Justice For Shimera

When I saw the following troubling video, I was heartbroken… heartbroken for the many women whose lives have been destroyed by abortion…

I was heartbroken for the millions of unborn babies who will…

  • Never see their mother’s face…
  • Never hear their mother’s voice singing a lullaby to them…
  • Never feel the warmth of their mother’s arms around them…
  • Never press their lips to their mother’s breast to draw nourishment and comfort from her…
  • Never feel the warmth of their mother’s breath, as she bends down to kiss them and whisper, “I love you” to them…

After watching this video, my heart was filled with overwhelming compassion for one of the women in particular… Although this young woman had changed her mind about aborting her baby, she had been forced to undergo the abortion anyway, and I was inspired to write a parable loosely based on this incident… Even though this parable is loosely based on the incidents that occurred in the preceding video, the characters are not based on any one person but on humankind in general… The message that flows from the story below is the immeasurable value and sanctity of every human life

From a distance, as though they were coming through a black tunnel, she heard voices talking about someone. “She seems to be coming to,” the voice of a female spoke. Although she couldn’t see her through the blackness, she could tell by the sound of her voice that she was a white woman.

“Don’t worry about it,” said an educated male voice. This voice sounded as though it came from a black man. Both voices sounded familiar to her, as though she knew the people who spoke, but her mind was so fuzzy, that she just couldn’t remember where she had heard them before.

Her mind was so… so… cloudy and murky… She felt so nauseated… so dizzy… There was a dreadful ringing in her ears, and the voices whirred around her, becoming louder and louder… “I think I’m going to throw up,” she spoke… or did she speak? Maybe she just imagined she was speaking.

And then she heard another sound coming through the long dark tunnel. It was the thin reedy sound of a newborn baby crying… she fought with all her might to open her eyes, because it suddenly dawned on her that the baby she was hearing was her baby. Tears began to slide down her cheeks, but her arms were tied down, and she couldn’t move to wipe them. Through lips that were dry and chapped, she struggled to speak. “My baby,” she croaked, as she fought to rise to the surface of the shroud of darkness and open her eyes.

Suddenly, as she battled with her heavy eyelids and the nausea, she heard a terrible snapping sound, like the sound of breaking bones, and as her eyes finally opened, she saw her newborn infant, a little girl, twitching spasmodically, as her cries immediately ceased. She watched in horror, as the doctor uncaringly tossed the infant into a trash can, and then unconsciousness once again mercifully engulfed her.

She awakened again, in the same dirty bed, with blood splattered on her sheets and the floor. She was alone in the room except for an office worker, who smiled when she opened her eyes. “Oh good,” she said exuberantly, “you’re awake now. I was beginning to worry.”

“My baby,” the woman moaned painfully. “Where is she? I want to see my baby.”

“Your baby?” the other woman queried. “You had an abortion, don’t you remember?”

“No,” the patient moaned, shaking her head from side to side. “I told you I changed my mind. I said I didn’t want an abortion. You know I did. I told you and I told that doctor that I want to keep my baby.”

“I’m sorry, Sweetie,” the middle-aged office worker calmly replied, “You signed all of the forms, and you didn’t say anything to us about keeping the baby. Now, let me go over these orders with you, so you can go home, and we can lock up for the day. It’s past quitting time, and I need to get home to my family.”

The patient looked at the woman incredulously, as the truth began to dawn on her. “That wasn’t a dream, was it?” she questioned. “You killed my baby girl, didn’t you?”

This time, the woman looked at her with a look of hatred and contempt, as she replied, “You’d better watch what you say,” she snapped, “or you could easily end up being just another statistic. Wouldn’t it be awful if something happened to you on the way home?”

The patient met her gaze with fear, feeling helpless as she lay there in the filth and squalor of that room, not responding as the woman continued, “Not that anyone would miss another one of you girls if you just disappeared. You and your kind are a dime a dozen. You fool around, get knocked up and then you want an abortion. It’s the same thing, day in and day out. I won’t be surprised to see you right back here in a couple of months, knocked up and wanting another abortion.”

