Pat Wittkop volunteers as a pro-life counselor outside an abortion clinic in St. Paul, Minn. Amid the sadness of abortion, there are triumphs for life.
A St. Valentine's Day Miracle
by Pat Wittkop
I received the most wonderful gift on St. Valentine's Day a few years back. It made me so happy, I wept tears of joy. My friend Kathy and I were fulfilling our commitment to pray every Thursday outside the Planned Parenthood Center in St. Paul, Minn. We had been there about three hours.
We prayed for Kim, the pro-life sidewalk counselor with the warm smile and outstretched hand as she offered literature to a young woman, listing alternatives to abortion. We heard her say, "Hi, I'm Kim. Here's some information for you."
The Planned Parenthood escorts tried to distract the woman from Kim by placing themselves between her and Kim. They talked continuously to the young woman.
Nonetheless, Kim persisted: "You do have other choices. There is a Life Care Center right over there," she said, pointing to a nearby building. The escorts brought the woman inside the clinic, and the door slammed shut.
All we could do was wait and hope that something Kim said would sink in, and that God's grace would touch someone's heart inside the center. Kathy and I continued to silently pray. Shortly after, three people from the Legion of Mary came by and prayed a Rosary and The Divine Mercy Chaplet.
We saw the escorts leave. This meant all the women were inside for their abortions. Soon, two women came out carrying little brown bags of medications and other things needed after an abortion.
How my heart aches when I see them come out. Many of them are alone, clutching the brown bag with one hand and holding their stomach with the other. They look sad and bewildered. There are no escorts with them when they come out.
Often, we give them a list of post-abortion counseling centers or at least shout the 1-800-WECARE number. At that number, they can talk to someone who's had an abortion and who knows what they are going through.
On this Valentine's Day, I dreaded the "brown paper bag" scenario. Each brown bag means a little life lost. It means a wounded mother who will grieve her lost baby and never be able to bring the child back. It means death chosen over life. It means a feeling of failure for me.
I had difficulty focusing on my prayers, feeling grief stricken. I decided to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet again after having prayed it several times. In the middle of the prayer, the clinic door burst open. Out hurried two young women in tears. Neither carried a brown paper bag!
One got on her cell phone, sobbing as she talked: "I didn't do it. I couldn't go through with it."
My heart leaped for joy, and tears fell freely as I hollered across the parking lot to her: "There is a Life Care Center right on the corner just beyond that flag. There are lots of people who want to help you."
I stood there crying and thanking God for the women's courage, for His grace, and for all the people I knew who were praying and fasting for the protection of the unborn. What they would give to see the miracle I saw on St. Valentine's Day at Planned Parenthood.
Pat Wittkop is a mother of seven and a freelance writer. She volunteers as a sidewalk counselor for Pro-Life Action Ministries, St. Paul, Minn.