MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) — Linda was 24, pregnant and unmarried.

“I was afraid of what my family would think, what everyone would think,” she said. “So I decided that I would terminate my pregnancy.”

Linda, whose last name has been omitted to protect her privacy, went to an abortion clinic in McAllen for a consultation. Once there, she was surprised to see that the waiting room was packed.

“There were girls there who looked as young as 15,” she said. “It was very sad.”

The abortion clinic staff recommended Linda take the “abortion pill,” two medicines — mifepristone and misoprostol — which are prescribed to end an early pregnancy.

“They told me that it was just an embryo and didn’t even have a heartbeat,” Linda told The Valley Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Brownsville. “They said after I took the pills, I would get my period. They said I would bleed for few days, but that it was no big deal.”

Linda was told to come back the next day so the abortion pill could be administered.

When she returned, Ruben Rosales, a pro-life sidewalk counselor, approached her before she walked into the abortion clinic.

“I don’t even remember what I said to her,” said Rosales, a parishioner at St. Jude Thaddeus Church in Pharr. “You have so little time to speak with them and you have to constantly pray and ask the Lord for the right words. We try to understand what they are feeling. Many feel that abortion is the only option and that her whole world is closing in around her, but we show them another way.”

“I felt a sense of peace when Mr. Ruben came up to me,” Linda said. “My head was saying one thing about having an abortion, but my heart said another. I knew in my heart that it was taking a life.

“Mr. Ruben invited me to go to the McAllen Pregnancy Center a few blocks away and that very day, I heard my son’s heartbeat for the first time.”

The McAllen Pregnancy Center, a Catholic pro-life facility, offers free confidential services for women facing a crisis pregnancy.

Today, her son is, “a happy, healthy, beautiful 3-year-old.”

“And my family adores him!” Linda said. “I can’t believe that crazy thought (abortion) ever crossed my mind.”

Whenever Linda is in the downtown McAllen area, she stops and says “hello” to the sidewalk counselors.

“I want them to know that their ministry is effective and that it is worth it,” Linda said. “Thanks be to God they were there for me that day. They saved my son’s life.

“If I would have gone through with the abortion, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. Having my son is the best decision I have ever made.”


Ybarra is assistant editor of The Valley Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Brownsville.