by John-Henry Westen
DULUTH, MN, November 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Less than two months after the gunning down of pro-life activist Jim Pouillon in September, a young pro-life activist has had a knife put to her throat by a woman entering an abortion facility in Duluth, Minnesota. 21-year-old pro-life activist Leah Winandy, her mother Sarah and the director of a local pro-life group, spoke with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) about the harrowing incident which took place early Tuesday morning.
Leah's mother, Sarah Winandy, was present with her daughter at the time of the attack, but each were standing at opposite sides of a large opening to the Building for Women in Duluth, inside of which the Women's Health Center of Duluth abortuary is located.
When a woman approached, Leah was set to speak to her, but says that the woman then snapped out a long-bladed folding pink-camouflage knife and ordered Leah to not to move or to speak. Leah did not move, but before the woman left earshot said, "Please don't kill your baby." At that point, recalls Leah, the woman turned around and approached Leah with the knife.
Leah told LSN that the woman was facing her, with the knife at Leah's neck. Leah said that she was initially scared, thinking, "what if she stabs me?" But then, she thought, "If she stabs me that's okay, I will go to heaven to be with Jesus." Leah recalled she was then given peace. She said, "After that I was not afraid, I was concerned for her soul."
"I looked in her eyes and said, 'Fear God, you have to fear God, Ma'am," she recalled. After which the woman turned and walked toward the building. As she passed Leah's mother Sarah, who had not seen the knife previously, Sarah says she pleaded with the woman, saying, "Please, we love you, we care about you," at which point the woman also waved the knife at her threateningly.
Sarah then approached her daughter with concern. When she learned of the threat with the knife to her daughter, she said she was shocked and alarmed. In retrospect, she says that she's thankful she did not recognize the object as a knife at first since she would have run over to her daughter and "perhaps something terrible would have happened."
Sarah, a homeschooling mother of five, told LSN that despite the incident she is undeterred from counseling at the facility or allowing her children to do the same. While her elder three children have families of their own, her daughter Leah and her youngest son Michael, 20, accompany her to the abortion center to counsel at least once a week. She said that she and her husband and family "truly believe it's the Lord who protects us wherever we are."
Sarah said that the Winandy family forgives, and continues to pray for the woman.
Jim Tuttle, the director of Pro-Life Ministries of Duluth was also at the abortion mill Tuesday morning, but he did not witness the incident as he was counseling at the alley entrance to the center. Tuttle told LSN that his organization has arranged for pro-life witness and counseling outside the abortion center every day of its operation for the past 11 years. The group's efforts, he said, have saved at least six or seven lives a year. Tuttle holds the Winandy family among his most faithful volunteers.
Duluth Police arrested the suspect, 25-year-old Mechelle Talluah Hall, inside the abortuary and found a knife in her purse matching Leah's description. She has been charged with second-degree assault. Hall told the judge considering the conditions of her release, "I know what I did was wrong."
The Winandy's say they still hope to minister to Mechelle despite the incident, and may get their chance. After police departed with Mechelle, a friend who had come to the center to support her was only told by abortuary staff that she had left quickly. The Winandys approached her and when they realized who she was there for they explained the situation. They spoke with the friend about the love of Christ and gave her a Bible. They exchanged phone numbers and hope to follow up with the friend and perhaps even with Mechelle herself one day.
Anyone wishing to contact Leah and her family may do so through
Pro-life Ministry of Duluth
P.O. Box 161018
Duluth, MN 55816