It was Saturday, July 29, 2017. I will never forget that day. Sunny and clear with only a few clouds dotting the blue sky. It was 7:30am, so the summer heat had not yet begun. I was on my way to an abortion clinic in my city. My goal that day was to try and provide the women who entered this place the choice of life for the child in their womb. That day, I brought my three children with me to help in this effort. Mom stayed home, but she was always praying from the moment we left until we returned safely home. Armed with information for free medical care, resources donated by people from my church, along with the hope of the gospel, I hoped we would see one life spared.
Summer proves to be a high traffic time for many abortion clinics. On the way to the clinic, I always get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Early on, I thought it was nerves. After years of being involved in this kind of ministry, I’ve learned that feeling I felt had more to do with the anticipation of the spiritual battle that happens in places like these.
After we arrived, I instructed my children to be praying and standing where I could easily see them. Over the years, I learned that anyone coming to a place to murder an innocent child in a mother’s womb had little thought of running us over with their vehicle in the process of keeping an appointment. So, I wanted to keep my children close. However, I also wanted them to be seen by the women entering the building.
Scripture is clear, “…children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth” (Psalm 127:3–4 ESV). My children were used to being with their father at the clinic. This was far from their first appearance with dad over the years. However, they were also very aware of how serious I was about their safety.
As we stood in front of the doors of the clinic, we were met by volunteer escorts who tried to keep their clients away from us. That day, we witnessed a number of girls entering the building; each of them ignoring our offers for help, assistance, free medical care, and even the adoption of their children. I would instruct my children to pray for these women as they entered the building. With each pregnant woman entering the building, the magnitude of what was happening began to be even more evident to all of us.
After a while, I noticed a car slowly approaching the clinic from a street behind me. As I turned, I realized there were two people looking for the parking lot into the abortion clinic. Unable to find it, they parked on the street. I slowly left my spot in front of the doors of the clinic to stand adjacent to the driver’s side door of their parked car. I noticed an older black man and a young black pregnant mother coming out of the vehicle.
As the young lady exited the car, I said to her, “Ma’am you don’t want to come here. This is not a place for someone like you. It would be best for you to keep driving and to never come back to this place again.” As the older gentleman exited the car, I said, “Are you her father? I hope you aren’t bringing her here to murder her baby.” I then asked his name. He said, “Man, you don’t need to know my name.” I remember begging this father to care enough for his daughter to take her away from this place. I said, “My name is Virgil. You don’t want to murder your grandchild today, sir. If you care for your daughter, you will take her from this place and help her care for the baby.” I then asked them what they needed. I offered money for assistance, medical care, a place to stay. This didn’t change their mind.
I knew I had less than two minutes before the volunteer escort would see this young lady and quickly whisk her and her father into the clinic. I had to think fast about what to say. My only goal in that moment was to convince them not to do what they were about to do. While two minutes is not much time, that’s the only opportunity you may have to make a case for life. I remember pleading for the life of the child in her womb.
Lastly, I remembered something that I used whenever I saw a black family entering the abortion clinic. I asked, “Do Black Lives Matter? Does this Black Life Matter?” I then said, “Ma’am, if you go through with this, I want you to remember that on this day you decided this black life, the one in your womb, does not matter.” I then followed with the plea, “Don’t do this.”
Four years earlier on July 13th, 2013, a verdict would spark the Black Lives Matter movement. After hearing all the evidence in the Trayvon Martin case, a six-woman jury would find George Zimmerman not guilty. Black Lives Matter was established that year for the purpose of “combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovating, a center for Black joy…” What was evident from the origin of their movement was that not all Black lives mattered to them.
According to census reports, Blacks represent 13.4% of the population. However, blacks account for 37% of all abortions. The focus of Black Lives Matter is clearly those blacks shot by white police officers regardless of the circumstance. If we examine the number of unarmed blacks shot by police 2017 and compared our findings to the number of black babies killed in the womb, the numbers would be staggering. The point is simple, to BLM, not all Black Lives Matter.
This is the point at which those advocating for social justice state that Black Lives Matter has the singular focus of standing against the systemic violence taking place in Black communities at the hands of white police officers. It would be easy to acknowledge this kind of advocacy without pause, if there were just one organization with the power of BLM willing to stand against the systemic violence taking place in Black communities at the hands of Black mothers. It would have been amazing if on this Saturday morning, there would have been just one advocate standing with me to assist this young woman wrestling with whether or not the child in her womb would live or die.
That day in 2017, however, I would watch this dad take his daughter into the clinic. The last thing I said as he entered the door was, “Sir, you don’t have to murder your grandchild today. There is help.” I pleaded with him one last time as I heard the heavy steel door shut and the buzz of the security door on the other side open as they stepped through.
My heart was heavy after this face-to-face interaction. I sensed that this father/grandfather did not want to end the life of his grandchild. My children watched the entire episode unfold as I turned to them and told them to pray. I then took out my Bible and began reading Scripture aloud. And then it happened.
I heard the buzz of the security door and I couldn’t believe my eyes as this young mother and her dad came walking out of the clinic. Both of them had smiles on their faces as they slowly made their way toward me. Excited, stunned, and not sure what to do, I reached in my bag for information that I thought would help them with next steps. I asked if they were going to keep the baby. I asked if they needed assistance. I remember writing down my wife’s cell phone number and I told this young lady if she needed anything to call that number. I remember telling her about my church and about the reason we were there—Jesus Christ.
I then turned to my daughter and my two boys and said, “This is my daughter, Princess. These are my two boys Princeton and Price.” They exchanged smiles and my daughter, whose eyes were filled with tears, nodded affirmingly. We never got the young woman’s name. We never asked. We watched them leave the now filled parking lot determined not to return. I can’t remember a brighter summer day that year than that day Saturday, July 29, 2017.