The patient, whose name was Shimera, shook her head silently, as tears slid down her high, milk chocolate colored cheeks, which had a reddish hue, due to her upset and the fever that was setting in. “Now,” Charlotte, the middle-aged office worker stuck her face into Shimera’s. “Here’s a prescription for antibiotics. You’ll probably have some bleeding for about a week or so, and after that, it should begin to lighten up,” she said as she led the young woman to the door, taking her coat off the rack and handing it to her as she pushed her out the door. Grabbing Shimera’s arm, and digging her nails into it, Shimera looked up into Charlotte’s eyes, which were as cold as ice. “Remember, you were the one who wanted the abortion, and we have the forms you signed to prove it. No one is going to take the word of an ignorant young black girl over that of a kind and benevolent doctor and his staff.” With that, she gave her a shove, causing Shimera to stumble and fall to her knees at the bottom of the steps.

Slowly, painfully, in the frigid winter air, Shimera made her way down the street, glancing behind her periodically, to make sure she wasn’t being followed. Tears slid down her cheeks, as she made her way to her Aunt Tessa’s house. They had taken every penny she had out of her wallet, leaving her penniless. Aunt Tessa’s house wasn’t too much farther. A slow rage began to boil within her, as she stumbled along in the cold. Dr. Johnson and Charlotte had made a big mistake in judging her, for although Shimera was poor and black, she was not stupid, nor was she ignorant to the laws of the land.

Finally, shivering from the cold and the fever that blazed through her body, she made her way to Aunt Tessa’s house, and began pounding on the door, shouting weakly, “Aunt Tessa,” she cried out weakly, please open up. After what seemed like an eternity, Aunt Tessa appeared at the door and opened it, as Shimera crumpled to the ground in a pool of blood.

“Antoine!” Tessa shouted, “Get down here and help me! Shimera’s hurt,” she sobbed, as her husband, Antoine appeared at the door and lifted Shimera into his arms, noting not only the pool of blood that she lay in, but also the trail of blood that showed where Shimera had come from.

“Aunt Tessa,” Shimera struggled to get the words out. “Take me to St. Andrew’s Hospital, not St. Mark’s, and when we get there, call the police.”

“What happened to you, Child?” her aunt asked with tears in her eyes, as her uncle went to warm the car up and so they could take her to the hospital as she requested.

“I can’t talk about it right now, Auntie, but please pray for me,” she gasped, as her aunt nodded her head, holding her and rocking her. Within a matter of a few minutes, her uncle came in and lifting her in his arms, carried her to the car, gently laying her on the back seat, while her aunt placed a blanket over her. Then the three of them sped off to St. Andrew’s Hospital, with their flashers flashing.

When they got to the hospital, her uncle gently lifted her from the back seat, with the blood soaked blanket still wrapped around her and rushed her into the emergency room, with Aunt Tessa racing behind them. The girl at the receptionist’s counter quickly assessed the situation and motioned for them to go straight back, as the emergency room doctor was paged, and the nurses on duty rushed to attend to her, starting an IV drip into her right arm, after discovering the IV puncture wounds from earlier that day.

After examining her, the hospital’s chief of obstetrics and gynecology was summoned to her bedside. “Shimera,” he spoke loudly, calling  her back from unconsciousness. “Shimera,” he repeated again.

Fighting with every ounce of strength she had, she struggled to come back from the depths of darkness, and opened her eyes to look into the concerned eyes of the doctor. “I’m Dr. McFarland,” he said gently, when he saw her eyes open. “Can you tell me what happened to you?”

At his question, and the gentle concern emanating from his eyes and his voice, she began to whimper, softly. Sitting down at her bedside, so that he wouldn’t tower over her, he took her right hand in his and smoothing her brow, he asked her again, “What happened Shimera?”

“He killed my baby,” she sobbed. “I told them I changed my mind and I didn’t want the abortion, but they th – th – they gave me some kind of shot and I lost consciousness, while they tied me down. Then, I heard them talking from far away, and I heard my baby cry, and I – I tried to open my eyes,” she began weeping inconsolably as she continued through her tears, “a – an – and then I heard a snap, like bones were breaking, and she – she st – st – stopped c – crying. And I – I opened my eyes, and I – I saw her little body in Ch – Charlotte’s hands, twitching. And then Dr. Johnson grabbed her and threw her little body into the trashcan. They killed my baby!” She screamed, as she lost consciousness again.

With a grim look on his face, Dr. McFarland ordered the nurses to prep Shimera for surgery, then turned to her aunt and uncle, who both stood there in shocked silence, not even aware of the tears they were shedding. Her uncle spoke first, “Do you know who this Dr. Johnson is?” he asked in horror.

Dr. McFarland nodded grimly, as he replied, “I know exactly who she’s talking about, and I’m going to call the police right now. It’s time they put a stop to this monster!”

“Will Shimera be ok?” her aunt softly queried.

