This is the first in a series of “Stories from the Sidewalk” that we will be regularly posting on our blog at rtlcc.org. All of these stories are written by Right to Life Outreach Coordinator Linda Teliha. This is her first offering:
In my work at Right to Life, I serve as a sidewalk advocate: I speak with young women and couples going in and out of the Planned Parenthood on Fulton Street in Fresno, to offer them alternatives to abortion.
On the morning of my first day of work, I started to play out scenarios I might encounter and started to think of my responses. That morning, I realized I couldn’t ever have a response to every situation, and that I’d make myself crazy rehearsing for what might happen. I remind myself of the gift I was given, of not feeling remorse over a choice I almost made. However, I also never forget in any interaction that I could have been a grieving abortion statistic.
The other day I stood outside the clinic and watched a thin young girl come out of the doors of the Planned Parenthood center. She looked slightly dazed. I asked her if she needed help. She responded saying that she didn’t and that she was already done. I asked her what she meant and she said she’d taken the abortion pill.
That abortion pill is called RU486. The first pill is given to the expectant mother at the clinic, and she is sent home to follow up with another pill at home a day later. I asked her if she was certain that she wanted to go through with what she started. She looked regretful and said she just wanted to stop feeling sick. She then said that the pill probably wouldn’t work because she’d thrown up almost immediately after she’d taken it.
I asked her if we could talk and she said yes so we started walking away from the clinic and I asked her about her current situation. She told me she had a two-year-old at home and a significant other and that she was 22. Her significant other was fine with whatever choice she made but wanted her to stop complaining about feeling sick. She stopped to throw up a couple of times as we walked, and remarked about being embarrassed.
We stopped after a bit, and I looked at her and asked her if she thought maybe there was something about her coming out, running into me and not being quite sure she’d made the right decision, and she looked at me and said: “that’s what I’m saying.” I asked her if she wanted to go to a doctor that might be able to help her stop the abortion and she said yes. I called and the office said as long as she was there within the hour they could try to help her. Soon after, her significant other picked her up, and I leaned in and talked to him for a minute and said a couple of things to her son and they pulled away.
I am not sure what the outcome will be. We don’t always get to know each other. I do know that I got to do more than I would have if I hadn’t been there. I got to be a small part of someone’s life.