Having had two abortions, why I hate the idea of buffer zones.

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Never in a million years did I think I would be stood outside an abortion clinic for the third time.

 The previous two visits led to two abortions, one in my teens and one when I was in my twenties.  Both times I was given ‘counselling’ that lasted less than 3 minutes. I did not think long and hard about the life changing decision I was to make as I was fuelled by fear alone.  

I wasn’t offered any alternative, advice or time to think. I deeply regret my abortions, but I cannot change the past. I cannot go back in time and tell Rachel that she could have coped, that there is support: financial, practical and moral. I can’t change the past, but I can help others from making the same horrendous decision that I made and also support those that regret their decision.

I now volunteer to support women who suffer from the trauma of abortion that has led some to attempted suicide, self harm, eating disorders, recurrent nightmares, psychiatric interventions… the list is endless! Who would ever want women and men do go through this? If they had made the right decision for themselves, surely they wouldn’t be feeling like this. If the abortion clinics provided support and detailed information, then these women and men would have made an informed choice and not regret their decision.

Abortion clinics offer one choice, one choice that is not informed. ONE CHOICE IS NO CHOICE!

My third visit to the abortion clinic was different.  This time I was joining those offering choice outside the clinic. I stand in all weathers and have received abuse from angry protesters who my very presence annoys. As threatening as this may be at times, it’s worth it to support those women, like myself in a situation where you feel so alone….who have not thought long and hard about the decision to abort their child. Many like me don’t know that support is available. It’s too late for me but not for others. This is what drives me to be there for those women and men.

Before I made my decision for abortion, I needed to know the facts, the facts that I was blind to. I had no idea that a foetus was human, that it is not only life from conception but human life – this may sound unbelievably ignorant, but fear can blind you from the facts and abortion can close you off from truth for a lifetime.

I know exactly how many of the women feel as they enter the clinic, as I have walked in their shoes. How can I attract their attention for a few moments? I do this with a smile and quietly say, “I’ve had 2 abortions” and offer them a leaflet. The cameras from the abortion clinic are pointing at us 24 hours a day and they have no evidence of any form of harassment as this would most certainly have been made public by now.

The men and women who stand outside the clinic are not all post-abortive like myself, but have so much compassion and love for me and this is extended to all those that enter and leave the clinic. They, like me, are truly compassionate about the women and this compassion and love extends to those that choose abortion, offering them where necessary, a shoulder to cry on and the support they need to heal.

I don’t pray outside the clinic to convert those I speak to, I pray to be given the courage and the right words to say. If they could see Jesus next to us, they would see Him love them as they enter and how He loves them unconditionally as they leave the clinic and this is the message that I want to extend to them.

A buffer zone will buffer out the love and compassion that we offer, the services that some women want and desperately need and this saddens me beyond words as I and those I am with won’t be able to prevent mothers making the worst decision of their lives. The many ‘Rachel’s’ that will walk through the doors will never know that help was just outside the door.

The buffer zone may suit those that are so annoyed by a leaflet and an offer of support. I never thought freedom of speech would gag us from saying, ”Pregnant?  We can help.”