A Day at the Clinic
A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine messaged me that she wanted to get more involved with the efforts to end abortion. She is an amazing prayer warrior and such a Godly woman so I was thrilled she wanted to know how to get involved, and more importantly, how her church can get involved. We need more churches actively fighting to end abortion. As I heard one woman say, “Christians are the reason abortion still exists.” That is so sad yet so true.
Christian individuals and Christian churches must take action to abolish abortion. However, too many are absolutely silent on this issue! They may say they are “pro-life” because they support pregnancy centers, but they won’t openly expose the evil truth about abortion. And it takes addressing both sides of this issue for us to abolish abortion and save the lives of the innocent unborn.
I shared with my friend several different ways she can get involved in the fight to end abortion.
Ultimately what I told my friend though, regardless of what area she ends up serving, she has to come to the sidewalk with me to see what it’s like. Even though the sidewalk ministry may not be where she works to end abortion, she must go in order to witness firsthand the battleground where abortion is happening. In her words, she compared it to going on a mission trip to better understand overseas missions, though you may not be called overseas.
So she did just that.
Last Friday morning we went to the local abortion clinic together. I chose Friday because that is one of the killing days (as opposed to a consult day) so she could see what the clinic workers were like and what it might be like to save a baby. And boy did she get a full experience!
As we parked on a side road and approached the clinic, I pointed out that the facility is just called a “Women’s Clinic." Were it not for the pro-life ministry on the sidewalk, most people in this city would have no idea what is going on here. Whereas if it were a Planned Parenthood, everyone would know they were in the business of killing babies. But this clinic disguises that fact from passers-by (although their website makes it perfectly clear their main service is abortion).
The set up for this particular clinic, I’ve been told, is one of the most hostile to pro-life work in the southeastern region. The building entrance is on the back side, the door farthest from the street. They have recently installed a large speaker on the side of the building blaring music. The “deathscorts,” as we appropriately call them since they are escorting women and their babies in for death, are all holding large umbrellas and a smaller upright speaker blaring music. As soon as a car pulls into the parking lot, the deathscorts rush to surround the car, open those umbrellas, and crank up the volume. All of this serves to shield women from seeing and hearing the pro-life people on the sidewalk.
The deathscorts don’t want any woman to be told by a sidewalk person that they don’t have to kill their baby. Deathscorts don't want the women to hear that we will give them any money they need to help with their prenatal care, or that we will fully stock their nursery for their baby, or that there are families standing there ready and willing to adopt their baby, or that we can provide any other kind of help they may need to keep their baby. No, the deathscorts don’t want the woman to know there are life-giving choices available to her. They want her to only choose one thing – abortion.
Why? Well, as we watched the owner of the clinic drive in with his Escalade, my friend saw for herself why. The abortionist’s Mercedes and the owner’s Cadillac are why they want women to abort. Abortion is a lucrative industry.
Many people ask if there is shouting from the sidewalk? Absolutely. But shouting at people seems so ugly! Aren’t we just being mean to these vulnerable women, like the media portrays? We have to ask why we are shouting. The shouting is so we can be heard over all the efforts of the clinic to silence us. It is to be heard over the umbrellas and the loud speakers and at the back of the parking lot. The shouting is so these women can hear the last cry for help and hope that they will ever get before they kill their babies.
The deathscorts are doing everything they can to drown out the voices of hope and help. They work to stop these women from the last possibility of choosing life. So we shout in order to be heard. Besides, if it were you inside that womb about to be dismembered alive, wouldn’t you want people shouting in order to save you?
The woman faced with an unexpected, unplanned, unwanted pregnancy is in a vulnerable and difficult situation. She is desperate. She has been deceived by the clinic workers and by culture telling them that her only solution is to kill her child. She is deceived by the lie that her life would be better if she killed her baby. She is possibly* choosing abortion because she thinks there is no other option.