Dr. McFarland looked earnestly at Shimera’s family and assured them, “I won’t know how badly she’s been hurt until I operate, but I assure you, I will do everything possible to save her. Are you her parents?” he asked.

“No,” Aunt Tessa replied. “Her parents are long gone. I raised Shimera from the time she was a little girl. Her Uncle Antoine and me are the only ones she’s got. She’s just like our own little girl.”

Dr. McFarland nodded and explained, “Shimera is in no condition to give me permission to operate, so I need to get your signature then.” At their questioning look, Dr. McFarland explained. “It’s obvious that Shimera is the victim of a botched abortion, and I need to go inside and clean her up and stop her bleeding, and make sure that I remove anything that could cause infection and kill her. She’s burning up with fever, but I need to go inside as soon as possible, before she bleeds out.”

Tessa and Antoine quickly signed the necessary forms, while Dr. McFarland went to prepare for Shimera’s surgery…

Several hours later, Dr. McFarland emerged from the operating room to speak to Shimera’s aunt and uncle, and the police detective who was there with them. “She nearly died,” he told them, “but she’s a fighter, and her will to live is very strong. It was obvious that this was a late-term abortion,” he said softly, “because the doctor who performed the abortion left much of the placenta in place, which, combined with the unsanitary conditions Shimera told us about, had a great deal to do with Shimera’s blood loss and the severe infection that is raging through her body. I won’t know for sure until the test results come back tomorrow, but it appears that Shimera contracted sepsis from the clinic.

“It’s a miracle that she was able to walk to your home in her condition. Shimera is obviously a very strong young woman, with a strong will to live. She’s still not out of the woods, but I’ve given her strong antibiotics to combat the infection, and I’ve removed all of the damaged tissue and organs. I’m sorry to tell you that I had to perform a complete hysterectomy in order to save her life, and Shimera will never be able to bear children as a result of all of this.”

Tessa and Antoine, looked at each other sadly, as the police detective cleared his throat uncomfortably. They nodded as Dr. McFarland continued, “Would you like to see Shimera now? Detective Hernandez, do you mind waiting just a few minutes, until Mr. and Mrs. Martin see her?” Detective Hernandez stated that he would wait right outside Shimera’s room until they called him.

Shimera looked tiny and pale in the hospital bed; her normally smooth milk chocolaty complexion now looked mottled and ashy. “Shimera,” Dr. McFarland awakened her, as her eyelids weakly fluttered open, taking in the kind doctor, as well as her aunt and uncle’s concerned faces. “Do you know where you are?”

“St. Andrew’s Hospital,” she whispered hoarsely.

“Yes, and do you remember who I am?” he queried.

“Yes, Dr. McFarland. You operated on me,” she said softly, feebly. “Can I have a drink?”

“Very good, Shimera. I’ll have the nurse get you some ice chips and water. How does that sound?” he asked.

“That’s okay, but I’d rather have ginger ale,” Shimera stated, causing relieved laughter to erupt from Dr. McFarland as well as her aunt and uncle.

“Very well then, I’ll order ginger ale,” he stated as he rang Shimera’s call bell, and gave her order to the nurse. “Your aunt and uncle are here,” he said as Tessa and Antoine approached their beloved niece’s bed, weeping and holding her gently. The family held one another sobbing for a few minutes, while he looked over her chart, and then, he cleared his throat. “Shimera, there’s a Detective Hernandez here to see you. He wants to question you about what happened to you today. Are you up to talking to him or do you want me to send him away for now?” Dr. McFarland questioned gently, concern for his patient foremost in his mind.

Drawing a deep breath, and praying silently to the Lord, the One she had turned away from so long ago, but now, the One to whom she had run earlier today, the One who had helped her to make it to her aunt’s and uncle’s house safely, when she had no strength of her own left to make the trek. “Father,” she prayed, “please give me the strength and the wisdom to answer all of the detective’s questions, and Lord, in Jesus’ name, please let that terrible clinic and those horrible people be put out of business once and for all!”

Then, opening her weary eyes, she looked from her doctor to her aunt and uncle and stated firmly, “Please, send him in.”

The detective entered the hospital room, notepad in hand and walked up to Shimera’s bedside. “Shimera Martin?” he queried, as she nodded. “I’m Detective Julio Hernandez,” he said as he gently took her hand in his. “I’m sorry to meet you under these circumstances.”

Tears flowed from Shimera’s eyes as she gazed into the kindness of his eyes and responded quietly, “Me too.”

