In a recent television commercial, country music star Tim McGraw and rap star Nelly meet in an airport where each mistakenly boards the other's plane. (For a small fee, you can view the commerical here [search for Tim McGraw or Nelly]). Needless to say, Nelly is very uncomfortable when he realizes that he is sitting among a group of white cowboys with country music droning in the background. Meanwhile, Tim McGraw is equally uncomfortable when he looks up and notices that he is sitting in a plane filled with black rappers with some hip-hop music for background effect. It is a classic case of two people being put into an unfamiliar environment, and while it is certainly improbable that either man would have come to harm on the other's plane, I would imagine if it had been a real mistake instead of a commercial both men would have really been quite nervous in those unfamiliar (almost alien) surroundings.
The Thinking Christian recently commented on an article that ran on the Planned Parenthood website entitled "Anti-Choice "Crisis Pregnancy Centers": A Personal Account" by Laura P. as told to Teresa Theophano. In this personal account, Laura P. goes looking for a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic and mistakenly ends up in a "Crisis Pregnancy Center" (CPC). Like Tim McGraw and Nelly in the wrong planes, she becomes uncomfortable being in an environment where the people do not behave the way she is accustomed to people behaving. After all, Laura P. had gone to see what she could do about aborting her baby, but these creepy people at the CPC were actually suggesting that she keep it! Imagine that.
The entire article is one of the most fascinating that I have read in awhile because it gives insight into the mind and thinking of a woman who not only sees nothing wrong with abortion, but apparently fears clinics that provide help and counselling so that women can keep their "fetus" alive. There is a very interesting block of text in the midst of the article that is a must read, but I will truncate it here for space reasons. After the CPC gave her a pregnancy test which confirmed that Laura P. was pregnant, the worker:
. . . congratulated me and said cheerfully, "There's an old saying — you never know who's going to bear the next king!" That's when I realized something was wrong; a clinic that was supposed to advise you about all of your "abortion options" would never say a thing like that. * * *
As we walked back down the hallway, she told me about how the center provides assistance for mothers. She said that I could give birth there, and that they would pay all of my medical bills — as well as my baby's bills for the first year or two.
She also told me that the center would provide food and all of my prenatal care, including delivery. I could tell that staff members tried to make the place look comfortable and welcoming, but to me it didn't seem very clean or well-kept. Even if I had no money and I wanted to keep the baby, I don't think I would have chosen to give birth at the center.
The woman then ushered me into another room, saying that a nurse would do an ultrasound for me. * * * After administering the ultrasound, the nurse turned the screen to show me the sonogram results. She said, "This is the fetus." Below the photo of the fetus, someone had typed in the words "Hi Mommy!" I couldn't believe it.
So, let's get the picture here: the woman thinks that she has gone to an abortion mill to discuss her options for ending her unwanted pregnancy (I guess she expected to discuss whether she wanted the baby removed by suction or D&X), but instead was presented with a real abortion alternative -- keeping the baby. The clinic didn't just try to talk her into keeping the baby, but offered real assistance -- it would help pay the medical bills for up to two years, pre-natal care, the expenses of delivering the child and food. Maybe she didn't think the clinic was particularly clean (it may not have been, but given the general tenor of her article, I tend to think that she was trying to make it sound worse than it was), but there is no doubt that the women at the CPC were offering her a real abortion alternative.
How did Laura P. feel about this presentation? It appears that it was not what she expected and she immediately became concerned that the "creepy" people at the CPC may actually use the information she provided to track her down and harrass her.
I was totally shaken but I tried to play it cool and appear calm. The receptionist made an appointment for me to come back in two weeks, and I thanked the woman for her "help." I didn't want to make a scene because I felt so unsafe — and I didn't want them to know that I was considering terminating the pregnancy.
The people at the center were downright creepy; I was worried that they might do something to me. The receptionist gave me all kinds of anti-choice propaganda to take home with me. I threw it away when I got home, and I never went back to the center. Thankfully, they didn't call me to follow up.
I did end up having an abortion, and I know it was the right thing for me. But I'm very wary about the workers at this place catching up with me, which is why I'm concerned about maintaining my privacy.
I've added the emphasis in bold to make a point: Laura P. went to the CPC by accident where she recieved a real abortion alternative. Yet, like the characters in the Tim McGraw-Nelly commercial, she became irrationally uncomfortable when she realized that she was not surrounded by people who are like her -- these people were not pro-abortionists.
Were the CPC workers going to harm her? Of course not; not any more than Tim McGraw's friends would harm Nelly or Nelly's friends would harm Tim McGraw. Still, she is absolutely paranoid that the CPC workers were somehow going to track her down and do something to her (exactly what she is afraid will happen is never specified).
What is most interesting is that Laura P. feels guilty about her decision, even though she knows that getting the abortion "was the right thing for me".
Just a couple of months after I had my abortion, I saw the woman who gave me the pregnancy test. She caught my eye while walking down the street, and I became extremely uncomfortable. I hate the fact that these people have my address and phone number somewhere in their records. It's awful that they set up centers adjacent to Planned Parenthood health centers and try to manipulate women into believing we're sinners. We're not.
I wish I hadn't filled out that form. I wish I'd realized sooner that I was in the wrong place. But I hope that at least other women will learn from my experience. I want them to know what their options are, and to know that places like this aren't any help at all.
I wonder why she felt uncomfortable? Was she worried that this woman from the CPC was going to grab her by the neck in the middle of the street and accuse her of killing her baby? And what is the comment about "sinners"? Nowhere in the article does it say that anyone called her a sinner if she got an abortion. Where did that come from?
I suggest that Laura P. is experiencing a subliminal recognition of the obvious. Yes, abortion may have been the "right thing" for Laura P. at the time if she concentrates only on her selfish needs of the moment. But perhaps, deep down, she is actually recognizing that she is a sinner (as we all are) -- that what she did was morally wrong on a broader and deeper level since she chose to kill her baby through the abortion when other options were available to her. Perhaps she is projecting onto the CPC workers her own personal demons that are haunting her about her very short-ranged decision.
The CPC was not "any help at all"? Probably not to one who has made up her mind that the baby is a clump of cells not worthy of consideration and who is seeking an abortion no matter what. But to those women who are truly interested in knowing the true alternatives for abortion and finding help (financial and otherwise) that will allow them to actually keep the child, the existence of CPCs where you can get good, free advice on abortion alternatives, help in paying for health care, free food, free pre-natal and post-natal assistance, parenting classes and clothing, CPCs are a wonderful place to visit and I thank God that they exist.
Cross-blogged at Apologia Christi.