For this woman, we are shouting words of hope and help. “Come talk to us.” “Let us help you.” “You don’t have to do this.” “There are other options.” These are life-giving words to help a desperate woman. For her, we need to be tender and loving, yet that is hard to do when you must shout over the umbrellas and the blaring music in the 10 seconds it takes them to walk across the parking lot.
The other type of person is the wicked. These are the clinic workers. These people’s hearts have been so hardened to the mass murder taking place inside that building. They curse at those who are trying to help. They dance around and celebrate when babies are murdered. They sing songs cheering aborted babies. They taunt the sidewalk workers. We heard one clinic worker shout sarcastically to us, “Did you save any babies today?” They call the police if a sidewalk person has a toe on their grass, more incensed over accidental trespassing than murder.
The words for those people need to lead them to conviction for what they are doing. By analogy, what type of words would you have for the Nazi guard leading the Jews into the gas chamber? Or for a slave owner whipping a slave? The wicked need words to pierce their hearts and awaken them to the evil they are committing.
As we walk up to the building, the head deathscort approaches us with a camera as a means of intimidating us away from the sidewalk. Since I clearly don’t care whether they film me or not, I smile and wave. She flips me the bird and cusses at me. We were greeted by other sidewalk ministers though, which gives everyone a little encouragement. We are all from so many different backgrounds yet united in the fight for life. Ironically, nearly all the people on the sidewalk that day are not from the city of this abortion clinic. Yet this city boasts over 120 churches, not counting the surrounding suburbs. Where are this city’s residents in this fight to end abortion? Where are this city’s churches?
I began explaining to my friend the rules of this particular sidewalk, where you can stand and not stand. How you can cross the entrance to the other sidewalk but not stand in the entrance. How you can’t step on the grass or they’ll call the police for trespassing. how twice they have driven a car up onto the sidewalk, aimed directly at a sidewalk worker. How you can shout to try to be heard over all their noise, but not shout too loud or they will call the police for a noise violation. The clinic makes sure any minor offense is reported to the police so they can murder unborn babies without interference.
Since Fridays are killing days, those are the clinic’s busy days. We notice the full parking lot and are overwhelmed with a wave of grief for how many women are inside that very moment having their babies pulled apart limb from limb inside the womb. We stood there quietly as I held my sign which read, “Killing an innocent person is never the solution to the problem. Let us help.” Then a different deathscort flipped me off and cursed me. I ignored her.
As we walked across the driveway to the other side of the sidewalk, we noticed three police cars pull into the parking lot. The officers approached the sidewalk ministers on the other side of the road. All the deathscorts rushed over with their phones pulled out to film everything. They had called the police because one of the gentlemen had been praying out loud. And they didn’t like it.
During all of that commotion on the opposite sidewalk, a young Latina drove into the parking lot. I was hoping the police distraction would allow me to actually talk to her directly, but a deathscort noticed her too and rushed over with her umbrella so the young woman could not see me. However, I found if I moved farther down the sidewalk I could get around the view of the umbrella and make eye contact with her. You could tell she had been crying and she kept burying her face in her hands. My friend was pacing the sidewalk behind me, praying fiercely for this young woman.
I called out to the young woman, “Please don’t do this. You don’t have to do this. We can help you. Just come talk to us.” In response to me, the deathscort flipped me off and fired up her chant, “Mind your own business. Go away!” This display of ugliness from the deathscorts in response to someone offering to help would weigh heavily in the mind of a young girl unsure of what to do next. I called out, “These women don’t care about you. We care about you. Please let us help.” The deathscort began chanting again as she was joined by two other volunteer deathscorts.
I found their yelling that to be terribly ironic. “Mind your own business”? Why have they made it their business to make sure these girls kill their babies? “Go away”? Why don’t they go away? If they really are about “choice,” why are they refusing these women any chance at hearing the life-giving choices they actually have? Why do they have such a vested interest in making sure a woman kills her baby?
Why have these clinic workers made it their business to make sure these girls kill their babies?
