's hard to keep track of everyone. Prayer support arrived. Two women regularly drive from Waxahachie once a month (Thank you Holy Almighty God for these two women) to pray for a few hours. That pilgrimage (from the South) is the same interstate that Kenneth drives (from the North), each about a 40-50 minute drive. (They all pay their own gas.) And there were a couple of other turn-aways... couples leaving smiling... not aborting.
Kenneth and I stuck around about an hour or so longer than usual. We were about to call it a day... out of White Rose Clinic came the beautiful (now smiling) mother. No tears. No despondency. Glowing. She is 20 1/2 weeks pregnant... a baby girl!! She has another child too, a man who wants to marry her and be the father for both children. (Thank you Holy Almighty God!) She is happy hopeful... expectant and looking forward to all the graces God is bringing into her life. We were giving receiving hugs, congratulations, thanks and laughter. And I sort of think (for just a split second as typing this) that I could smell very so lightly that spicy clean scent. Thank you Our Lady of Lourdes for your intercessions and for your Motherly Love for all of God's children."