The young couple entered the clinic with heads bowed and now they stood before me, not certain whether they should sit or not.
“Our OB/GYN sent us here,” stated the young woman with tears in her eyes. I asked them to sit and waited.
”We desperately wanted this child,” he said, with great concern and fear in his eyes, “however, the doctor told us that the fetus is dead and he sent us here to talk with you.”
“Did your doctor give you the options: to carry the fetus to term or to abort?”
“I cannot carry a dead fetus for 9 months. I cannot,” tears now coming in torrents. The young man held her while she wept and asked, “Can you please help us? Our doctor sent us here for the procedure.”
A counselor came in to assist them with the required forms; to go with her to lab and to have another ultrasound. Counseling with follow up instructions and care came next to last.
A twenty-four wait period had to be observed; the day after was chosen; the appointment made.
The last task was to prepare them, as best we could, for the protesters who would not know why they came. They would hurl epitaphs at them as they would to all who came that day and every day.
On the appointed day, the young man stopped the car to let his wife enter the clinic while he parked. Protesters rushed forward. “God does not want you to do this,” they shouted.
Weeping she turned and screamed: “You don’t know why I am here!”
Hurriedly, the young man went to shield his wife from the maddening shouts of the protesters.
After seating her, he approached and asked, “Is it safe for me to go and speak with the protesters?” I assured him that it was as safe as it would ever be. I had not noticed any strangers on my way in that morning. Only the regular protesters were present and I would go with him.
We crossed over into their space. “Would you please hear this young man?” They all gathered around and agreed.
He stated simply: “We wanted to have a child but the fetus is dead. I would appreciate you not calling my wife and me names.”
The protesters stood silently. Knowing he had said all he could, he was ready to return to the clinic.
As the door closed behind us, he heard: “Don’t do this. We can help. Don’t murder your child,” as another young woman entered.
He bowed his head; disappeared into the waiting room to sit and wait with his wife… and his thoughts.