In the meantime, three of our sidewalk ministers are being handcuffed and put into the police cruisers to be taken downtown. For what? For voicing an opinion. For offering help to woman in a crisis pregnancy. For trying to save a life. For peacefully protesting the murder of the innocent. Isn’t this what our Constitution protects? Aren’t we allowed to stand on a public sidewalk and voice our dissent? I wanted to run to the people inside the building and tell them, “We are willing to get arrested to save the life of your baby. These people want to take your money to kill your baby.”
could see me around the umbrellas. There were now four clinic workers, including one man, who kept shouting for me to mind my own business and go away. But I was not going to leave the sight of this woman. After I long time, she cracked her window and said something to the clinic workers. I have no idea what she said, but I knew she had chosen life by the reaction of the clinic workers. The deathscorts snapped those umbrellas shut and stormed off from the car. I continued to pray. She backed her car up and pulled out of that wretched parking lot.
As she pulled onto the street, she was crying and waving. She slowed down as she passed me, and we smiled at each other. I waved and told her I loved her. I wish she had stopped so I could give her a big hug. But I knew in that moment as she drove away she had chosen life for her sweet, innocent, defenseless baby.
I had such a rush of tears of joy and overwhelming gratitude to God for those answered prayers, and for the role I got to play in helping her have the confidence and courage to choose life.
But then I thought about the two teenage girls who had gone in together earlier. I thought about the man who walked his girlfriend inside. I looked at all those cars in the parking lot. And I grieved again in my heart. Though we saved a baby that day, we had three people arrested and at least 12 other babies who were not so fortunate to survive their mothers’ decisions.
The sidewalk ministry is tough. It is a true, spiritual battleground. But if you’ve ever said #blacklivesmatter and you support peaceful protests, then this is a battleground you can’t neglect. At this clinic, 60% of the abortions performed are on black babies. If you’ve ever said #alllivesmatter and you support peaceful protests, then this is a battleground you can’t neglect. This is where lives of all color, gender, and creed are being torn from the mother’s womb.
crisis centers are choosing life and asking for help. But many women are not even going go the crisis pregnancy center. There must be a voice to help those women and their babies who are already choosing abortion.
If you think that some things aren’t done right at the sidewalk, then come out and do it differently. Come out and change it. If you think it doesn’t really work, say that to the little baby who was saved out there on Friday. I’m fully convinced if we had not been out there that day, that woman would have chosen differently. Our presence, our encouragement, our on-the-spot prayers made a difference. It saved her life and her baby’s.
In the last two posts, which you can find here and here, I talked about how we are not free to choose everything just because it is a choice and that we cannot allow exceptions to taking innocent human life. But all of this discussion assumes we can sit down and discuss this issue. However, too many times the abortion supporter silences the pro-life position by challenging their right to speak on this issue. When a person voices their opposition to murdering unborn humans, they are asked whether they have ever had an unwanted pregnancy, or if they have ever lived in poverty with children to care for, or if they are even capable of having children at all. Somehow they have managed to silence pro-life people by telling them they don’t get to weigh in on this issue unless they can answer “yes” to one of those questions. They are insisting that a person is not allowed to offer an opinion on abortion because of a demographic – either economic status, age, race, or even gender. This tactic is most often applied to men. The abortion supporter reasons that men can’t birth babies so they are not allowed to take a stance on an issue involving babies (well in all honesty, men are only forbidden from offering their opinion if it is the pro-life position...).
Should our demographic preclude us from speaking out against atrocities?
But do we apply that logic to any other issue we discuss? Are only those who have been enslaved qualified to comment on the evils of slavery? Are only people who have served in combat able to decry wartime atrocities? Is it only black people who are able to speak out against racism? Of course not! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been a slave yourself, you can still state that slavery if wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never served in combat, you can still identify, be appalled by, and protest war crimes. It doesn’t matter what your race is, you can still speak out against racism. Your demographic does not disqualify you from speaking out on something that is wicked, immoral, and depraved. Likewise, just because you are not an impoverished, unwed, teen facing an unwanted pregnancy does not mean that you do not get to speak out against murdering babies.
