STAMFORD—I was deeply saddened this past month to watch the Reproductive Health Act go into effect in New York—an act that is extremely troubling for the future of our most innocent and vulnerable. While NYC celebrated with a pink-lit bridge and building, I was presenting on the future of the abortion industry to a local Legatus chapter. Abortion up until the moment of birth is horrendous but the irony of the act and the future of the abortion industry is this: medical abortion (the abortion pill) is surpassing surgical abortions and the future of abortion will largely take place in the first ten weeks – not up until the point of birth.
According to The State of Abortion in CT – 11th Annual Report medical abortion continues to rise in the state of Conn. In 2007, medical abortion only accounted for 19.8 percent of all abortions performed. Fast forward to 2016 and the percentage has increased to 44.4 percent. This is the trend nationwide according to the National Catholic Register in 2017. Europe is already almost exclusively performing abortion by pill.
If you have been paying attention the battle you will find this to be an even more terrifying shift—and one that has crept frighteningly close to you and me. A few weeks ago, I happened to notice the Plan-B pill behind the counter at my local CVS in Stamford. It’s behind the counter at yours too.
I also experienced the cultural shift from popularity of surgical abortion to medical abortion, through our local sidewalk ministry—a ministry created to help abortion-minded women choose life.
While sidewalk counseling this past October, one woman in particular caught me off guard as she walked past me into the clinic. I had missed the opportunity to engage her because there were no visible signs that led me to believe she was a “woman in crisis.” She was well dressed with perfectly styled hair, emotionally composed and had almost a lightness to her step— which caused me to believe she was a pedestrian on her way to work.
As with the hundreds of women I’ve seen enter that clinic over the years, there was certainly nothing about this particular woman that exhibited qualities often associated with abortion-minded women. An abortion-minded woman can usually be identified by:
- Baggy/loose/comfortable clothes
- Emotional, sometimes crying
- Emotionally drained—appearing as if she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders
This beautiful woman entering the clinic displayed NONE of these signs and so I assumed her to be just another of the many clients entering Planned Parenthood for a well-woman exam.
About 20 minutes later I spotted her leaving the clinic. A surgical abortion will keep a woman in the clinic for several hours – so I knew it couldn’t be an abortion that brought her there that day. As she was passing me, I struck up a conversation—asking her if everything was okay and ultimately attempting to guide her elsewhere for her future medical needs.
She looked confused, so I tried again, “What brought you to Planned Parenthood today?”
She responded, “I was pregnant.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Did she just say she was pregnant? I quickly adapted my conversation to clarify because if she was pregnant and leaving after only 20 minutes, that could only mean one thing.
I gently asked, “Did you take the abortion pill today?”
She nodded yes.
I knew timing was of the essence and if I could convince her to choose life, there was a possibility we could save the baby using the abortion pill reversal procedure—but I would need her to choose life first. I told her that her baby was still alive and if she had doubts about the abortion, we could reverse it with a good chance the baby would be born completely healthy. We exchanged names and phone numbers and I listened while she shared the reason for the abortion. The father had lost his job. They already had a 12-year-old child and a second baby was not in the plans. I gave her the phone number for the abortion pill reversal hotline and pleaded with her to call.
“How far along are you?” I asked.
“Two months,” she responded.
I implored her to act quickly because the baby could still be saved despite what they might have told her inside the clinic. The woman told me she would speak with the father of the baby, but she gave no indication as to whether or not she would call the reversal hotline.
In the end, I had to entrust the fate of the child to the Lord.
The scary reality illustrated by this story is this: We are not dealing with the same abortion battle of 50 years ago or even five years ago!
The woman who I encountered exhibited no emotional distress – as if she had no idea what she had done. It used to be that a woman exiting the clinic after a surgical abortion, was highly emotional, tearful, deeply saddened by what she had just undergone physically, emotionally and even spiritually…
But this woman presented herself completely opposite, illustrating that the abortion pill has made the abortion process of today seemingly effortless, simple and unseen for women—and their lack of deep emotional distress before and after the “procedure” is visual evidence as such.
I was deeply disturbed by my encounter that day. I couldn’t help but wonder:
How many other women had I passed, in my day to day, who were in the process of aborting their baby—who had taken the 1st dose and were on their way home to take the 2nd dose, completing the abortion, the next day? Due to the simplicity and ease of access, it’s quite apparent that any woman you encounter could be undergoing an abortion right in front of you. Think about it:
The woman ahead of you in the grocery store checkout line, the woman next to you on the train, a colleague, the teenager behind you at church, your daughter or granddaughter. It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to tell who may be in the process of having a medical abortion.
The only emotional distress these women will experience will be in the isolation of their bathrooms or bedrooms once the baby passes.
This is the future of abortion.
The abortion pill is the new point of encounter to engage women in a crisis pregnancy and if it’s anything like my experience, we will be operating in the dark.
We must keep our eyes open because the new abortion battle has shifted and not in our favor. We must focus on embracing our young women from the moment of their first well-woman exam and build a relationship with them so that abortion is never the option and doesn’t trickle down to future generations.
Noelle Gross is the Founder of Project Beloved Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that exists to establish the first-of-its-kind, life-affirming women’s health center in Connecticut in order to meet the very basic yet unaddressed need for dignified, natural, evidence-based, comprehensive health care.