Click here to see pictures of the baby shower for Abby and Joyce
The testimony of a woman who is part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign is not only saving babies, but changing women’s lives as well.
A popular mantra of the pro-aborts is that pro-lifers care only about babies, that once a sidewalk counselor convinces a woman not to have an abortion, she is left alone outside the bubble zone to figure out the rest of her life. This convenient lie lets pro-aborts claim a bit of moral high ground but it is so far off the mark that it cannot go unchallenged.
For a glimpse of what really happens once a woman has chosen life, this week I visited the area of Allentown, Pa., where a dedicated group of pro-life women have elevated follow-up care to an art form. Two women whose babies were saved over Labor Day weekend – thanks to the efforts of a Silent No More witness -- were the guests of honor at a baby shower.
Organizing games and making introductions at the shower was Maggie Sweet, a petite and beautiful blonde who doesn’t look anywhere near her 46 years. Magdalena Sweet was born in Bethlehem and became involved with a much older man when she was in her teens. She had two sons with him, but he left her when she was nine months pregnant with the second boy. She got pregnant a third time with another man, and aborted that child. Then, reunited with her husband, she had a third child, a daughter.
Now remarried and healed, she introduces herself as the mother of one aborted child and the aunt of five. But for many years she suffered in silence and never spoke of her abortion. That changed after her mother became seriously ill in 1997. Her illness was misdiagnosed and she was given the wrong medication, which destroyed her liver. One day at work, Maggie received a phone call summoning her to the hospital: Her mother had only minutes to live.
When she saw her daughter crying, Maggie recalled, her mother said, “ ‘Don’t cry for me. Think about the pain of Jesus.’ She was able to unite herself with Christ on the cross.”
Against the odds, Maggie’s mother received a liver transplant, enjoyed a full recovery, and won a $4.5 million malpractice lawsuit. She donated most of it, and used some money to open the Holy Infants Gift Shop in her church.
One day a young girl came into the gift shop asking to use the phone. She said she was on her way to have an abortion. Maggie had never spoken about her abortion, but she knew God was calling her to be Silent No More. More than a year later, the girl returned with a stroller and a six-month-old baby boy.
“I just came in to introduce him to the woman who saved his life,” the grateful mom told Maggie.
“I lifted him up in the air and I said, ‘God, this one’s for you,’ ” Maggie said. “I knew that day the purpose of my life.”
Now every Saturday at 6 a.m., Maggie can be found outside the Allentown Women’s Center holding a sign that says “I Regret My Abortion.” By all accounts, it is quite a scene outside the abortion mill, with the prayerful sidewalk counselors, the strident clinic escorts and sometimes, belligerent anti-abortion protesters who scare everyone and hurt the pro-life movement. But Maggie’s approach is gentle, and has even earned the praise of an anti-life blogger who writes about the Allentown clinic.
The pro-lifers in Allentown were energized in 2007, when Father Frank Pavone led a prayer service outside the mill. Joyce Mazalewski, who now carries a “Women Do Regret Abortion” sign provided by Priests for Life, said Father Pavone was “instrumental” in her decision to become a sidewalk counselor.
Over this past Labor Day weekend, Maggie says, God had plans for her. By the time the holiday weekend that marks the official end of summer was over, Maggie had logged four baby saves. Two of those moms who were moved by Maggie’s testimony were the guests of honor at the shower I attended this week.
Abby is 20 years old and already has three children, including a 14-month-old girl who is blind and suffers from fluid on the brain. No one would deny her hands are full but she chose life that day in Allentown and found herself surrounded by a caring community. When she delivered her fourth child nine weeks early – another girl --, Maggie was with her at St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown, along with Mary Hartnett, Mrs. Mazalewski and Dr. Maryann Freeman Brenjar. Catholic Charities has provided her with invaluable assistance and the baby shower equipped her with everything from diapers and wipes to a crib.
Joyce, a young woman from Kenya who also responded to Maggie’s testimony over Labor Day, expects to have her son next month. When he’s born, he won’t be lacking anything, thanks to the mountain of gifts at the shower.
Mrs. Hartnett hosted the shower in her Allentown, Pa., home, a former United Methodist church. It was the third such gathering hosted by the women who spend their days saving lives in Allentown.
“Everyone has been this generous at every shower,” said Kathy Kuhns of Reading, Pa.
“We put out the word that a couple of babies have been saved,” Mrs. Harnett said. “It’s just so amazing how everything falls into place after that. I call them Christ incidences. God provides.”