Another way abortion supporters use this logic is to vilify Congress and any lawmaker for making laws to end abortion (although lawmakers are not vilified when they pass laws to legalize abortion…). The rally cry is “why should old, white men” be able to legislate abortion. In fact there was an article in 2019 with that very headline: 25 White Republican Men Just Voted to Ban Abortion in Alabama, as if their age, race, or gender has anything to do with wanting to make murdering unborn humans illegal. It also willfully ignores all of the women fighting to ban abortion. The article claims that these old, white men are not faced with the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy, so they should not be able to make abortion illegal. In reality, it is precisely because they are not currently in that position that they should weigh in on this. When a person is in a difficult situation, their judgment is often blurred. They can only see the immediate need to “fix” their situation. And because their judgment is blurred, they are not always going to make the moral decision. It takes someone outside of that situation to see more clearly, and make rules and laws that we are supposed to abide by – even when we are in those difficult situations.
Who gets to determine the law - those in the situation or those outside of it?
For example, as a teacher, I would not want the student who did not study for the test to make the rules about cheating. He is in the difficult situation of taking a test for which he is not prepared. He is going to be tempted to cheat because that seems like the easiest way to “fix” his situation. So if the rules of the classroom were up to him, he would say that it is acceptable to use your books, your notes, and your classmate’s answers for the test. But is that the moral decision? Is that the rule we want established for all students? Or do we want to have someone removed from that temptation make the rule that says you must take the test without the assistance of other people? That does make it more difficult for the student, but it is the moral action that must be taken.
Do we want the parent desperate to get her child into an elite college to make the rules about fraud (Ahem, Lori Laughlin)? Do we want the CEO embezzling in his company to make the laws about corporate finances? Those examples may seem petty and insignificant compared to the woman facing an unwanted pregnancy. But the logic is still the same for even bigger moral dilemmas. Do we want the person who has just murdered someone to determine what the punishment for murder should be? Of course not. We have people who stand outside of our personal situations to determine the laws and punishments for our actions. We even make sure the judge and jury have no connection to the defendant or the victim so their judgments are not biased to the situation. The laws in this nation are there in the hopes of preventing us from making tragic decisions that harm ourselves and other people simply because we are in a tough situation, responding emotionally instead of morally. This means that it doesn’t matter what gender, age, race, background, or whatever we have for lawmakers. They are supposed to rule so that we do not harm other people – including those who are inside the womb.
Men can no longer be silent on abortion
So I want to take this moment to encourage any man who may be reading this. NEVER let someone tell you that you are not qualified to speak out against the evils of abortion simply because you cannot get pregnant. It is true that you will never know the overwhelming feeling of being responsible for growing another human being inside of you. You don’t have to experience your body change in ways you never could imagine, the unrelenting nausea, or the swollen feet, or back pain, or sleepless nights, or uncomfortable clothes, or unwelcomed comments on the size of your belly due to pregnancy. But you also don’t get the joy of having a human being grow inside of you, feeling them move, even feeling them hiccup. You don’t get that instant bond with a newborn for whom you provided safe housing and food for nine months. But none of that matters when it comes to your ability to identify the wickedness of destroying that human life by plucking him limb from limb, or by poisoning him so he dissolves inside the womb, or by crushing his head with forceps until his brains ooze out. No matter your gender, age, social status, ethnicity, or religion, you should be appalled at such things.
In reality, the exact opinion we need on this issue is the man’s opinion. Men, we need you to step up and defend all precious innocent life. God made you with strength and courage to defend the defenseless and protect the innocent. Yet too often men are standing idly by while the most defenseless and most innocent lives are being destroyed. We need men to stand up for those precious little lives in the womb, to protect those children who are being slaughtered for daring to exist. We need men to stand up for motherhood by encouraging frightened women facing unwanted pregnancies that they will have your support, and by reminding them that motherhood is a beautiful thing. We need men to stand up for fatherhood by encouraging men to take responsibility for their children – born and unborn. Just think of all the millions of men who have been denied the chance to raise a son or a daughter because of abortion. We need men – especially pastors – to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. This is what you were made to do, and we need you now more than ever.
