By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
The day of her scheduled abortion, Jasmine drove to Iowa City but arrived at the wrong clinic. She didn’t know that at the time; her mistake would become a godsend. As she sat in her car waiting for the clinic to open that Tuesday morning in March, she saw a man praying outside the clinic.
“I was sitting there about 30 to 35 minutes and he came up to me and started talking to me,” Jasmine said. She had been told that people might be praying and protesting outside the clinic. “Surprisingly, he was the only person there.”
David Fetzer has been praying in front of the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City for several years, but not on Tuesdays. “It was the only day that worked out with my work schedule,” he recalled. “It was the last week for our 40 Days for Life Campaign.”
He walked over to the woman’s car to talk with her, not sure what she was waiting for. “She rolled down her window hesitantly. I asked her if she was there to have an abortion, and she said, ‘yes.’ I talked with her about the beauty of life, that every child is created in the image and likeness of God and that her life was of ultimate importance to God and that God loved her.”
As he continued talking to Jasmine, David observed his friend, grad student Jacob Poliskey, approaching on his bicycle. “We’re both in the Knights of Columbus,” David noted. “I said, ‘Jacob, please come over here. I need your help immediately.’”
“I had never talked to an abortion-minded woman before,” Jacob said. He felt grateful to have attended a pro-life seminar at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City, where he is a member. Presenter Scott Klusendorf, president of Life Training Institute, explained how to logically defend the pro-life position.
Jacob tried to convince Jasmine that the baby in her womb was a living human being, posing this scenario: “Imagine a 2-year-old who really causes you a lot of trouble; would you kill that 2-year-old? Of course not! Nor a 1-year-old, nor a 1-month-old! Is it OK to kill that baby? No. And finally, imagine the baby inside of you, just one minute before birth — does being inside of you make him or her any less of a baby? No it doesn’t. The baby inside of you is a living baby!”
“I don’t want to get too attached,” Jasmine responded, as Jacob recalled. “David had a quick response: ‘Well, you’re about as attached to the baby right now as you’re ever going to get!’ We all had a laugh at that. It’s funny how you can laugh in very stress-filled situations, but we were at least connecting on a personal level,” Jacob said.
Jasmine, a mother of three, had other concerns pertaining to her health, finances and home situation. “We told her about her options in Iowa City, like the Informed Choices Clinic. I told her that my wife (Ellen) was pregnant,” Jacob said. He told Jasmine he was excited about expecting a baby and that his wife would be happy to talk with her.
On impulse, Jacob offered to adopt Jasmine’s baby. “If you don’t want your baby, I will take your baby,” he said. “I was serious,” he told Jasmine. When he later told Ellen about the offer to adopt Jasmine’s baby, “I got a nod of serious agreement.”
Jacob headed for work and began making calls to mobilize the pro-life network in Iowa City. While at work, he prayed intensely for Jasmine. David, meanwhile, discovered that Jasmine was at the wrong clinic. Her appointment was at Planned Parenthood in Iowa City. That bought David more time to build rapport with Jasmine.
“I wasn’t judging her. I was just trying to save the baby’s life,” David said. The married father of five grown children even offered Jasmine shelter at his home. She decided to go through with the abortion, but agreed to be escorted to Planned Parenthood.
People were outside the clinic picketing. David put his arm around Jasmine and they walked into the clinic together. He had another 40 minutes inside the clinic to listen to her story and to encourage her to choose to keep her baby. He was three hours late for work, but that didn’t matter.
As the abortionist and a nurse came to the door to get Jasmine, “all I could do was pray that God and her guardian angel would somehow intervene,” David said. He left for work. Later that afternoon, David received a phone call from Jasmine. An ultrasound revealed that she was expecting twins. She decided against having an abortion.
“I would say Jacob and David played a huge part in my decision,” Jasmine said. “Then, finding out that (the babies) were twins just really made me think like ‘do you really wanna do this?’ In my heart, I knew what I was about to do wasn’t right.”
“I was in tears,” David said. “I have a strong faith, but we can always use reinforcement. It was just beautiful.” God “answered my prayer that day.”
“There are no words for the relief and utter joy that swept over me. God had just saved not only one, but two lives from being taken that day, and I was privileged to be chosen by him to be involved!” Jacob said.
Jasmine gave birth to twins, a girl named Eliyah and a boy named Elijah, on Oct. 23. St. Wenceslaus Parish has showered her family with the necessities they need. Jasmine is grateful for those gifts, but most especially, for the gift of her twins.
“I thank god for Jacob, Ellen, and Dave! They are my angels.”