The Ride

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Mariam Lent heaved a heavy sigh as she accessed her email. Her Women United for Life meeting had gone on far longer than she had originally anticipated and now she had to finish her correspondence, send some email and get dinner on her table before her husband to return home from work. As soon as her email loaded, she noted with a groan that she had ten new messages.

She scanned the subject lines and clicked on one that caught her interest. The message loaded in a few seconds and she began to read.

From: Fight for the Unborn
Subject: MUST READ: How you can prevent abortions in Texas!

We are all so grateful that so many abortion clinics have been shut down in our beautiful home state of Texas. But even though it’s more difficult for women to murder their unborn children, some groups are setting up a free ride system to take women to their appointments.

We want our members to email the leader of this group, Women’s Rights Network Texas (karen@womensrightstexas.com), and volunteer to become a chauffeur. But here’s the best part; we don’t want you to take women to abortion clinics and assist with the murder of innocent children. We want you to drive these women around and talk to them about the importance of life, the sacrifice of Jesus and the sanctity of personhood.

When the ride is over, if they are still determined to abort their baby, then drop them off at a nearby church so they miss their appointment. If they change their minds, and we all pray that they will!, then drop them off at the nearest Crisis Pregnancy Center so that the staff there can help prepare them for the wonderful joy of motherhood.

No matter how it works out, we will be accomplishing a lot for God’s precious babies. Join us in our pledge drive and let’s get Texas women the help and support that they need to become real mothers to their unborn babies!

Sincerely your friend in Christ,

Martha Gilbert
Organizer of Fight for the Unborn

Mariam sat back and smiled. This was excellent. She knew she could accomplish so much more with this tactic than anything else her women’s group had tried. She quickly forwarded the email to her women’s group’s mailing list, knowing that lots of the other group members would want to take part in this. Mariam then sent an email to the address given and wrote a short but upbeat message that she wanted to help women in Texas get transportation to abortion clinics.

Satisfied that she had done enough for the rights of innocent children, she got up and started making dinner. The entire time she chopped vegetables and grilled steak, she went over in her head what she would say to these women. How she would convince them that the murder of their children was wrong and that when God grants you the gift of life, you accept it with grace and learn to behave just as a real woman would.

*

Chelsea

Mariam pulled up to Chelsea’s apartment building. She definitely lived on the wrong side of the tracks. Mariam stopped her car and looked around at the various people who were hanging around outside of the building. Two men glanced at each other, then at Mariam’s Lexus. The older woman quickly turned from them and focused on a woman who was approaching her car.

Mariam rolled down the window a crack and the woman asked though the opening, “Are you Mariam?”

She nodded and responded, “Are you Chelsea?”

The woman nodded in return. Mariam unlocked the doors and Chelsea slid into the seat. As they pulled out of the neighborhood, Mariam carefully observed the woman. She was older than Mariam had expected. Chelsea was at least in her thirties, just like Mariam’s youngest daughter. She was also nicely dressed for a woman getting an abortion, Mariam thought. She glanced at her hands and realized that the woman was wearing a wedding ring.

“Thank you for doing this for me,” Chelsea said softly as Mariam pulled out onto the main road.

“Not at all,” Mariam smiled. “I just want to help.” They drove in silence for a few seconds as Mariam stopped at a stoplight and tapped the address of a church into her GPS. The small grey box announced that they would arrive at their destination in 48 minutes. Mariam smiled to herself. That would be the perfect amount of time.

“So how do you find yourself in this position?” Mariam asked, smiling at Chelsea. “If you don’t mind me asking,” she added quickly.

Chelsea looked down, sliding her wedding ring on and off her finger in a nervous way. “I’m trying to leave my husband. If I have this baby I know I won’t be able to,” she finally muttered.

“Why do you want to leave your husband?” Mariam asked in horror. “You took sacred vows that joined you both together in marriage. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”

Mariam didn’t see Chelsea rub her face in an attempt to hide the tears that were sliding down her cheeks. “He keeps beating me. It started out as just a little at first when we just got married and now he’s put me in the hospital twice in the past six months. He says he’ll kill our children if I leave, but if we don’t get out of there, he’s going to kill me and possibly my babies too. I have a women’s shelter arranged and I just need to get this taken care of, then we can go.”

