Lynn Zent, post-abortive mother and avid pro-lifer, might be a stranger to many she meets on the sidewalk outside the abortion mills in Memphis, Tennessee, but she is no stranger to understanding the devastation of losing a baby.
Earlier this month Lynn, who was pregnant for the eighth time, and her husband Kevin were excited to attend the 18-week ultrasound appointment to find out the sex of their new baby. They even brought along their two youngest children to see their baby brother or sister on the screen.
“For awhile, the tech was just scanning and scanning, and I was looking at the screen,” said Lynn. “She had a puzzled look on her face, and then she said ‘I can’t find the heartbeat’.”
Lynn remembers blurting out that she could not take “another” procedure. However, they took her into another room to discuss how to “get the baby out” and they eventually made plans for her to enter the labor and delivery floor at a local hospital.
“They didn’t offer me any pictures, and I didn’t think to ask,” remembers Lynn, who at first held out hope that her baby was ok. “I kept thinking ‘Nah, I know they are wrong.'” However, a visit to another ultrasound clinic confirmed that her baby had passed away.
In addition to serving as the president of her local Tennessee Right to Life Chapter, Lynn has participated with 40 Days for Life and is a member of Precious in His Sight sidewalk counseling team in Memphis. She has been on the sidewalk for the past five years, begging for the lives of babies in the womb, and for mothers not to go through what she herself has been through.
A weeks before her miscarriage, she says, “I saw people going into the mills and ripping their babies apart, and now this new loss really makes it hit closer to home for me. To actually see my own baby at the same age people are aborting. How can you just throw your baby away?”
Lynn’s baby passed away in the womb soon after the legal age to abort in Memphis, which is 15 weeks 6 days. And if abortion-seeking mothers in Memphis are over the limit, they are sometimes referred just across the famous Memphis Mississippi River Bridge into Arkansas, for a later term two-day abortion appointment.
Lynn recalls the profound effect her own abortion, nearly ten years ago now, has had on her and her entire family.
“It can make you feel worthless. My children have had to deal with that, too,” she says.
Lynn was born the daughter of a drug addict and prostitute and was placed for adoption. She was already the mother of one child, when, in April of 2004, she made a decision to seek counseling inside a Planned Parenthood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for her pregnancy. She realizes now how she was manipulated into choosing to end the life of her baby.
“I was being pressured by parents, friends, and especially Planned Parenthood. I just wanted to make it all go away, and the only way to do that was to just do it. Originally it was a wanted baby, but the counselor said ‘why don’t you come back in a few weeks and we will talk?’ When I went back she proceeded to fill my head with things such as ‘You are so young’, ‘You have your whole life ahead of you’, and ‘You have a young child already’. She convinced me how difficult it would to be in school with a new baby and going through a then divorce from my first husband.”
Lynn made the appointment, but at the last second she changed her mind. She had been given a twilight sleep shot, and she said it did not work very well. “I tried to get up off the table and the nurse held my shoulders down and told me to just lie there and shut up. The experience was horrible.”
“I remember the doctor walking out and telling the nurse ‘It’s all there’, and I remember thinking, ‘what is all there?’ I thought it was just a blob!” Lynn as she recalls friends telling her that baby development and graphic pictures on the Internet were all fake.
“I was okay with the abortion for awhile because I joked about it to get through it. The experience was just so horrible. I even remember the nurse who held me down had short curly red hair,” said Lynn. “I don’t even know her name or the doctor’s name who performed the abortion.”
Four months later Lynn found herself pregnant again, and again she received the pressure to abort. She was determined to not go through that experience again and carried her daughter to term.
“I was depressed, and I didn’t know why. I always thought I was pro-life. I thought that I was pro-life because I thought I would never have an abortion, but I wouldn’t want to take someone else’s choice away. I was one of those who now I want to reach.”
Her turnaround came about when she became pregnant again, and began looking for more baby development pictures on the internet. “I came across the video The Silent Scream. I watched it and just broke down, and I have not been the same since.”
Lynn also sent off to Planned Parenthood for her abortion records because she had read somewhere that you have the legal right to collect them within seven years. While it helped her tremendously with closure to her painful past, it angered her to see the documents. They had falsified her records stating that someone was with her and had checked the box that said she was firm in her decision to abort.
“They purposefully made an appointment when they thought so-called protestors would not be outside, because they knew I might change my mind,” Lynn recalled.
After watching The Silent Scream all of a sudden Lynn felt the urge to get in touch with all those “crazy people,” as Planned Parenthood had called them. She said they would say, “They show up everyday at 10 AM. Gotta love them.”
“I wanted to get in touch with these people, “ Lynn said. She made that first call to a local pregnancy medical center who now runs ICU Mobile Memphis, and has never looked back. “The first baby save I had while counseling a girl I realized how traumatized I really was. I know I should not have, but I broke down myself, and remember saying ‘Don’t do it! The sound of the vacuum!’“
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Lynn wants everyone to see the humanity of the recent loss of her daughter, who she named Mary Scarlett. “She was a baby. She was a real person. To say otherwise would be naïve. I’m glad I got to hold her.”
Mary Scarlett was born stillborn at 8:45 PM on October 3rd, and Lynn’s entire family will continue to celebrate that day for her every year in the future.
“When your head is clear and you block out the outside world, you just know how precious life is. It is a baby. She looked just like you and I. She even had palm prints. Don’t tell me that this is not a baby. The second my egg was fertilized, she was Mary Scarlett. She was a person. She was never anything other than herself.”
LifeNews Note: Stefanie Lewallen is a Pro-Life Writer and Speaker, local 40 DAYS FOR LIFE Campaign Director and a member of Precious in His Sight Sidewalk Counseling team in Memphis, Tennessee.