This song describes me exactly recently. I’m tired of all this pressure and overwhelming expectations.
Aaron Gouveia and his wife were already having the worst day of their lives. Then came the abortion protesters. [Source]
“You’re killing your unborn baby!”
That’s what they yelled at me and my wife on the worst day of our lives. As we entered the women’s health center on an otherwise perfect summer morning in Brookline, two women we had never met decided to pile onto the nightmare we had been living for three weeks. These “Christians” verbally accosted us—judged us—as we steeled ourselves for the horror of making the unimaginable, but necessary, decision to end our pregnancy at 16 weeks.
After extensive testing at a renowned Boston hospital three weeks earlier, we were told our baby had Sirenomelia. Otherwise known as Mermaid Syndrome, it’s a rare (one in every 100,000 pregnancies) congenital deformity in which the legs are fused together. Worse than that, our baby had no bladder or kidneys. Our doctors told us there was zero chance for survival.
I’m not a religious person and I’ve never believed in heaven or hell. But there is a hell on Earth. Hell is sitting next to the person you love most and listening to her wail hysterically because her heart just broke into a million pieces. Hell is watching her entire body convulse with sobs because she’s being tortured with grief. For as long as I live and no matter how many children we have, I will never forget that sound. And I vowed to do everything in my power to make sure she’d never make it again.
Across a crowded street, two people with “God Is Pro-Life!” signs and pictures of torn-up fetuses managed to drive the blade in even deeper. Again, I was left trying to console the inconsolable, feeling even more helpless this time, because I wasn’t allowed into surgery with her.
Running on pure adrenaline, and without even a hint of a plan, I grabbed my cell phone and crossed the street. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it, I just knew I wanted to make public the cowardice of these protesters. The video’s below—they didn’t disappoint.
I learned a few important things from this encounter. First, these people aren’t used to being confronted. They prey on the weak and they pounce on the wounded. It’s easy to berate people and shame them when they’re too beaten down to fight back. But I chose to do just that, and you can see what happened.
They spout the same tired rhetoric passed out at rallies and subway stations. They don’t have one salient response to any of my questions.
The most telling thing about their cowardice is when the woman on the right gets upset that I’m recording the conversation (which is perfectly legal) and then threatens to call the police. The irony is rich. She wanted to call the police because I was peacefully expressing my opinion on a public sidewalk and exercising my First Amendment rights, which is exactly what she was doing. But I’m not on “God’s side,” am I.
She also claims the women at the clinic are suicide risks. Even if she believed that were true, does she really think yelling at them and shaming them in public is going to encourage these women not to kill themselves?
After I took a walk and calmed down, it was time to pick up my wife and go home. When we pulled out of the clinic, the protesters were gone, and a police cruiser was parked nearby with the lights flashing. My wife, still groggy from the surgery, managed to crack a little smile, and asked, “What did you do?”
I have no idea if it was my interaction with the protesters that got them to leave. I doubt it was, but my wife was convinced that was the case. At first, I didn’t think of it as a big deal, and I actually felt a little foolish for getting so heated.
My wife, suddenly serious, pointed out a women entering the clinic. Within minutes, she said, that woman would be making a serious choice. Whether she kept her baby or not, it didn’t matter—what matters is that she can make the decision that’s right for her. And she can make it without people screaming at her.
My wife and I wanted our second child. We loved her. We even had a name for her, Alexandra.
You never know the circumstances surrounding this kind of decision. Consider this my plea: stop terrorizing women. Stop adding trauma to their trauma. If you’re able, stand up to these bullies in nonviolent ways. Speak out. And if you have a camera, use it.
—Aaron Gouveia is a regular contributor to The Good Men Project Magazine.
This is fucking beautiful.
Good for him.
This man is my favorite person.
I am just…appalled and sickened by the women in that video. I could not be any more horrified than I am now…therefore I can not possibly fathom the horror that that poor man and his wife went through.
Even if you’re not out there in the streets with disturbing signs and verbally shaming the poor mothers who need abortions and their husbands, if you’re voting “pro-life” or just taking a neutral stance and not voting at all, you are promoting and encouraging this sort of behavior. You are making the people terrorizing women and their husbands/lovers when they’re already at their most vulnerable feel right. And that is wrong.
There are so many circumstances where women need abortions. If they were raped, if they are too young to keep it and even carrying it would bring them torture in school, if their babies are born with pretty much no chance of survival, if the mother has a life threatening illness that can transfer to the baby, if the child’s father left and the mother can’t even take care of herself. These people just do not care the situation.
My mother wanted a baby so badly. She was almost going insane. Then she found out she was pregnant and was overjoyed. Later on, she found out she lost the baby. She was torn. The worst part, it was too big to come out as if it were in the early stages. She had to go to one of these centers to have it physically removed. She was depressed for weeks. What made the whole situation worse, were these women shouting at her. Showing her what her baby would look like. Telling her that she was a terrible person. She believed them. She wanted that baby so badly and these imbeciles just drove the knife deeper.
How could you do that to someone? In christianity, aren’t you always to love your neighbor? Your neighbor could be anyone you come into contact to. So who’s worse? My mother- the women who had to have the baby she loved so much ripped out of her body? Or these mindless bumbling baboons who prey on innocent women and their families?
To be honest, If this is what christianity entails, I’m glad I’m jewish. I bet they have something to say to that too.
Also, if they believe in God’s power so much, don’t they know that there’s a reason for everything? How can they not realize what they themselves preach to each other in times of need? Everything happens for a reason. Some great religious people they are.
Like a boss.
The Mind Is Limitless: Anonymous asked: That still doesn’t answer why torturing and mutilating a young girl’s sexual organs is a POC issue and...
Jesus fuck someone else explain it to Chuckles here because I am sick and tired of these white people who ‘agree with me’ except for that one thing and then act like it’s my fucking problem.
A HUGE part of the problem here is that you assume…
Can we please leave race out of it? Personally, I’m white. Half of my family are black. I have latino cousins too. People can be stupid no matter their race or religion. I understand people do injustices to one another, but it bothers me that we have to label those people. Once we label them, then we get a sense of superiority over them. Like with Germany and the Jews. anti-Semitism started in Germany way before the holocaust. Of course this probably won’t end up as extreme, how ever, I think we should all realize our actions and not just the immediate consequences but also the long-long-long term consequences.
By the way, I’m a white female, and I don’t make sandwiches, I’m a good driver, I don’t degrade others, and I’m not an air head. Stereotypes may be there for a reason, but races, genders and religions change so constantly, many stereotypes are void before they even begin.