What should our conversation on abortion look like?
The right to speak out against abortion is the same for all people, no matter one’s demographic. But not every conversation about abortion should be the same. In this series of blogs, I have been addressing abortion from an intellectual perspective, looking at the reality and the facts of abortion. These posts have discussed abortion as it should be discussed in the political arena. But this issue so much more than a topic for political debate or for down-selecting candidates at the ballot box. This is a very personal issue, therefore the conversation must be personalized. The topic of abortion deals with people from all different life experiences. That doesn’t change the stance on abortion but it changes how abortion is discussed. The discussion in a political debate about abortion is very different from discussing it with a post-abortive woman. And even that conversation can vary depending on how the woman feels about her abortion. Is she proudly shouting her abortion, as many feminists have done? Then she first needs to come to terms with the gravity and the terrible reality of what she has done. She has not made a “choice” for women’s freedom but she has destroyed an innocent life for her own selfish reasons. Is the post-abortive woman grieving her abortion as a terrible decision made in a moment of crisis or maybe even as a result of pressure from someone else? Then she needs to be reminded that God has forgiven even that through the work of Jesus on the cross, if she will seek after Him for His mercy and forgiveness.
The conversation would be different still if it is with a woman is currently pregnant. And even that conversation would vary based on where the woman is in facing her pregnancy. Is she walking into a crisis pregnancy center seeking help? Is she your friend standing in front of you asking what she should do? Is she walking into an abortion clinic already determined to end her baby’s life? Each of those situations will require a different conversation, a different tone, and a different approach. But one common thing for each of those situations is to begin the conversation with a celebration of life. So often we approach a woman who is facing an unwanted pregnancy with sadness and disappointment, or maybe even judgment and shame. But that response only adds more pressure for a woman to make a terrible decision to simply avoid that judgment and shame. That negative attitude towards pregnancy is what causes many women to think abortion is the better option, rather than have a baby in this way. We know this pregnancy was not part of her plan, but at this point the circumstances leading up to her pregnancy are in the past. They cannot be changed or undone. What can be changed is how we respond to an unplanned pregnancy. And I think the response should be more like the following, much like I had with a dear friend of mine recently:
"My body, my choice" has become the rally cry for pro-choice people ever since the passing of the abortion ban in the state of Alabama. It has led to conversations mostly centered around that very question - the question of choice. What exactly do we have the freedom to choose? Especially being in the United States, we love to focus on our personal freedoms. We can do what we want, say what we want, go where we want, act how we want, and we declare that we have the "freedom" to do so -- freedom of speech, freedom to express ourselves, freedom to pursue whatever prosperity and lifestyle one may desire. But even in a society so free, we still have limitations and boundaries on those freedoms. You are not free to go steal your neighbor's car. You are not free to physically assault someone else. You are not free to take someone else's life. You may be free to drink as much alcohol as you want, but you are not free to then go operate a vehicle. Understandably, our freedoms are limited based on their impact to other people. So we are free to do whatever we want with our own bodies - as long as it doesn't harm someone else.
This becomes the main point of contention between pro-choice and pro-life groups. Pro-choice groups rally behind that cry of "my body, my choice" as if abortion were only the woman choosing to damage her own body by her choice. However, abortion does not only harm the woman. Abortion harms the woman while taking the life of someone else. From the moment of conception, a set of human DNA is formed that is separate and distinct from the woman. By five weeks gestation this separate human being has his or her very own heartbeat, separate from the woman. By eight weeks gestation, this separate human has his or her very own set of fingerprints, major organs, nervous system (so yes, the baby can feel pain!), and reproductive organs, separate from the woman. From the science that we know today, there is no denying that the baby in the womb is in fact a human baby, a separate person from the woman. Therefore this idea of choice is not just for one person to do what they want with their own body -- because this choice affects two bodies: the woman's and the baby's inside of her.