“Are you up to telling me what happened to you, or would you rather wait until tomorrow to talk to me?” he spoke kindly to her, seemingly more concerned about her well-being than his potential case. It had been a long time since a man, other than her Uncle Antoine, had spoken to her with kindness and respect.

Shimera drew in a deep breath, “I’d like to tell you now, before I get scared and change my mind.” He nodded understandingly, and as her aunt and uncle stood by her side, she told him how she had gotten pregnant unexpectedly, by Marcus James, and how everything was going well, up until about a week ago, when Marcus had suddenly dumped her for another woman. She told him how Marcus had beat her, calling her many terrible names, and said that he didn’t want her anymore. “I was devastated,” she continued softly. “The man who I thought I loved — the one whose baby I was going to have in just another four weeks was a monster, and suddenly, I started to question everything. If I had been so wrong about Marcus, how many other things was I wrong about? What about this baby? Marcus’ child? What if his child was a monster just like he was? I decided I couldn’t handle that, so I made up my mind to have an abortion.”

Shimera told Detective Hernandez how she had scheduled the appointment at Dr. Johnson’s Women’s Aid Society Clinic, paying him $1000 up front, her total life’s savings, as well as presenting him with her Medicaid card. She had signed all of the paper work, but when they called her back to the room where her abortion procedure was scheduled to take place, she had begun to have second thoughts. The room was filthy, there were blood stains on the floors and walls, and she felt her baby moving restlessly inside of her, as if to say, “No, please don’t kill me!”

Shimera said she was in tears when the doctor entered the room, and when she told him that she had changed her mind and wanted to go home, he got angry and hostile with her. He demanded to know how she was going to care for the child, and what made her think she could handle being a mother. Shimera said she kept trying to tell him that she wanted to go home, when his office worker, Charlotte, came in and stuck a needle in her arm, telling her to, “Be quiet or you’re going to upset the other patients.”

Shimera told him the next thing she remembered was being strapped down to a bed, while Dr. Johnson and Charlotte were talking about her. They sounded like they were far away, and then she heard a baby cry, and she tried her very best to wake up… She told him about the awful snapping sound as though the baby’s bones were breaking, and that when she opened her eyes, she saw the body of her daughter twitching as she died. Then she witnessed Dr. Johnson grabbing the lifeless body of her baby from his office assistant, Charlotte, and tossing her into the trashcan.

Shimera spoke of waking up later, and of how Charlotte had threatened her and shoved her down the steps with her prescription for antibiotics in hand. The Detective asked if she still had the prescription, and Shimera stated that it was in her coat pocket, which her aunt retrieved, handing it to the detective, who removed the prescription from her pocket, looked at it, and then passed it to Dr. McFarland, whose eyebrows lowered in outrage. “This is not a prescription for an antibiotic,” he growled angrily. “It’s Oxycontin, and the dosage he’s prescribed is unquestionably addicting, and even potentially life-threatening. If she had filled this prescription, it would have been a sure way of silencing her.”

Shimera shuddered, thanking God for sparing her life, as the detective asked for a baggie to place the prescription in as evidence. “Shimera,” Detective Hernandez asked, when she had finished telling him her story, “what made you choose to come all the way to St. Andrew’s Hospital, rather than St. Mark’s, when it would have been much closer to you?”

Shimera looked him in the eye as she spoke, “I knew that Dr. Johnson has privileges at St. Mark’s, and I didn’t want to risk having him find out about me. I was afraid he would kill me.”

Shimera’s uncle, who had remained silent during the questioning then told Detective Hernandez of the trail of blood Shimera had left as she made her miraculous trek to his house.

Detective Hernandez nodded, then spoke to everyone in the room, “I’m going to station guards outside Shimera’s room, to protect her, and I will be seeking a search warrant tonight, so that we can search Dr. Johnson’s home and the Women’s Aid Society Clinic as soon as possible. I’m also going to send the forensic lab to your house immediately, Mr. Martin, with your permission. Or, if you prefer, I can get a search warrant, sir,” Detective Hernandez spoke respectfully to Antoine, who gave his permission for the search, offering to go home immediately, so that he could also open his house for them to enter and trace the trail of blood left by Shimera.

Antoine told the detective, “I’ll do anything to help put this criminal behind bars for what he did to Shimera.”

Detective Hernandez thanked him, and then turned back to the victim of this terrible crime. “Shimera,” he said, handing her his card, “if you think of anything else, or if you need me for anything, please don’t hesitate to call me.”