“Taken care of?” Mariam echoed. “You’re not having a tumor removed.”

“I know what I’m doing,” Chelsea said in a flat voice. “If things were different, I would keep this baby and love it just like I love my other two. But things are not different. I can’t support three children on my job and I have no one to turn to for help or childcare.”

“Have you asked your church to help you?” Mariam questioned.

“I don’t go to church anymore,” Mariam said, looking out of the window at the storefronts of the downtown area as they drove by.

“I’m sure a church would love to help you with childcare and maybe even find you a better paying job,” Mariam informed her. “I go to First River Catholic. Why don’t we stop by there and we can see what they can do to help you out?”

“I have looked into local programs and community help and none of it is enough for me to keep this baby. If I have to take off from work at all for this pregnancy I wouldn’t be able to feed my kids, even with assistance. Right now my children are wearing clothes with holes in them and eating mac and cheese every night. I can stretch a dime to a dollar, but I am tapped out. I don’t have enough left in me to go through with this pregnancy and become a single mom after leaving my husband.”

“Well, that’s where you’re wrong. You see, God never gives you more than you can handle,” Mariam said, brightly.

Chelsea glared at Mariam, tears running down her face. “Pull over,” she said in a low voice.

“Nonsense, I’m taking you to your appointment,” Mariam told her.

“No, you’re not. The clinic I’m going to is on Wood Swan Place, the address you put into your GPS was Hillside Drive,” Chelsea snapped.

“Well, I can take you to a Crisis Pregnancy Center. They can help you look into some different options for your baby. Maybe you can have it adopted. Wouldn’t that be better than murder?” Mariam asked, sweetly.

“Pull the goddamn car over,” Chelsea demanded. “You don’t know me and you don’t know my life. How dare you tell me what I should do? God has given me way more than I can handle already and I am not going to bring a child into this world that is not going to be able to be happy, healthy, and well cared for. Now stop this car or I’ll jump out.”

“Oh you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Mariam scoffed. “You definitely wouldn’t need to go to your appointment then.”

Mariam slowed the car and pulled into the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. As soon as the car stopped, Chelsea got out and slammed the door. She walked across the lot to a bus station and started studying the map. Mariam watched her for a few seconds. She glanced at the clock. Knowing the town’s bus system, Chelsea would probably miss her appointment. At least she had accomplished something today.

*

Giselle

Mariam had high hopes for Giselle. She sounded like a teenager over the phone and Mariam knew how to deal with teenagers after having three of her own girls. Mariam had prayed the previous night, asking god for the guidance to help this young woman make the right decision about her baby. As she pulled up to the high school that Giselle had arranged to meet her at, her heart quickly sank.

A young blonde woman hailed Mariam with a cigarette in her hand. She raced up to the car, her backpack bouncing almost as much as her breasts through the loose-knit sweater that she was wearing. Mariam, at first, hoped that this wasn’t Giselle, but there were no other people around at all and no other options. She unlocked the doors and Giselle sat down in the passenger seat, adjusting her short skirt.

“Hey, I’m Giselle. You Mariam?” She asked.

“Yes, nice to meet you,” Mariam said, managing a small smile.

“You too,” Giselle said. “My appointment is in two hours, so we have plenty of time. I want to get there early though. I’m right on the cutoff date and I have to get this taken care of now.”

“How far along are you?” Mariam asked as she pulled out of the high school’s parking lot.

“19 weeks,” Giselle said. “I had to get enough of my babysitting money together to pay for this.” She laughed. “My parents thought it was so great that I was working so hard and they thought I was saving money for college. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was saving up for an abortion.”

“How old are you?” Mariam asked. Giselle’s laugh and casual attitude made her think that she was much younger than her miniskirt had led her to believe.

“I just turned 18,” Giselle said, flicking her hair back. “That’s another reason why I had to wait so long. I know my parents never would have allowed me to get an abortion, so I had to be 18 in order to do it. Just had my birthday three days ago.”

“Are you sure you should be doing this then? Don’t you want to talk to your parents? Maybe the baby’s father? What if there is another way to work this situation out?” Mariam asked.

