Monday, March 28, 2011

Right Down the Hall

I have worked at my present job for the past fourteen years. I like what I do, I know that I am helping people, and the money I earn is a help to my family budget. So, all's good, right? Not really, not at all...

My employer used to hold an annual company picnic, a huge family gala at the Milwaukee County Zoo, lots of fun for my little ones. It was about ten years ago as my family and I were approaching the zoo when we noticed lots and lots of people holding signs protesting the fact that my employer allowed abortions to be performed at one of their hospitals. Guess which hospital it was? Yep. The very hospital I work at-Aurora Sinai. I was surprised and devasted at the same time, but thankful to those brave men and women who had the courage to stand up for life in a very visable place and bring attention to this horrible yet hidden fact. Aurora Health Care has not had a company picnic since that day. But me? I had no idea that babies were being murdered in the very building in which my WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Clinic is located!

I decided that the only right thing to do would be to quit my job. When I told one of my sisters about my decision, she discouraged me. She told me that my presence at the hospital was combatting the murderous abortions. Because of the good that is done through WIC, I am helping women to keep their babies. Her words convinced me and I kept my job and gave very little thought to the fact that while I am counseling a pregnant woman on the benefits of breastfeeding her baby upon birth, another baby is being torn from the safety of his mother's womb, right down the hall!

I am so sorry to say that I have not done a very good job at promoting life or helping women who have already had abortions. My usual reaction is to avoid the statements made by my clients when they confess to having had abortions. It's just too hard for me to hear so I skip right over it and move on to the next question in the diet and health history I'm required to obtain. Then, after the client leaves my office I whisper a prayer for her. I let fear rule my life for far too long.

During the summer months, a group of nurses from the public school system join us in the WIC Clinic and they provide immunizations to the children who are behind on the required doses they need. Last summer, one of the nurses who was using one of my co-worker's offices for the day, found some pro-life material promoting a Women's Support Center in our area. She became livid! She complained to my boss and told her that we should not be giving those materials out, that those types of places don't allow women the choice to govern their own bodies. My boss, being unsure of who we were giving the pamphlets to consulted with me and another one of my co-workers. We told her that we used to give them out to every pregnant woman we saw, but since the State under whom we are governed recently put restrictions on the amount of materials we give to our clients, we now only give them to the women we feel will benefit from these services. My boss told us to continue to give the materials out to anyone whom we felt could use them. Later, after the nurses had gone, I found the pamphlets in the garbage can.

I couldn't believe the nerve of that nurse! She was using someone else's office and throwing out materials that didn't belong to her! I removed the material from the garbage, and thought about how much that nurse must hate using my office when it's my day off of work. My office is filled with images of Mary with the infant Jesus and other religious pictures and prayers. I'm sure the sight of anything remotely holy bothered her immensely.

Occasionally, when I go to the postpartum unit of the hospital to see one of our clients who just delivered a baby, I will notice a picture of a leaf with a teardrop on the door, the sign meaning that the baby in that room has died. I'll also see the initials "ab" on the list of patients which tells me that a baby was aborted. I take note of the name of the doctor and I am always sure to pray for that innocent babe and for the mother who failed to accept the gift of life that had been offered to her. But my actions stop there.

Yesterday I opened my email from Dan Miller, Milwaukee's 40 Days for Life coordinator and I was shocked to read what he wrote. Why I was shocked I don't know-maybe it was because I had pushed the thought of abortions at my hospital to the back of my mind for so long but now the words were right before my eyes; it was unavoidable-

"So far this campaign, we have seen 11 saves and numerous turn-arounds. For years on end, the entire pro-life community has come together to end abortion by prayer and witnessing at the ‘Foot of the Cross’ - at the abortion mills. You have closed six out the nine Milwaukee area abortion mills over the years. That’s an awesome accomplishment! The three that remain are Affiliated Medical Services, Planned Parenthood and Aurora Sinai . These last three are dug in like a Georgia tick and the only way to get those ticks out is HEAT! "

My employer, the very place that I depend upon to provide bread and butter to my family, is one of three abortion mills in Milwaukee. I'm sick. Just sick. I've known it for all these years and I've done nothing. And chances are good that I will go on doing nothing because I don't know what to do. Do I quit my job and go outside with a pro-life sign? Do I go outside right now with a pro-life sign and surely be fired? And why aren't there ever any protesters here?

I would be very open to suggestions and ideas. My fourteen years of prayer in my office haven't changed anything here. A hospital is supposed to be a life-giving environment, not a life-destroying hell. What can be done to apply the HEAT of which Dan speaks, to end this cruel and senseless destruction now? And more importantly for me personally, what should I do right now to take a stand and make a difference, to bring about an end to the evil that occurs right down the hall?


  1. Wow. I know I experience the same ambivalence, and I'm thankful I'm not (by the grace of God) in the situation you're in. The only thing I can say is, when you meet Jesus in heaven, what do you want to tell Him you did?

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  3. I don't know what to say except for the 1st thing that popped into my head:

    If you stay, you must use your 14 years of experience, knowledge, influence, and personality to convince your employers that this is wrong and must stop, otherwise your religious beliefs will force you to resign.

    Right after that another thought popped into my head:

    My SIL was an ER nurse at a large Lutheran hospital for many years. Somewhere along the line, she discovered that the hospital performed abortions and felt the same way you do. When she spoke with her confessor, he told her that at that same hospital was a non-denominational chapel that he and other priests said Mass several times a week. He told her that if Christ Himself could reside there amidst the same climate, then she, too, must be able to be doing good there. He also told her that she had every right to counsel the pregnant patients that she treated by just mentioning her personal beliefs and giving witness by telling her story of being a child of a large family AND being the mother of many children.

    The thought also occurs to me that Jesus associated with the sinners and outcast of society. He didn't accept their sins and excuses for behavior; He told them the Truth, loved the persons they were, and showed them how to change.

    I will be praying for you.

  4. The first thing that popped into my head was "what a wonderful opportunity to witness to your faith." Your role in your work up to this point has been to be a quiet witness of God's merciful love. Perhaps now He is calling you to be a more public witness. Tonight, my night prayers will be offered for you, Anne, my beautiful kindred soul. God's wisdom be with you in this trial.

    God's providence is superabundant. Jesus, I trust in You!

  5. This is something that cannot be fixed easily, but it can be fixed. I don't know how you can say you haven't done anything! We need you in that hospital exactly where you are at. No one else will be able to do what you are doing in the 'heart of the dragon.' You are in a unique position to affirm life and are doing so by living out your vocation in that hospital.

    Don't worry, we are coming to Sinai. It will just be a matter of time. After we close down AMS, Sinai will be our next stop with 40 Days for Life.

    God bless you. You are in our prayers.

    Dan Miller

  6. Anne,
    I read this post yesterday but I had no idea what to say. So instead of leaving a comment I prayed for you before the Blessed Sacrament today that God may give you the light to understand where his will for you lies in this area and, if He wants you to stay put to give you great peace about it.