In my work as a sidewalk advocate, I made a decision to be more assertive with my questions with the people we were interacting with on the sidewalk. I said I was going to start asking straight out if they were considering abortion. We interact with lots and lots of people going in and out of Planned Parenthood. Most times we don’t ask that specific question and patrons will tell us they are “just there for birth control or “testing.”
Right away we met Tonya and Fabian outside Planned Parenthood in the parking lot. They were driving out of the parking lot wanting to forget about the baby they just found out they were expecting. Neither felt ready. Fabian is going to school planning to be a physical therapist. Tonya is working and going to school. They are young. They`ve been together for several years and they have big plans. Tonya was more open to a baby than Fabian. Fabian didn’t want to face the families and he wants to appear as if he is a good man. However he wanted to support Tonya with whatever decision she wanted to make. He made that clear.
We asked if they’d be willing to come talk to us in our building next to Planned Parenthood. They hesitantly agreed. Tonya left Fabian in the car. She felt he really didn’t want the baby. We talked to her separately for a while and supported her. The main thing we made sure was that she felt loved, unjudged and that she knew there were resources to help her through this. We told her our personal stories.
Eventually we asked if we could also talk to Fabian. She agreed and we asked Fabian to come in to talk. We talked with them together and Fabian was worried we had an agenda. We explained that we were not there to make their decision and that we just wanted to provide them both with information that was both scientific and born from the wisdom of our experiences and age. We showed them the models of the baby that were the size and shape of their baby. We talked about potential regret and all of the side effects possible from abortion for both men and women.
The conversation was not going well with Fabian so we called our friend, a Right to Life volunteer named Joe, to pray and support us. He didn’t answer the phone, but he just happened to walk in right at the moment we needed him! He went in with Fabian and we went out with Tonya.
Later, Joe told us that Fabian began to sob and talk about his fear of what her family would say and do. He wanted to be a good father, but felt scared and unprepared. Joe talked to Fabian about the regrets he would have as a man if they chose abortion. He talked to him about this being an opportunity to be a good man.
Meanwhile, we continued to talk with Tonya and she became more and more certain she wanted to keep the baby regardless of the conversation in the other room. She actually started to get excited about the new life inside her.
Fabian and Joe came out of the room and Fabian said that all along he only wanted to support what Tonja wanted and that he just didn’t want us to change her mind for her. As much as we didn’t want to make their decisions, we were happy to be a part of providing them with tools to help them make up their minds.
Below is a statement from Tonya
“I was really scared to tell anyone about it. I knew deep down that I couldn’t get an abortion and that I didn’t have any other option but to step up to what I did. When you guys called me over to talk to you and sat me down in the room I felt so much pressure and stress leave me. Your words were very helpful and kind. I also like the fact that it wasn’t just about me. You included fabian and showed him that there were options and that he didn’t need to be so close minded.”