Shimera slept restlessly that night, as pain from her surgery and the trauma of having her child ripped unwillingly from her womb engulfed her. Nightmares tormented her sleep, and each time she awakened in fear, her Aunt Tessa was there beside her, to comfort her and assure her that a guard had been placed outside her door to protect her from retaliation. 

Dr. McFarland visited her room around 8:00 the next morning to examine her wounds and see how she was feeling. Though the fever still raged in her body, her complexion looked much better than it had the night before. Overall, he seemed pleased with her progress. When Shimera asked how long she would have to remain in the hospital, he told her that she must remain in the hospital for at least three days to receive antibiotics intravenously, due to the sepsis in her system. Both Shimera and Aunt Tessa thanked Dr. McFarland for his kindness and the excellent care he had provided Shimera. 

After Dr. McFarland left the room, Shimera looked at her Aunt Tessa and began to cry. “I’m sorry, Aunt Tessa,” she wept. “I don’t know why I ever even thought of going to that horrible place. I loved my baby girl, but when Marcus beat me up, I wasn’t thinking. I just wanted to get rid of anything that reminded me of him, and his baby was the biggest reminder,” she cried. “I can’t believe I was so stupid and selfish!”

“Hush, child,” Aunt Tessa comforted her. “We all fall short of God’s glory, but if you confess your sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You just cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you, Baby,” Tessa lovingly spoke to her precious little Shimera, who was more a daughter to her than a niece. 

She caressed Shimera’s forehead, leaning forward to kiss her soft cheek. Even in the  midst of suffering, her little Shimera was beautiful. Her milk chocolate coloring was back this morning, and her green eyes looked up at her Aunt Tessa with adoration. Those striking green eyes against her chocolaty complexion always drew people to her, especially the boys. She had gotten those green eyes from her daddy, a mysterious man who Tessa had only met once, when Shimera’s mother was going with him. Poor little Shimera had never met him. 

She sighed deeply, as she sat down at Shimera’s bedside, stroking her arm comfortingly, as Shimera drifted off to sleep again…

Detective Hernandez came to see Shimera around 10:00 that morning, telling her, “We got a warrant and searched the Women’s Aid Society Clinic, as well as Dr. Thomas Johnson’s home, and based on your statement and the evidence we collected, both he and Charlotte Walker were arrested this morning. Both are in jail, awaiting arraignment.”

“Good,” Shimera responded, her green eyes steely, as she returned his gaze.

“Shimera,” Detective Hernandez continued, “District Attorney Sheila Douglas is in the hallway. She wants to talk to you about what happens next. May she come in?” 

Shimera nodded her head in agreement, and Detective Hernandez went to the door, to beckon the District Attorney to enter. 

An attractive black woman in her early forties, dressed in a tailored knee-length brown skirt, with a crisp white blouse, and a jacket that matched her skirt, walked into the room carrying a brief case. She looked professional and business like as she briskly walked into the room, placing her brief case on the floor as she walked to Shimera’s bedside and introduced herself, shaking her hand. Although she was the epitome of professionalism, there was also something very warm and inviting about her, and as she spoke to Shimera and Aunt Tessa, they were drawn to her.

“Shimera, I want to talk to you and question you about what happened to you yesterday. I know you just had surgery, so if you’re not up to it, just let me know, ok?” She looked at Shimera expectantly, waiting for her answer.

“Ok,” Shimera agreed, nodding her head.

“Great,” Sheila replied. “I’d also like to record our conversation, if that’s ok.”

Again, Shimera agreed, vehemently stating, “I’ll do whatever is necessary to get that monster off the streets, so he doesn’t hurt anymore women and babies!”

“Very good,” Sheila stated approvingly as she set up her recorder, and began questioning Shimera. The questioning went on for more than an hour, until Shimera began showing signs of exhaustion, as she struggled to stay awake in order to answer the questions. Sheila, noting Shimera’s weakness, thanked her for her time and told her that she had enough evidence, from the searches, and Shimera’s testimony to file charges against both Dr. Thomas Johnson and Charlotte Walker for malpractice and negligence.

Based on Shimera’s testimony, they were also going to proceed with kidnapping charges because Shimera had been held in the clinic against her will, assault charges for the physical damage they had inflicted on Shimera’s body, and murder charges, for the murder of Shimera’s baby, whose body had been recovered from the trashcan, and based on the preliminary results had the same blood type as Shimera. Further DNA testing had been ordered, but those results would take several days.

