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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Something unexpected and surprising happened recently. I learned that even if you're about to have an abortion, your very pro-life, anti-abortion best friend can still be your best friend. Confused? So was I.

Let me explain. A few weeks ago, a client came to our clinic for a pregnancy test. She knew she was pregnant, but wanted a health clinic to confirm this. She brought her best friend with her. Not unusual. I thought it was quite sweet. When I gave the positive test results, both the client and the best friend were present. The client didn't flinch and said, "Okay. I need an appointment for an abortion." The best friend's lips were terse. I took that as a red flag. The appointment was set. The best friend flipped her long blonde hair, looked me straight in the eye, and stated, with distaste, "How can you do this job?" I must've looked confused. I was, in fact, confused. After I asked what she meant, she cleared her throat and said, "I mean, how can you do this? How can you work here?" Her face screwed up again. I quickly stated, "Well, I love my job." Then I looked to the client, as if she could give me some clarification because I was still confused. The client tilted her head towards her best friend and casually stated, "Oh, she's totally anti-abortion and doesn't agree with what I'm doing at all. She's been trying for several years to get pregnant. So, she doesn't get abortion."

I was a little concerned for the client, worried her only support person was totally against abortion. The best friend flipped her blonde hair again. "I don't get it. And I have tried to have a baby for years, like she said. But she's my best friend. So I'm here. And I'll be with her to help her with whatever she decides." I was impressed. And not so sure the client would show for her appointment.

But she did. And so did the best friend. The best friend took off a day from her job. A job which was really difficult to get off from. She sat with the client all day. And it was an exceptionally long day. She even stayed with her during the abortion procedure and held her hand. At the end of the day, filled with a lot of waiting, the best friend pulled me aside. She touched my arm, smiled, and flipped that blonde hair once again. "I know why you do what you do now." I smiled, quizically. "I read the journal you guys have in the waiting room. You know, the one where all the women can write about how they're feeling about their abortion. And now I get it. Now I get why you are here and why you love your job and why it matters. And I wanted to tell you I think it's really great." Her blue eyes sparkled and she smiled. A sincere smile. I wanted to hug her.

Actually, I want to put her up as a great big billboard of what best friends are supposed to be. How they're meant to act. How they're supposed to be there to support their friends, even when they don't really agree. And if I were to have an abortion tomorrow, I sure as hell would want a best friend like that around.

We all could do with a best friend like the blonde hair flipper who has been trying to have babies, is against abortion, but stood by her friend and held her hand during her abortion: because she loves her best friend. I think she's amazing. And I think you may think so, too.


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