The issue for abortion then is determining under what circumstances should a woman be allowed the "freedom to choose" what happens to another human being. Many pro-choice woman say they are not for abortion only for a woman's right to choose. But respecting someone's right to choose depends on the choice being made. Would we make the same argument if someone decided to choose slavery? Would you say that you wouldn't choose to own a slave for yourself but if someone else chooses that, then that is their choice? Would we respect someone's "choice" to shoot up a kindergarten classroom (meanwhile abortion in this nation has wiped out 357 kindergarten classrooms PER DAY)? Would we respect as a "choice" someone who chooses to physically assault homosexuals? Yet abortion literally rips a baby apart limb from limb while in his mother's womb, what is supposed to be the safest place for him. Would we respect the "choice" of a woman who chooses to do drugs while she is pregnant? Yet people are fighting for a woman to take drugs that will destroy life as long as it is administered by an abortionist.
This is where we need to stop and take a moment to determine what kind of society we want to be...or really what kind of society we already are. In several discussions with pro-choice women, I've made the comparison of abortion to the Holocaust. I don't know if they are willfully refusing to see the analogy or if they truly are that ignorant to what they are "fighting" for, but abortion is our nation's Holocaust. When Hitler proposed the "final solution," it was a means of disposing of those that he deemed less than human. They weren't people to him anymore. They were unwanted. They were unloved. (Sound familiar? alabama-democrat-on-abortion-kill-them-now-or-kill-them-later/). They were unnecessary and actually a hindrance on the progress of the nation. Hitler devalued those people - Jews, gypsies, disabled, mentally handicapped - and his "choice" was to remove them from the population.
You can see the same ideology of abortion with the origin of Planned Parenthood. When Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood it was as a means for controlling the black population. She said, "All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class... Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race.”  In 1920 in an article titled "Woman and the New Race," Sanger states, "“Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives… If we are to make racial progress, this development of womanhood must precede motherhood in every individual woman.” And in a letter she wrote in 1939 to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, Sanger writes, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Yet Sanger is the role model for the pro-choice movement and champion of the "woman's right to choose."
Abortion is our Holocaust. It is doing exactly what Hitler dreamed of doing - only we've made it more efficient. Hitler's persecution took the lives of 17 million innocent people simply because he chose to treat those as less than human. To Hitler, they were unwanted and undesirable. We have killed over 60 million babies because our society has deemed certain pregnancies as unwanted and undesirable. For Margaret Sanger it was about controlling and limiting the black population. Now, our society is trying to rationalize and sort out who we think is worthy of existing. That's not our place to decide whether this person or that person is deserving of life. That is exactly what Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and many others did. They decided your ethnicity made you unfit to live. In some places around the world, they are making that decision based on gender. Our society is deciding whether someone's economic level, someone's desire to be a parent, or someone's potential "quality of life" of life makes an unborn baby a human being deserving of life or not.
But the baby in the womb is a human life, then it has value no matter how it was conceived, no matter how bad we think the circumstances around the birth and the life for the baby may be. We don't get to decide that this life doesn't matter. We don't get to choose that this life is disposable. When we do that, we are no different from the Nazi's "Final Solution." When there is a difficult, unplanned pregnancy, there are lots of things we can blame. We can blame some men for being crappy dads. We can blame some men for taking advantage of women. We can blame much of society for failing to emphasize the importance of the family. We can blame some women for making poor relationship decisions. We can blame the government and some corporations for not supporting motherhood enough. But what we can't blame is that baby. That baby is a human being, innocent and defenseless. It deserves life regardless of the circumstances of its conception. The value of innocent human life doesn't change whether the woman is poor, whether the man is a jerk, whether the woman already has other children, whether the woman is young, whether the woman has a career or school to consider, or whether the woman wants the baby. How we feel about the conception does not change whether the baby is a human or not. And we don't get that choice to destroy another human for our own selfish reasons.
