A pregnant woman who brandished a knife at a pro-life advocate outside a Minnesota abortion clinic is now grateful the protester helped her decide not to have an abortion. One pro-life leader said the case shows that many people are “conflicted” about abortion and that anger is often the beginning of conversion.
Mechelle Hall, 26, had threatened and brandished a knife at Leah Winandy, 21, who urged her not to have an abortion. The incident took place outside the Duluth Building for Women.
On Nov. 24, 2009, Winandy and her mother, Sarah, were passing out pamphlets and protesting abortion at the building on behalf of Pro Life Ministry of Duluth. According to the Duluth News Tribune, Hall confronted the women.
“I was there to ask mothers not to kill their babies at the abortion clinic,” Winandy said, reporting that Hall walked towards her. “She pulled out a knife and waved it at me saying ‘Don’t come near me.’ I said, ‘Please don’t kill your baby. Fear God.’ I came to the edge of the courtyard. I said, ‘Look and listen to your ultrasound.’ She turned around and came back with a knife and held it up to my throat.”
Hall told the Tribune that she never had the planned abortion but decided to keep the baby after the confrontation. She said she was stressed out and the protesters made her realize that she did not want to end the life she was carrying inside her.
She said she wanted to tell the Winandys “Thank you for being there.”
“If they weren’t there, I probably would have gone through with it and regretted it for the rest of my life. It probably would have gone the other way. I’m sincerely sorry for doing that to her.”
Hall will learn the sex of her child at her ultrasound next month.
The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office asked Winandy if she was agreeable to Hall receiving probation instead of a prison sentence. Winandy agreed, the Tribune reports.
“I forgive Mechelle for what she did; I do forgive her because God has given me forgiveness in my heart for her,” Winandy said.
On Thursday Priests for Life President Fr. Frank Pavone commented on the case, saying it illustrates that those seeking abortions, like those performing abortions, are “conflicted and ambivalent.”
“Despite any effort to appear sure of what they are doing, they aren't. Despite the rhetoric about 'freedom of choice,' they resort to abortion because they feel they have no freedom and no choice,” he continued.
“And the lesson for pro-life activists is that what often presents itself as anger and upset is often the first stage of conversion. We should not be afraid of these reactions.”