I went to Washington. D.C. for work and for the March For Life with with the organization I am a part of, the Susan B Anthony List (SBA). We had the privilege of meeting with and hearing from some of our most inspirational national leaders, such as the President, Vice President of public policy, the PR leader, and our National and State Directors.
We knew the March For Life was going to have a HUGE turnout this year. We projected that, and the President’s announcement that he was going to make history as the first president to ever speak at the March for Life confirmed those projections! We handed out “Most Pro-Life President Ever” signs before security opened.
There were people shoulder-to-shoulder in congested lines waiting to get through security two hours before he arrived. When we finally got through security, the band “We Are Messengers” was starting up. It was nothing short of exhilarating to be around tens of thousands of people holding numerous signs which all conveyed a similar message: We are pro-life! We will speak for the voiceless!
What a time to be alive!
After the president spoke, a few of us with SBA headed back to the office, so we got a head start in the March. There were a handful of small 4-5 person groups of protesters. Some had tape over their mouths and stood in silence; some openly vocalized disdain for the president, shouting, “hey, hey, ho, ho, President Trump has got to go.” One particular group with bull horns shouting, “my body, my choice,” created a human barricade around the small stage in front of the Supreme Court steps. This stage was put in place and meant for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign led by the post-abortive help organization Angelics4life, another pro-life group I proudly work with. More than 40 of us were to share our abortion regret stories at the end of the March.
We got back to the office, just a mile or so from the Supreme Court, and I headed back over to hold a “I regret my abortion” sign, and to get in line to share our stories. As I held the sign, I felt several shoves on my back, and witnessed individuals with pro-choice attire on making violent threatening hand gestures at me. One man got my attention as he slid his hand across his throat while smiling, indicating cutting my throat, while others held finger guns and mimicked shooting me with them and laughing.
In just 20 minutes’ time, the protesting heated up even more. People were jumping up and down in anger, still shoving past pro-lifers, screaming in bull horns, and continued to block the small stage. What I do not understand is why would anyone, even pro-choice people, openly want to prevent women from sharing abortion regret stories?
When the Silent No More Awareness president got on stage to introduce all the women, the protesters barricading the stage started shoving toward her against the podium, trying to yell over her microphone, and causing the speakers to go in and out. Other members of the Angelics4life who were not sharing stories had to get in front of them and allow themselves to be pressed against to prevent the stage, podium, and wires from being pushed on any longer. Police behind the stage started moving in multiple times to ensure a visual on who was causing the issues, but thankfully they did not have to get involved.
Every time the protesters shouted, the president and the individuals would pause to allow their full stories to be heard. This happened several times throughout our time there. I started noticing women I had seen share before were crying, and it made me nervous as well. We comforted each other and shared affirmations to stay positive amongst the chaos. When it was my turn to share, I walked up on the stage, terrified and shaking. As I got my words together I could hear people in the crowd shout out, “you got this!” and clapping; it was all the motivation I needed. I shared about the abortion I had, and how it was the worst mistake of my life. As I left the stage, many people hugged me and thanked me and I could not hold back the tears any longer.
When I got back home to NC, I shared the photo of me holding the sign. Several people began messaging me, asking if they could share it. I said that I made it public for anyone to share, however the share button was not available for them. I clicked the share button myself, and received a popup stating, “Could not share post. Sorry the post that you’re sharing couldn’t be uploaded. It may have been recently deleted.” There was an option to click “Report, or Okay.” I chose “Report.” That was on January 24, and I still have not heard anything back from Facebook about the report.
Since this was my first time at the DC March For Life, and first time in D.C. for that matter, there were a lot of mixed emotions.
I have probably shared the story of having had an abortion over a hundred times, not including sharing on social media, and it has never been difficult. God has brought so much healing and really deliverance in that area of my life, that I don’t see it as my story of secret shame anymore, but His story of redemption. It is like He has given me new memories or something. However, as I walked closer to the steps of the Supreme Court where I would be waiting hours later for our line to form, and for us to share the abortion stories, I became paralyzed with fear.
I panicked and recoiled inside, and I mentioned to my National Director, Patricia, how, “I’m supposed to come back to this spot later, and the crowds will be crazy, and it’s a mile walk back, I probably won’t make it in time, so I should just not even bother.” She glanced at me, and without hesitation said, “What?…Nichole, you have to at least try”. That was enough of a push for me to go.
Although I trembled the entire time I spoke, and in fact have reverted back a little in sharing since then (still trembling slightly weeks later), I pushed through, and I am still pushing through all over again. If I have to be a little uncomfortable sharing a story which may help some women choose life or find freedom from their past abortion, then I will just push through the fear and discomfort for the rest of my life; I do not care how hard it may be for me.
If I had to choose one thing God has taught me through all of this, it is that sharing my story and my experience is not entirely about me, but it is to show His great love for the broken and hurting.