One lovely day last June, Vern, a summer counsellor at Toronto’s downtown Aid to Women office, decided “to rollerblade” his way back to the Campaign Life Coalition office, a half hour away. It was a good decision, because as it turned out, he helped two teenagers change their minds about abortion.
As he approached an abortuary located on his route to the CLC office, he noticed two teenagers sitting on the concrete steps adjacent to the abortuary. They were wearing school kilts and were talking quietly. “I got a funny feeling that they might need help, but I wasn’t carrying any pro-life literature,” Vern explained. “However, feeling ‘duty-bound,’ I called Robert, a resident counsellor at Aid to Women, who is my emergency back-up or my ‘911.’ I told him about the teenagers, asked him to come down the street now, to bring pro-life literature and to talk to the girls.”
Quickly, Robert was on the job. He called to the girls from a safe distance (the abortuary is “protected” by a bubble-zone injunction) and approached them indirectly. suggesting, “If you have a friend who needs help, we run a pregnancy crisis centre down the street.” Then he continued “‘You know that abortion doesn’t make a woman ‘unpregnant,’ but results in the mother of a dead baby. What your friend needs is help and we can provide that at our office if you would like to visit us.”
There was no response from the two teenagers, so Robert decided to take the leisurely way back to the Aid to Women office, down leafy side streets to enjoy this beautiful summer day. When he arrived back at the office, to his amazement, he saw the two girls waiting for him. “I really didn’t think they had taken my invitation seriously,” he recalls. “It’s funny, though, how you never really know.”
At the office, the girls, both l6 years old, took pregnancy tests, and indeed one was pregnant. Sharon, a part-time Aid to Women counsellor, joined Robert in talking to the girls. The one who was pregnant confided to Sharon that her pro-life mother had once told her that if ever she got pregnant, she should tell her mother.
Sharon picked up on this important piece of information and guided the girl on how to approach her mother about her pregnancy. No mention was made of the father of the child, but Sharon supposed that he was another student. Sharon offered her help and a followup, but the girl seemed to have her own family resources and likely will be independent of Aid to Women.
Often, such girls or women either don’t contact the office again or they will do so after the baby is born. “They were polite and watched the videos on fetal development attentively. We gave them a prayer blanket and pro-life-literature. When they left, they seemed more peaceful.”
Then, Sharon prayed the Divine Mercy Prayer for them and for their families, as she often does for the people she helps.
Reflecting on how the unplanned actions of Vern, Robert and Sharon came together to help a pregnant teenager choose life, Robert quietly says, “These are not just coincidences. I believe they are God-instances.”