Shimera wept as Sheila gently broke this news to her, and asked if she would be allowed to see her baby after the autopsy. Sheila assured her that she would make sure that Shimera was permitted to see her baby girl, and that she and her family could bury her after the autopsy. Sheila asked Shimera one final question before she left the room, “Shimera, do you have a name for your baby girl?”

Shimera’s green eyes filled with tears as she nodded her head, “Her name is Marvella Dannah Martin. Marvella means miracle, and Dannah means God will judge.” Shimera looked hard at Sheila, “Promise me that you will fight for her. I believe that God will use you to bring judgment on that horrible monster and his assistant for the crimes they committed against Marvella, me, and who knows how many other women and babies. Promise me that you won’t give up.”

Sheila’s own eyes filled with tears as she looked into Shimera’s green eyes. Then, taking her hand in hers, Sheila responded, “We will fight for Marvella and every other person that he has harmed, together.” After making that final declaration, Sheila packed her notes and her recorder back into her brief case, leaning over to hug Shimera, and then turning to hug her aunt as well before she left.

Detective Hernandez lingered behind to reassure Shimera and her aunt, explaining that since both Dr. Thomas Johnson and Charlotte Walker were now in jail, their guard would be removed. However, he assured them, if either were to be released on bail, the guard would resume duty. Both Shimera and her Aunt Tessa thanked Detective Hernandez for his kindness to them, and he responded, looking at Shimera with admiration, “You are a very brave young woman, and it has been my honor to serve you. Please, call me at any time if you need my help.”

Over the course of the next few months, Shimera’s body healed, while her spirit began to heal at a much slower rate. She was devastated when Dr. McFarland and her aunt broke the news to her that she would never carry a child. She would never know the joy of bearing a baby or of being a mother, because of her encounter with Dr. Johnson. Therefore, she grieved not only for the murder of Marvella, but for the murder of every other child she may have borne, had it not been for the brutality of Dr. Johnson and his assistant.

Shimera returned to college, where she was studying to be a social worker. She also returned to church with her aunt and uncle. She repented from the sins she had committed against God, as He began to minister to her, giving her beauty for ashes and strength for fear. He began to heal the wounds of her broken heart, and as she began to heal in His loving hands, she began to minister to other young women who had undergone the pain of abortion, and now regretted their decisions. God was turning the pain and the horror that she had suffered into something good.

Shimera met frequently with District Attorney Sheila Douglas, as the case of the People vs. Thomas Johnson, M.D. and Charlotte Walker was built. During those months, several other women, who had been victims of Dr. Johnson and Charlotte Walker at the Women’s Aid Society Clinic, came forward to share similar horror stories. It broke Shimera’s heart when she learned that there were now ten counts of murder against the two perpetrators. She was beginning to realize that the depth and breadth of their crimes against humanity spread further than she had imagined.

Shimera now lived with her Aunt Tessa and Uncle Antoine once again, and together all of them prayed for the many women and babies who had been destroyed by the criminal activities of the perpetrators. They prayed that the Lord would deliver each one from their pain and suffering, and that the Lord would bring healing not only to their bodies and souls, but also to their spirits. They prayed that every victim would come to know, as all of God’s children should know, how wide and how long, how wide and how deep His love for them really was.

Detective Hernandez became a regular visitor at the Martin household, at first stopping by to see how the victim of this horrible crime fared, but as he spent time with this warm and loving family, Julio came to love each one of them, especially Shimera. His admiration for this brave young woman, who had suffered so much, grew into love, as he came to know her. While she could have turned into a vindictive, embittered woman, she refused to succumb to that temptation. Rather, she was a warm, loving and vibrant young woman, who was determined to use the trauma she had suffered for the good of others.

Finally, after more than a year of preparation and waiting, the trial of the People vs. The Women’s Aid Society Clinic, Dr. Thomas Johnson and Charlotte Walker, began. Shimera was not allowed to be present for the opening arguments or the testimony of any other witness, until she had given her testimony, and would no longer be needed to testify. Nor were her aunt and uncle allowed into the courtroom until after they too, had testified. 

It was a difficult time for all of them, but they kept the faith, praying for the attorneys, the witnesses, and even for Dr. Johnson and Charlotte. They prayed that justice would prevail, and that Dr. Johnson and Charlotte would repent for their sins against God and mankind.

Shimera’s aunt was the first to testify, followed by her uncle’s testimony. Finally, it was Shimera’s turn to testify against Dr. Johnson and Charlotte. Although she was nervous about facing the two again, she was confident that she was doing the right thing, as she walked to the witness stand, placed her left hand on the bible, and while raising her right hand, swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help her God. Then, she climbed onto the witness stand, where she faced the two people who had caused her so much pain and torment, for the first time since the ordeal had begun.