Abortion is not an issue about choice. It is an issue about the value of life. We don't get to "choose" whose life is worth living or not. When we allow society to pick and choose the value of an innocent life, we are in a dangerous position. So I applaud Alabama, as a life-long resident of this beautiful state, for being in the national headlines on the correct side of valuing human life. Here we have said that it doesn't matter how you were conceived, what kind of parents you have, or where you are going to live. Your life has value and it will be treated as such. Alabama has been bold enough to say that there are all kinds of choices you get to make, but you do not get the choice to destroy an innocent human life.
(More posts to come on this issue...)
Quote from inside an abortion clinic in Alabama: When asked why does she work at this clinic, this woman replied, "Who else is going to do this? It's very hard to get somebody to do this job. I've worked here 14 years. Even though I've never personally had a termination, I've assisted in about 20,000. And I feel like this should be as common as going to the doctor and having a bunion removed. Nobody ridicules you, nobody asks you. 'Why did you have that knot taken off the side of your foot?' So nobody should be ridiculing you or asking you why did you have that fetus removed from your uterus."
1. Margaret Sanger, "Morality and Birth Control," Feb-Mar 1918.
Several weeks ago I participated again in the sidewalk ministry outside of a local abortion clinic. I have been out there a few times before, but this one was a drastically different experience. The abortionist was there. And the parking lot was full. It was the most depressing and heart-wrenching experience to know what was happening inside that building for so many lives. And it bothered me even further to see the interference from the abortionists to prevent us from reaching out to those women and those babies. I think that is one of the most disturbing realities about the abortion industry (and yes, it’s an industry because they are only concerned with making money off the slaughter of innocent lives in the womb). These abortionists and abortion activists parade around calling themselves “pro-choice” but that is the last thing those people are interested in. You should think about that next time you vote and the next time you discuss this issue. I so often hear people say, “Well, no one wants people to abort, but it should be available.” But that is NOT the reality. These clinics and abortionists want very much for these women to abort, so much so that they hire people whose only job is to prevent women from changing their minds. They have quotas to meet and Cadillacs to buy. They want more people to abort. So you as an individual may hope that women don’t abort, but the ones you are empowering to do so don’t think that way.
The very goal of these clinics is not to give women a choice, but to convince them to abort. Ironically, the definition of the word choice is the act of choosing among a variety of options. So a choice can only be made when someone is given all of the information about all of the options. But these women are not presented with that. In fact, the abortionists and “pro-choicers” devote their lives to preventing that. They don’t want the woman to have a choice – they want them to abort. It is bad enough that society even allows for abortion to be an option, but it is even worse when you are told that is the only option.
The truth is that abortion should never be the option because there are a plethora of options that don’t involve murder. That is precisely what the sidewalk ministry is all about – actually giving those women the choice of life, not just for their babies but for them as well. When a woman chooses to end the life that is growing inside of her, she will have to deal with that physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually for the rest of her life. That is why the statistics are staggering about suicide attempts, depression, and substance abuse for post-abortive women. Stopping abortion not only protects the next generation but this generation, and the pro-life sidewalk ministry is devoted to protecting all life. So the pro-life ministry focuses on ways to help these women so they do not make the destructive devastating choice of abortion by showing them other choices. If it is finances that are the issue, they will pay for whatever the need is. If it is medical care that is the issue, they will find that and pay for it too. If it is an abusive relationship, they have helped get women to safe shelters and out of those situations. If it is the burden of raising a child, they will find someone for adoption (and many of them on the sidewalk are ready and willing to adopt). But consider what those choices provide. Life. For both. Love. For both. What do the abortionists provide? Death. Destruction. Despair. Depression. Why is that the only choice they want to give to those women? And they dare to say they are for women’s rights?!?
Why do I think they are not allowing this choice to be given to women? Because I have witnessed firsthand how they silence the one voice of hope and help that is being offered to them. They have escorts (who are more accurately described as deathscorts) who are paid by the clinic to usher the women in from the parking lot. They hide these women under an umbrella to shield them from our signs. They blast a stereo at these women to shield them from our voices. Ironically, they sing children’s songs to drown out our pleas for the life of those children. They yell in our faces with video cameras if our toes touch their grass, crying out about trespassing, while they are gleefully escorting babies to their death. They are MURDERING children inside that building but are more concerned about trespassing. I have never seen such hatred toward life, or towards myself, as what I witnessed that day. I have never been flipped off so many times in my life, flipped off for trying to offer to pay for someone’s medical expenses – and even for just offering those people a free doughnut.
