Once I was walking down the sidewalk in Philly, pushing the kids in my double jogging stroller, trying to hear of their day over the roar of the constant urban noise, when someone asked me for directions. She was a small woman, walking with a pregnant woman and a man. All Chinese, they had poor English and I had trouble understanding them.
“Planned Parenthood?” they asked. “Do you know?”
I did actually, because passing it caused the hair on my arms to stand on end. Sometimes I’d see Catholic protestors praying outside of its walls, but mostly it was like any other building…except for all the cameras taping the sidewalks around its doors.
Going from the details of Camille’s kindergarten to being asked about Planned Parenthood was pretty shocking to me. Words stumbled out without a filter.
“Can you help us get there?”
“You know where?”
They all just stared at me in silence. “She needs abortion.”
If I’d planned on this event, I’m sure I would’ve been able to deftly explain why I was fundamentally opposed to abortion. I would’ve flipped out pie graphs, quoted statistics, and used all my rhetorical skills to try to talk her out of it. Instead, words just fell out of my mouth without a filter.
“I know where it is, but I can’t tell you how to get there because I don’t want you to get an abortion because I think that’s wrong.”
The pregnant lady teared up and the man came closer to me. “I don’t want it either.” He pointed at the first lady who was asking directions. “She wants it.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, as I walked off and left them dumbfounded.
The children began their chattering once again–Crayons. Play-do, recess–but I only thought of the woman. Instead of going home, I wheeled the stroller around and tried to find them. I walked blocks and blocks, thinking that I could offer to take the child if she had it. I walked toward the clinic, which was useless since they didn’t know where it was. I was crying, feeling I’d squandered an opportunity. After walking around hopelessly, I called all the abortion centers around my apartment building. I didn’t know what I’d say if I found them, but I never did.
I thought of this as I was reading about Rudy’s donations to Planned Parenthood. His people are spinning it, saying he personally hates abortion. But, as the New York Sun points out:
The fact is you really can’t claim to abhor abortion and give money to Planned Parenthood at the same time.
I mean, I couldn’t even tell someone it’s location. I wonder what went through Rudy’s mind when he was writing out the checks?
Later that night, I was at a Hanakkah party with my friends. “What’s wrong with you?” they asked.
I relayed the story about how I’d missed an opportunity by being a blubbering mess.
They looked at me with sympathetic yet blank eyes–it was a party, after all. Not to mention, both of them had actually had abortions themselves. My friend patted me on the back.
“We all hate abortion,” the other said and then served me latkes.
CHARLES adds: Raise your hand if you, like me, have no idea what a “latke” is.
On a more serious note, I actually used to live about five blocks from that Planned Parenthood clinic and many times saw the Catholic protesters outside. If we have any readers in Philadelphia who feel the same way we do about that chilling place, let me commend an alternative to your attention: Alpha Pregnancy Services. My wife and I heard about it through our (and the Frenches’) old church. We support Alpha financially, and if you’re one of the few pro-lifers in the vicinity of Center City Philadelphia, you might consider doing the same–or at least memorizing the address in case you’re ever in Nancy’s shoes. (And no, that is not a slap at our dear friend and sister.)