Giselle rolled her eyes. “The father hooked up with me after he saw his girlfriend kiss another guy. He is pretending that I don’t exist. I told him that I was pregnant and he told me that I had the wrong number. Whenever I try to talk to him in school he just runs away.”

“Why did you have unprotected sex with him then?” Mariam asked through gritted teeth.

“We had safe sex,” Giselle objected. “The goddamn condom broke. That can happen to anyone. It’s not like I went in there with nothing.”

“The safest kind of sex is not to have it until you’re married,” Mariam intoned. She set her GPS to the same location that she had attempted to take Chelsea and sat back.

“I thought you were supposed to be on my side,” Giselle objected.

“I am on your side,” Mariam insisted. “I just want to make sure that you’ve considered all of the options before you do something rash that you might regret.”

“The only thing I’d regret would be to have a baby right now,” Giselle laughed. “I’m starting beauty school right after I finish my final exams. I’m moving in with a girlfriend, I have everything set up. The only thing that won’t work out here would be me with a baby.”

“Don’t you think that’s selfish?” Mariam questioned her.

Giselle shot her an incredulous look. “I can’t keep a house plant alive and you want me to be in charge of an entire human being? That’s just silly. Also, I don’t want to be pregnant anymore. I’ve had horrible morning sickness that lasts all day, all kinds of shit makes me feel ill, I have to take naps constantly and I’ve heard that things only get worse from here on out.”

“Aren’t you worried that you might not be able to have any children after having an abortion? You do want children one day, don’t you?”

“Abortion doesn’t affect your ability to have more kids,” Giselle said, furrowing her brow. “I Googled everything about this procedure before I made the appointment.”

“If you looked on websites like Planned Parenthood and their ilk, they will happily lie to you just to get you to have an abortion,” Mariam informed her, darkly.

“Really? Because the only people who seem to be lying about facts are people who are against abortion. Have you heard that there’s a link between breast cancer and abortion?”

“Well yes,” Mariam said, “that’s completely true.”

“No, it isn’t. There’s no evidence to back that claim up. When I Googled that I just found websites that were completely biased against abortion and never linked any actual studies or proof, they just kept linking more of their own articles. If there is proof that breast cancer increases because of abortion then where is the actual proof?”

“There’s plenty of proof!” Mariam objected. “Organizations like Planned Parenthood bully doctors into remaining silent about their facts and try to whitewash the entire thing just so they can perform more abortions.”

“Yeah, it’s all a big conspiracy, right?” Giselle rolled her eyes. “I don’t know who you are, but you are not here to help me.”

“Sure, I am,” Mariam stammered. “I want to help you make the right decision for your baby and that decision is life.”

“Really? Because having a baby would totally screw up my life and I don’t see how a baby could have any kind of a life if mine is totally derailed.”

“You could have your baby adopted,” Mariam offered.

“Sure, because pregnancy has been a breeze so far. Why not go a few more months like this and not be able to live a normal life, just to give birth to a kid that I already know I don’t want and dump it on someone else so it can track me down in 20 years and ask me why I never wanted it.”

Mariam glared at the young girl. “You’re so selfish. Why can’t you think about anyone other than yourself?”

Giselle threw her hands up in frustration. “Because I’m not ready to be a mom. I know I’m not ready and that’s why I’m not having this baby. You can’t call me selfish and tell me that I’m not a not making good decisions and then inform me that I need to have a baby. Pushing a baby out of my vag isn’t going to change who I am or what situation I’m in.”

“But it will,” Mariam insisted. “Having a baby will make you rethink your life. It will make you care so deeply for another human being that all of your needs and wants become secondary. If you have this baby you will experience what it’s like to unconditionally love another human being. Why would you ever want to throw that away?”

“But what if it doesn’t make me this new, awesome person?”

“But it will!”

“Then why has any child ever died while in its mother’s care? Women have the ability to kill their children and neglect them and do all kinds of crazy shit. Women aren’t fairy earth mothers.”

