Today I did something I used to do all the time, but rarely have the time for anymore since I am working full time in post abortion ministry. I went to pray in front of Planned Parenthood in Greenburgh, New York, as part of Forty Days for Life. It wasn’t planned…I found myself in the area and felt a call, as Monsignor Reilly would say, to visit Calvary .
There was a time, in the late 80’s and early 90’s when I was a regular at this Planned Parenthood every Saturday morning, praying and speaking to the women who were going in for an abortion in the hope of having them change their minds. So many situations popped into my mind today as memories came flooding back.
Physically, nothing much has changed, except for the presence of a brightly colored cheery looking truck with a group of young women and guys on it and the words “Take Care of Yourself” . There is nothing cheery about abortion and it is so ironic that this place of death would deceive women into thinking it is a place of care.
It really struck me to think of how many babies have died in that clinic and how many women have been injured there since those days long ago. With over a million abortions in our country each year,no doubt it's a lot.
It is very personal when I go now. It is no longer an abstract clinic with nameless faces ,but the place where babies I know by name died, and people I have grown to love in our ministry had their entire lives change. As I stood outside praying, I felt myself getting emotional thinking of the pain and grief this one building has caused in the almost twenty years since I was a regular presence.
I’ll admit it…I hate going. It leaves a rawness in me because the people are not strangers anymore but ones I have grown to care deeply about. As I watch the workers walk in and out I wonder what it is that allows them to do this and then I say a pray for them knowing that there but for the grace of God it could be me.
It is good to go to the clinics and pray, just as it was good for St John to be at Calvary. To stand at the foot of the cross as babies die and lives are forever changed. I am grateful I got to spend a little time there today. However, Calvary is not a place you go to “Take Care of Yourself”. It is a place of pain and death, still hearts can be converted there and that is our prayer...that no matter what, God's grace can change the hardest heart even in this place of death.