“Everyone needs to remain calm, keep your heads low and follow me to the buses,” the Colorado Springs police officer told us before our evacuation from a lock-down situation at work. “Our officers have formed a human shield to make sure you all get out of here unharmed!”
It was the National Day of Prayer on May 2, 1996. Kerry Steven Dore, who carried a handgun and claimed to have explosives strapped to his chest, had stormed our complex at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, CO and took my four friends hostage several hours earlier. My office was just upstairs from that scene. I was evacuated three minutes later when fire alarms sounded.
As employees waited in the parking lot, we had no idea our complex was taken hostage. Nor did we realize we were standing in Dore’s firing range.
Soon police cars came barreling in around us. Officers in SWAT gear emerged, aiming shot guns at the building. We then realized something was wrong. These officers gave us no commands and we didn’t ask questions. Our crowd of @200 employees simply moved further out into the parking lot, unknowingly placing ourselves in a more open area to be fired upon.
Fifteen minutes later we were finally led to safety in the basement of another building. We were locked down for several hours as four of our co-workers were held at gunpoint. A gunshot was heard at one point, alarming all of us at a far deeper level. We prayed for our friends consistently.
In one of the most surreal moments in my life, I left my temporary safe haven. Six feet away from my path were at least 35 Colorado Springs police officers, locked arm-in-arm. I thanked God for these “knights in shining armor” who were willing to sacrifice themselves to protect us.
As I watched the November 27, 2015 coverage unfold on the shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, I was transported back to my own lockdown that occurred just a few miles from that clinic shootout. My heart broke as I saw the faces of those being evacuated to safety, personally understanding their anguish.
Then an odd headline appeared under the live news feed – “People Rescued from Planned Parenthood.” That evoked a queasy déjà vu, not of my own hostage situation, but of my visit to an abortion clinic 34 years ago.
As I lay on that abortionist’s table, deep and paralyzing anxiety overwhelmed my heart. Hoping to calm myself, I had a brief hope of rescue. I envisioned my boyfriend bolting through the door saying, “Marry me, Sydna. I want our baby!”
Neither myself, nor my unborn child, were liberated from abortion’s fate that day. My boyfriend remained outside, waiting in his car, while his child’s life ended. Like a lamb is dumb to slaughter, I lacked the courage and support to make another choice without outside intervention.
As I left that abortion clinic, this boyfriend ran to meet me at the door. With a huge smile of seeming relief, he said, “I thought they had killed you up there, Sydna!”
His relief was startling, particularly since two hours earlier I had secretly hoped he would free me from making such a choice. I fought his embrace, thinking, “You thought they were killing me and you stayed in the car?”
My “knight in shining armor” fell off his steed with a loud clunk. He had failed to rescue his damsel in distress, despite fighting the same fear I felt on that abortionist’s table!
“Hoping for rescue while waiting for an abortion” is a common experience post-abortive women share with me. Before the dangerous abortion procedure begins, which leaves one dead and another wounded, many women are conflicted by fear and anxiety, unsure about this forever choice. Hopes and dreams die on abortionist’s tables every day, not to mention a child’s life.
Today there are heroes to help unshackle those who perceive they have no other choice but to abort. When a woman discovers tangible compassion and physical support at her local pregnancy center, she often acts on this hope and avoids the abortion clinics. Outside intervention and rescue happens every day at pregnancy centers.
Make sure you meet and financially support these organizations who are liberating women by offering tangible physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual support to continue their pregnancies. You may never know when you need the services of your local center.
While it took eleven years for me to find anything to help me address my Abortion PTSD, God used the pregnancy center in Colorado Springs, LifeNetwork, to help me find His peace. Since then, I’ve dedicated my life to helping pregnancy centers develop, grow and expand. Please join me in this effort!
My heart goes out to the victims of the recent Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, as well as all the families who lost loved ones in the San Bernardino shooting. While Kerry Dore surrendered without taking any lives, the PTSD impact of his terrorism remains part of my life. I still pray for him today!
Sydna Masse is President and Founder of Ramah International, and author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace after Abortion. Contact Sydna at [email protected].