“Because evil exists in the world and sometimes the devil acts through people,” Mariam bit out.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s what it is,” Giselle snapped. “Look, I know you’re not taking me to the clinic. My friend, Rona, lives up here. Just drop me off and I’ll see if her brother can drive me.” Giselle gestured to a trailer park that was coming up on the left.

Mariam started to speed up. “We’ll go to a crisis pregnancy center instead, okay? Then you can talk to someone about your options.”

“Listen crazy bitch, drop me off at my friend’s house or I will jump out of this car and definitely give myself an abortion. Understand?”

Realizing that what she was doing could possibly be construed as wrong by a population determined to keep the abortion holocaust going, no matter what, Mariam slowed down and turned into the trailer park. “Just stop here,” Giselle said. She hopped out of the car and grabbed her backpack before turning to Mariam one last time. “You might not agree with what I need to do, but that doesn’t give you the right to prevent me from doing it. It’s not your body and it’s not your choice.”

“It’s your baby’s body and he can’t speak for himself!” Mariam shouted at the girl as she slammed the door shut and walked off. Mariam quickly drove out of the trailer park and got back on the main road. Her plan so far hadn’t turned out quite like she had hoped, but she was still determined to get at least one baby rescued from certain death before she had to stop doing this.

*

Tasha

Mariam jumped at the knock on her car’s window. She rolled down her window and observed the young dark-haired woman standing aside of her car. “Are you Jennifer?” She asked in a soft voice.

“Yes, you must be Tasha,” Mariam said, “please get in. We need to get going.” She gestured to the dashboard clock.

Tasha slid into the passenger seat and carefully observed the driver. “You’re taking me to the clinic so I can get my abortion, right?”

“Of course,” Mariam happily chirped.

“Okay,” Tasha said. “I got an email from one of the organizers that there were people trying to talk women out of their decisions and taking them to churches instead of their appointments.”

“That sounds awful,” Mariam gasped. “I can’t imagine why someone would do something like that.”

As they pulled onto the main road, Tasha seemed to relax a little. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “Making this decision was difficult enough. I don’t need yet another person second guessing me.”

“I can understand their concern though,” Mariam started. “I’m sure they just want what’s best for all women and their babies.”

“No,” Tasha said, shaking her head. “They just want everyone to do what they want. They don’t want women to make their own choices regarding their health. They want all women to be baby factories who give birth on command.”

“That’s a little harsh,” Mariam balked. “I’m sure they just appreciate the sanctity of life.”

“Yes, the embryo’s life. Not the mother’s or the father’s or anyone else who is going to be affected by it,” Tasha said, rolling her eyes.

“Well, there’s being inconvenienced, then there’s being murdered…” Mariam trailed off, thinking that Tasha shouldn’t possibly have a comeback for that.

“An embryo is not a person. It’s a clump of cells that has the potential to become a person,” Tasha bit out.

“Is that what you have to tell yourself, dear?” Mariam asked, looking at her with sad eyes. “That your baby isn’t a person? Then you don’t feel so bad about having the procedure?”

Tasha pulled out her phone. Without speaking she dialed a number and waited for the phone to ring. “Yeah, I got her,” she said, looking over at Mariam. “She’s the same woman in the picture, just going by Jennifer this time.” She paused, as Mariam looked over at her, alarmed. “This is definitely her.”

Just then a set of blue flashing lights lit up behind Mariam. She looked in her rearview mirror to see that the car behind her was actually a cop car. She pulled over, glaring at Tasha. “What did you do?”

“We know your entire plan,” Tasha said, flatly. “What you did to Chelsea and Giselle is kidnapping and fraud. The police will probably go easy on you, but if you ever do something like this again or facilitate others doing it, you’re going to pay dearly.”

“I-I was just trying to help!” Mariam stammered as the officer in the car behind her got out and said a few words into his walkie-talkie. “I just wanted to help babies.”

“There are plenty of ways to help people, Mariam,” Tasha said. “Preventing women from taking responsibility for their own bodies and health is not the way to do it.”

“You don’t understand!” Mariam shrieked at her, her voice rising several octaves. “I’m doing God’s work! I’m saving innocent children from certain death!”

“Is that what you have to keep telling yourself in order to go through with this?” Tasha responded.