Isn’t There a Better Way? (Or Tiffany’s Response)

Terry L Thompson

“Isn’t there a better way?” This is a question I’ve often been asked. “Sure, abortion is wrong but why break the law? Why not just educate everyone on what abortion really is?” I wish it could work just that way.

However, when you’re passing by a neighbor’s house and you see a child drowning in the swimming pool, you don’t stop to educate the family on swimming pool safety or hold a class in the elementary backstroke. You rush across the neighbor’s yard (i.e., trespass) and jump into the pool to rescue the child.

Sitting in front of an abortion mill door to temporarily shut it down (i.e., trespass), while sidewalk counselors talk to the baby’s mother in an attempt to save both her baby’s life and to save the mother from the lifelong pain that comes from allowing her baby to be killed, is also a last ditch rescue attempt. We won’t stop all abortion in the U.S. by this method, but . . . we will save some lives. Every life is precious. Ask anyone who has been spared from abortion and see what they say about the value of saving one life!

I wrote the above the day after I arrived at Elmwood Correctional Facility to serve ten days for blocking an abortion mill door. The next night I was talking to Keith, on the bunk above me. Keith and I were discussing a wide range of subjects. When he found out why I was in jail, he said, “I know one of ‘your’ people.’ He then related the following story to me. He said that in 1987 his wife, Michelle, was pregnant. After a lot of discussion she decided to get an abortion and Keith drove her to a Planned Parenthood clinic in San Jose. As they walked to the clinic from his car, Keith said, some of “your” people called to them to “Please let your baby live!’ He was upset and told them to “Go to. . . .” After he took Michelle into the clinic he walked back to his car and this guy (one of “your” people) walked over to the car and started talking to him. Keith said he let him talk for a few minutes and then said he’d had enough and told him to leave. Before he left he gave Keith a brochure on abortion and asked him to read it. A few minutes later Keith said he began to think to himself that he really didn’t want Michelle to have the abortion. The pressure grew inside him and he suddenly threw open the car door and raced across the parking lot and up the steps of Planned Parenthood. The security guard was also racing toward Keith. As he approached to within a few feet, Keith shook his fist at him and warned him not to touch him. Inside the clinic manager was trying to keep the door closed. Keith pushed the door open and shoved her against the wall and then shouted to Michelle. “Where are you? Do you want to have your baby?’ “Yes”, she called back. She was already on a gurney. “Get off and let’s get out of here!”, Keith shouted. Well, they did get out, and a few months later Keith and Michelle’s daughter Tiffany was born. I was very moved by Keith’s story.

That night as I was getting ready to crawl into my bunk, I noticed something that brought tears to my eyes. Under Keith’s bunk, at about my eye level, was his small plastic drawer that contained the few possessions he had in jail. The drawer was lined with newspaper to keep the contents private except for the end of the drawer that faced me. There, inside the plastic facing out, was a handmade card with a crayoned heart and the writing of a six year old that said, “Happy Birthday Daddy . . . I love you . . . Tiffany.”

Thank you, Tiffany, for answering my question.