by Danielle Versluys
On May 18, 2013, a sweet little baby was killed in England.
A little baby who wouldn't ever have a chance to be born, to go to kindergarten or high school, to drive his first car (or ride the Tube), to celebrate his 18th or 80th birthday.
This little one could have died without me knowing he existed, just like the thousands of other babies who die each day in England and around the world. The difference between this baby and those many other innocents is that I heard his heartbeat just hours before he was killed.
I saw his mother face the wall, away from the ultrasound monitor, unwilling to allow the image of his little body kicking and squirming to be indelibly imprinted on her brain. I heard her cry and watched the tears pour down her face as she insisted there was no way she would keep this baby, because the father was no longer a part of their family.
This little baby was alive when I last saw his mother, climbing into a cab which would take her to the airport. 12 hours later, he was almost certainly dead and bagged as medical waste in a legal clinic in London.
On Friday, May 17th, as we celebrated the completion of our 5-day prayer walk in Ireland, Brandi and I received a call from Carolyn at Gianna Care in Dublin. She asked if we would join her for a last-ditch effort to save this baby's life.
The mother (I'll call her Amy) was on her way to England for an abortion, pregnant with her 4th child. Amy asked for an ultrasound to confirm gestational age of the baby, because if she was later than 15 weeks, the cost of her abortion would increase significantly and the mother couldn't afford the difference. She wanted to know her baby's age before she got on the plane to London; if the baby was over 15 weeks, he had a chance to live.
We arrived around 11 and Amy arrived almost an hour later. Carolyn made ready the waiting/counseling room, while I heated up the ultrasound room upstairs. The plan was for Carolyn and Brandi to welcome Amy and feel out if she was open to any offers of help and support in order to keep her baby. As I sat upstairs, listening to the murmurs of voices beneath my feet, I prayed for all four people below.
It was early Saturday morning when Amy came in to have the ultrasound. Brandi followed behind her, shaking her head sadly to me to indicate Amy's resistance to any alternatives to abortion. We sat quietly as Carolyn set up the machine and prepared Amy for the ultrasound. We smiled when the distinctive whoosh of a baby's heartbeat came through the speakers, praying the sound alone would shake the mother's resolve.
Sadly, Amy would not be moved. She resisted seeing her baby, but after many minutes she turned and looked hard at the monitor and the moving little person depicted on the screen. Brandi and I talked later about how we could see the strong reaction in her face, even as she tried hard to hide her emotion. Amy had framed ultrasound photos of her first three kids on her fridge at home, and yet something inside convinced her this fourth baby was not worthy of such an honor.
I was privileged to watch Carolyn of Gianna Care allow the Spirit to speak through her, as she did everything humanly possible to convince Amy her tiny baby should live.
As Carolyn discovered, much to our dismay, the baby was far under the crucial 15 week age. He was only 10-11 weeks old, plenty young enough for his mother to afford an abortion. Tiny enough that his fragile little body could easily be sucked through a cannula into the waiting jar.
Amy cried some more, refused all last-ditch offers of help, thanked us for our time and left around 2:00 a.m., taking a cab to the airport for her 8:00 a.m. flight to England. Carolyn, Brandi and I together begged God to intervene in the life of this hurting woman who so desperately needed His love, and asked Him to protect the little one we met just minutes earlier.
I don't know for certain Amy's baby is dead. I probably will never know one way or the other. God could have worked a miracle and opened Amy's eyes to the truth with seconds to spare. I do believe He can do, and often does, things like that.
I'm certain though, that even if the miracle occurred and Amy's baby still lives, many other babies carried into the abortion clinic in London did indeed die that Saturday morning. And I wonder: how many of those babies' mothers would have missed the appointment if they had first heard their child's heartbeat as Amy did?
Why did we get sent the "hard" one? The woman whose child was doomed to die except by heavenly intervention? The woman who saw her baby, living and healthy, and still chose to carry out the worst crime a mother can commit against her own flesh and blood?
For every Amy, there are many women who would be swayed by the image on the ultrasound monitor. Women for whom, like me, the sound of a baby's heartbeat whooshing through the speakers precipitates instant, intense joy unlike any other.
Those women are the ones I want to reach through Stanton Healthcare. Women who think there is no option but abortion, that there is nothing inside them but a blob of inanimate cells. I want to reach them here in my country, in my town, because I know they will choose right and choose life if only given the opportunity to meet their baby and given the assurance of knowing there is help.
At the same time, I also want to reach women like Amy.
The 5-10% who aren't convinced by the ultrasound.
The women who see their babies and hear the facts and still choose abortion.
I know, regardless of what she chose to do that May morning, Amy will never forget the hands of Jesus on the person who held the ultrasound wand on her soft belly. And no matter the litany of awful crimes she may ever commit, she will always know there is a Voice who speaks with love and not condemnation. I hope that, sooner rather than later, she won't ignore Him any longer and will find peace.
What I saw that early morning in Dublin was a shattered woman in the clutches of despair, a woman who needs Jesus. Who better to show Jesus to her than me, a woman who has been and would be in despair but for my Savior's love?