By Kasey Ramsey, SUNY Geneseo Students for Life president
Early last August I was contacted by my Students for Life of America Regional Coordinator about the National Sidewalk Day that SFLA was holding. She asked me to be the sidewalk captain for the Rochester, NY area. I was hesitant as I had never sidewalk counseled before, but I decided to do it.
All I had that day were my father and myself – just the two of us to represent all of Rochester. But it turned out to be enough.
After talking it over, we decided to go on Friday instead of Saturday (the designated National Sidewalk Day) because Planned Parenthood only did abortions during weekdays.
So there we were, both in our “Pregnant? Need help? Ask me” shirts, my father with his Rosary, and me with flyers and brochures from local pregnancy resource centers.
I had done a training with Sidewalk Advocates for Life but I didn’t know what to expect for my first time out on the sidewalk. I talked to a few women walking in, but many avoided contact and quickly walked inside the building.
Down the street, I saw a young girl walking towards the clinic. I politely asked her what she was going in for and she said “To get a pregnancy test”. I reassured her that we would both be there when she got out and if she had any questions, I had all the information she could need.
About an hour later she came out.
I walked up to her and asked “So…?”
“I’m pregnant” she replied with uncertainty.
“Congratulations!” I wrapped my arms around her and told her even though things may seem scary, that she was a strong, young women and had the power to do this.
She told me was only 15-years-old. I could only imagine the fear of being so young and pregnant. I had a pile of papers ready for her and I quickly added my number to the top of them, telling her to text or call anytime and I would be there to help.
A week later I got a text. I was so excited but also really nervous. I wanted to say the right things and be there for this girl.
I arranged to get lunch with her and two women from my local parish. We met on several occasions to talk about her options and what she felt in her heart was the best decision. I could tell how much she loved her baby already from the way her eyes lit up talking about the first time she saw the ultrasound and heard her baby’s heartbeat. We discussed everything, from an open adoption to the support and resources available to her if she chose to parent.
We didn’t just talk about the baby; we also talked about school and her life. We went to the zoo where I met her boyfriend.
After several conversations she reached her next big hurdle: telling her parents. We talked about every possibility, who she wanted to be there, if she wanted me to come over to help, who she wanted to talk to first, etc.
One night I received a frantic text that her mom had found an ultrasound picture that she had in her room. I reassured her that it would be all right, but no reply.
I texted her every week for a month with no reply. I was terrified that something had happened. Thankfully I heard from her and we were able to meet again over lunch, where she told me that her and her boyfriend had decided that they not only wanted to keep their baby girl, but wanted to parent as well.
I went to the hospital the next day to see both mom and baby. They were both perfectly healthy and doing well.
I am so incredibly proud of this young mother for choosing life and being so strong. She plans to continue with her education and go to college when the time comes.
So that one day, with only two people outside an abortion facility in Rochester, made a difference in this family’s life. This young mom’s decision not only affected her preborn baby girl but her boyfriend, his family, and her own family.
It doesn’t take many people to make a big difference!