Sheila crossed the courtroom and approached the witness stand. “Can you tell us your full name?” she asked. Shimera, looked young and lovely, wearing a jade green blouse that caused her striking green eyes to pop, and a tailored black skirt, just above her knees,    responded, telling the court that her full name was Shimera Renee Martin. Her curly black hair was pulled away from her face with jeweled combs, which matched her blouse, while the rest of her hair tumbled halfway down her back in a mass of curls.

“Shimera,” Sheila asked, “do you remember anything about September 29, 2011?”

Shimera’s eyes closed briefly in pain, and her milk chocolate skin reddened as she thought back to that horrible day, and she replied, “Yes ma’am. That’s a day I’ll never forget. It’s the day my whole world turned upside down.” 

“Shimera, can you tell us in your own words what you remember about that day?”

Sighing deeply and painfully, Shimera began, telling the courtroom how hurt and upset she had been from the beating that she had received the night before, from her ex-boyfriend, the father of the child she carried in her womb. She was eight months pregnant, and in her distress, she decided to abort her unborn baby.

She told the court how she had presented the Women’s Aid Society Clinic with $1000, up front. She continued, telling them how she had been called back, from the waiting room, and as she walked past the various cubicles on the way to hers, she had noted the filth and the blood stains on the floors and walls.

“As I noted the filth in the clinic, my baby began moving inside of me, as though she was pounding on my stomach, telling me, ‘Please don’t kill me,’ and I realized that I couldn’t go through with this. Even though I was upset with her father, I still loved my baby girl, and I didn’t want to kill her. So I waited in the cubicle to tell Dr. Johnson that I had changed my mind. 

“When he entered the cubicle, I was crying, and I looked at him and said, ‘I’m sorry for wasting your time, Dr. Johnson, but I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want an abortion after all. I want to keep my baby.’

“Dr. Johnson got really angry when I told him that, and he started yelling at me, asking me how I was going to take care of a baby on my own, and what made me think I could be a good mother. I was crying really hard now, and I was really scared, when his office assistant, Charlotte walked into the room with a needle, and jabbed me with it, telling me, ‘Be quiet! You’re going to upset the other patients.’ I don’t know what was in that needle, but it knocked me out. 

“The next thing I remember is hearing their voices talking about me,” Shimera continued.

“Whose voices did you hear, Shimera?” Sheila asked her.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “The next thing I remember hearing was Dr. Johnson’s voice and Charlotte’s voice talking about me. Charlotte was saying, ‘I think she’s coming to,’ and Dr. Johnson said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’

“I remember feeling really sick and nauseated, and then I heard the sound of a baby crying, and I knew it was my baby, so I struggled to wake up, to open my eyes… And then I heard a horrible snapping sound, like a bone was being broken, and I forced my eyes open in time to see my daughter,” Shimera was weeping profusely as she bravely continued. “I – I – I saw my baby girl, my little Marvella Dannah, in Charlotte’s hands and her body was twitching, and then I saw Dr. Johnson snatch Marvella out of Charlotte’s hands, a – a – and toss her into the trash can as though she was nothing but rubbish!” Shimera broke down completely at this point, and the judge called a thirty minute recess to give her time to compose herself. 

At the end of the thirty minute recess, Shimera resumed her place on the witness stand and Sheila continued to question her. “Shimera, for the record, what did you say your baby’s name was?”

Shimera smiled softly, her green eyes shimmering with tears, looking beautiful against her  milk chocolate-colored skin. “Her name was Marvella Dannah Martin,” she replied.

“And do you know what that name means, Shimera?” Sheila continued.

“Yes ma’am. I looked up all kinds of names online, and in the end, I chose Marvella, because it means miracle, and she was my little miracle, and I chose Dannah, because it means God judges, and I originally picked that name, because it reminded me that I needed to get myself straightened out, because God was going to judge me. Now, I know that God chose that name, because He is going to bring judgment on those who harm the innocent.”

“Objection, your honor!” The defense shouted.

“Sustained, Ms. Martin, I know you’re upset, but please try to refrain from making any judgments,” the judge warned.

“Yes, your honor,” Shimera replied.

