by Mick Hunt
If you’re quiet and listen, you might hear their voices.
When I looked across the arena at the Roman Coliseum during a torrid August afternoon in 2009, I tried to imagine the scenes of death from so many centuries ago. I tried to hear the echoes of blades on shields and the mobs cheering as blood flowed into the sand.
I imagine people feel the same somber wonder and horror when they visit other certain historical sites around the world, death camp sites such as Dachau, Auschwitz, and Mauthausen, and the transport camp, Terezin.
At least two such tragic historical sites are located within Asheville, and the city is about to add another to its recommended tours.
One: The corner of 900 Hendersonville Road is now only a parking lot for a spiffy office building, but during the ‘80’s and into the early ‘90s, they aborted pre-natal children there in a low, squat building. Thousands of pre-natal children died in this sleazy, sordid place. The state of North Carolina tore it down to widen the road, and the business moved to the edge of Biltmore Village.
“Birds sang, the sun shone, flowers grew, and prayers rose up, but the laws of nature were not violated.”
Two: Train tracks surrounded the new building that was located in an industrial zoned area. It featured a narrow waiting room on steel girders spanning a dirty, limpid creek. Weeds grew up the walls of the building, and on one side, old roofing material made the siding. Steel bars guarded broken window. The abortionists drove in from Tennessee and South Carolina. It was a back alley abortion mill with a sign hanging in the front alley.
On a Saturday afternoon in November, 1998, I showed up as usual with my “Let Your Baby Live. We Will Help!” sign, but no one else came. No other pro-life people, no abortion workers, and no victims. I was alone. A sheet of white paper had been taped to the front window. For the first time ever, I walked onto the property and to the front porch. The note said the place had closed permanently.
I remember months later seeing a monster garbage truck parked in front, rocking back and forth. An industrial shredder on wheels. A few years later another business moved into the building, a non-profit called Save the Children. That’s right. I stopped once just to look around inside, and I asked the people there a few questions. I wanted to, but didn’t ask if they ever heard the echoes of screaming children. Sometime later, the owner tore the building down, leaving rubble, and piles of weed-covered earth, now in view of nearby spiffy office buildings.
Three: Apparently, the abortion center on Asheville’s Orange Street is closing now. A volunteer escort recently said so in an article titled “The Last Shift” that appeared June 15 in an online publication called The Asheville Blade. So, by the end of this month we’ll have another historical site of sorrow and death to add to the itinerary. Maybe “Save the Children” will buy the building and move in. Maybe someday this terrible place will end up like all the others, in rubble and fading memories.
My late acquaintance, Kentucky poet laureate James Still and I once ate lunch together nearly every day. I could never find his source, and I may not have the quote down perfectly, but he one day he said, “Birds sang, the sun shone, flowers grew, and prayers rose up, but the laws of nature were not violated.” He was talking about Dachau, which I know he visited. Maybe the quote was his own, a fragment of an incomplete poem.
My friends and I spent many, many hours on the sidewalk in front of Femcare–when thousands of people ignored, dismissed, ridiculed, or cursed our offers of help and appeals to moms and dads to let their babies live. Thousands of mothers carried their children passed us into the doors to be killed.
An independent observer watching the passers-by might suppose the middle finger to be an international sign for “choice.” But many people expressed support, too, as they walked or drove by. Our presence was always, usually, more a quiet vigil than a protest. I’ve watched and listened to starlings, crows, doves, pigeons, and hawks. Last Saturday, a noisy mocking bird entertained and annoyed us with his crazy song list, more of cacophony than symphony.
Prayers rose up. But not enough prayer and not enough people praying. On occasion a mother changed her mind and left with her baby alive.
Femcare is closing. A better name for it is Femkill. Though, what you call it is irrelevant now because it’s closing. What’s important is the killing probably is moving to another place—to a building on McDowell Street owned and operated by Planned Parenthood.
North Carolina law says it’s a felony to “destroy” “unborn children” unless the act is done by a licensed physician “in a hospital or clinic certified by the Department of Health and Human Services to be a suitable facility for the performance of abortions.” We often bring posters to the sidewalk depicting a 10 week child who was destroyed by abortion. This is what Planned Parenthood intends to do in its new building. It’s bloody, violent, and evil. There is no suitable facility for this.
So, are we nostalgic about our upcoming last shift at Femcare? Are we jubilant? No. Just feeling sadness and resignation. We’ll be shifting to McDowell Street, if necessary. Unique human beings, persons in embryonic or fetal form, will be destroyed in that place. And someday even it will be a ruined historical site where, if you’re quiet and listen, you might hear their voices.
Echoing in your conscience.
Mick Hunt is an FAB contributor. He has helped organize more than 50 Genocide Awareness Projects (GAPs) all over the southeast and elsewhere. This article is a response to “The Last Shift,” which was written by an abortion escort. Read the story here.
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