It was a warm day on the prayer vigil line in Sayer Street Midland. I was standing by myself on the street verge on the right of the driveway into the abortion mill.

On the left of the driveway was a shady tree, but we were not permitted to stand there.

Unbeknown to me a woman came out of the clinic and stood under the tree. I am not sure how I missed seeing or hearing her. She was hidden from view of the street and when I finally noticed her she appeared to be waiting.

I said nothing as I am not permitted to initiate conversation under the terms of our police permit.

After a while she spoke to me. I had to strain a little to hear because we were at least three metres apart. She was also very sad and her voice was low. I guessed she was probably from India originally.

This lady told me that she was waiting for her husband to come and pick her up. She had just had an abortion and her husband had not waited for her or supported her in any way. She said she could not be seen talking to me because I was a Christian, and a male.

My heart went out to this lady. She was close to breaking point. She said that she had not wanted to have an abortion and she had begged her husband to let her keep her child. But he demanded she obey him. Her family was also no help. She could not talk to most of them and those that she did confide in told her to obey her husband in all things.

Her husband said they had enough children and it was not seemly that they should continue to have more. I got the impression that he blamed her for getting pregnant.

She was small in stature and conservatively dressed. I suspect she was very good at hiding her feelings, so it was amazing that she was talking to me. She was bound by cultural and familial and probably religious duty.

These are the times that you ask the Lord for the words to say, but thus far I had not said anything at all.

There was a silence for a while.

Then I asked her if she had done all she could to save her child. She said yes. She said there was nothing else she could have done.

So I said she should go in peace knowing that the Lord – and her child – would forgive her if she asked.

She said nothing.

A few minutes later a car came up the street. It was obviously her husband. She seemed to shrink even smaller than her stature and to withdraw into herself. The car stopped and she got in without a look in my direction. The husband said nothing to her. She said nothing to her husband. They drove away.