Sheila continued to question Shimera regarding the events of that day, and Shimera shared how Charlotte had threatened her and pushed her out the door, onto her knees on the sidewalk, and then walked back inside. Shimera shared how she had walked the two miles from the clinic to the home of her aunt and uncle, who had rushed her to St. Andrew’s hospital, because she was afraid to go to St. Mark’s hospital, where Dr. Johnson had privileges, for fear of retaliation. Finally, the prosecution finished questioning her, and then it was the defense’s turn to question Shimera.

It was obvious that Shimera was a very credible and sympathetic witness, and though the defense had searched for any damning information about Shimera they could find, there was nothing to be found. Therefore, it was in the defense’s best interest to get Shimera off the stand as soon as possible.

After Shimera testified, Dr. McFarland and Detective Hernandez were called to the stand, followed by several other women who had been victims of Dr. Johnson and Charlotte. Finally, after about one and a half weeks of testimony, the prosecution rested their case, and the defense presented their case, which lasted another week, after which, the case was placed in the juror’s hands. After only three hours of deliberation, the jury came to a verdict and Dr. Thomas Johnson and Charlotte Walker were found guilty of all the charges presented against them.

Shimera burst into tears as she heard the final verdict. She was also given the opportunity to speak to the court two weeks later, when they would determine the sentences that Dr. Thomas Johnson and Charlotte Walker would serve for the crimes they had committed.

 “Your honor, members of the court, Dr. Thomas Johnson and Charlotte Walker,” Shimera began at the sentencing, “This has been the most difficult year of my life. You see, not only have I had to come to terms with the loss of my daughter, Marvella Dannah Martin, but I’ve also had to come to terms with the loss of every other child I may have one day borne, because of the crimes you committed against my body and my daughter’s body. 

“Because you chose to destroy the organs in my body, by using filthy, unsterile instruments, to butcher my insides, I will never be able to present my future husband with children of our own. Because you chose to murder my daughter, Marvella Dannah Martin when she was born, I will never have the chance to:

  • Cradle my child in my arms…
  • Hold my child to my breast and nurse her…
  • Comfort my baby when she cries…
  • Sing lullabies to my baby…
  • See my baby smile…
  • Hear my baby coo…
  • Hear my baby giggle…
  • Hear my baby’s first words…
  • Hear my baby say, ‘Mama’…
  • See my baby take her first steps…
  • Watch my baby get on the bus her first day of school…
  • See my baby graduate from high school and go off to college…
  • See my baby get married…

“And I’ll never get to see my grandchildren,” Shimera sobbed. “Furthermore, because of your crimes against Marvella Dannah Martin, she died without ever:

  • Seeing my face…
  • Hearing my voice sing a lullaby to her…
  • Feeling the warmth of my arms around her…
  • Pressing her lips to my breast to draw nourishment and comfort from me…
  • Feeling the warmth of my breath, as I bend down to kiss her and whisper, “I love you” to her…

“Because of your crimes, she died in the cold hard arms of a stranger who had no love for her. Because of your crimes, her first and only minutes when she entered into this world were filled with cold, and fear and pain, as you jabbed your scissors into the back of her neck and severed her spinal cord.

“I have prayed and asked the Lord to help me forgive you for the crimes you committed, but I have also prayed for justice for you, because neither one of you have shown any remorse or repentance for the crimes you committed against me, Marvella, and so many other women and their babies. Therefore, I humbly ask the judge to sentence both of you to the fullest extent of the law so that neither one of you will ever again be able to harm anyone else.

“Thank you, your  honor, for allowing me this opportunity to share my heart and seek justice. Before I leave, would you to please allow me the opportunity to play this song for the many women who have had abortions, and suffered pain and regrets afterward?”

At the judge’s nod of ascension, Shimera played this song:

As the song ended, Shimera again thanked the judge, and then returned to her seat as she awaited the judge’s decision. Several other women who had suffered loss at the hands of Dr. Thomas Johnson and Charlotte Walker also took advantage of their opportunity to speak to the court and to address Dr. Johnson and Charlotte Walker, after which, the judge adjourned court until the following morning at 8:00am, when she would render the sentences for both perpetrators.

At 8:00 the next morning, the judge entered the courtroom, where the perpetrators and their attorneys, the District Attorney, Shimera, her aunt and uncle, and all of the other women who had testified against them rose from their seats. After telling them all to be seated, the judge wasted no time in sentencing both perpetrators to the maximum sentence allowed by law for their crimes.

As Shimera exited the courtroom with her aunt and uncle, she breathed a sigh of relief. After more than a year, this sad chapter of her life was finally over, and there had been justice for Shimera.

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