I have never seen firsthand the powerful hold that Satan has on those people’s hearts. One of them told me that she didn’t care about those babies because she doesn’t believe in God. But you know, even atheists know murder is wrong. Even atheists think killing innocent people is wrong. You don’t have to believe in God to see that. With believers, I do always go back to the Biblical passages about how God knits us together in the womb and how He knows us and called us from the womb. However, even if you don’t believe that, you can see what we know from science. We see when this little life has a heartbeat and has a nervous system – at 5-8 weeks after conception! We can see when this life forms toothbuds and fingernails. We can watch this little life suck its thumb in utero. We can see when this life moves and kicks. We can watch this life respond to external stimuli. We encourage mothers and fathers to talk to the baby and play soothing music to the baby because it can recognize their voices and be calmed by the sound. And yet, here are these people, dancing and laughing as they escort women into a building where they will be told this is their only option. And then they take money from these women to invade the sanctity of this womb and literally tear apart this little life, limb from limb.
On this particular day, I invited a dear friend to come along and join me on the sidewalk. I asked him if I could share his thoughts from this experience because he summarized it so well:
People, this is going on EVERYWHERE. And in many places the hatred and vitriol against the pro-life people is even worse than here. How have we continued to allow this to go on in our society? How are we still silent about confronting evil? How are we still debating whether this is wrong or not? This is not a battle against political parties or opposing opinions. This is not an intellectual debate. This is a spiritual battleground for the hearts of people. Where are you in this battle?
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Last week I had the privilege of participating in the pro-life sidewalk ministry outside an abortion clinic. Back in October, I had the opportunity to speak at a 40 Days of Life campaign and since then I have wanted to come out and see what the pro-life sidewalk ministry does on a daily basis to minister to the people at the clinic and in that community. Before I talk about the ministry though, I want to turn your attention to the clinic. It is quite misleading in its sign on the building: Women’s Center. As you drive by you may get the impression that it provides medical care for women, maybe even helping women who can’t afford medical care. To the passersby, it seems like a good thing to have in a lower-income community. However, on its website it clearly outlines exactly what it does. It mentions first and foremost that it provides “reproductive alternatives,” offering abortion services on women pregnant up to 21-weeks. 21 weeks!!! Here’s what your baby looks like at 21-weeks’ gestation. It has already formed every organ necessary for life so this week in the womb is spent growing eyebrows.
It is clear that providing abortions is the clinic’s primary purpose. It only in passing mentions “other services” it may provide, like contraceptive counseling, STD testing, and OBGYN services (is that a conflict of interest?). Don’t be fooled into thinking this clinic is there to help impoverished women get healthcare. It is there to relieve women of the burdensome child they are carrying in the womb. Although this is not a Planned Parenthood facility, the same ideology permeates through any abortion clinic. It parades itself around as a “choice” for women with inconvenient pregnancies yet the founding principles from Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was eugenics, the belief and practice that aims to eliminate certain groups of people. Sanger sought to sterilize and end reproduction for the “less desirable” people. Her disdain for blacks, minority groups, and the diseased and disabled led to the corporation of abortion to profit from the killing of the weakest and most vulnerable. That is why these clinics are strategically situated in lower-income communities among minority groups.
The statistics today highlight this fact. African-American women are five times more likely to choose abortion over white women. Abortion remains the leading cause of death for the black community. Though African-Americans represent only 13% of the population they represent 30% of aborted children. In fact in New York City, a black baby in the womb is more likely to be aborted than to be born. Sanger once said, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” If you want to find a truly racist organization that is still alive and thriving, look no further than Planned Parenthood. Sanger also stated about immigrants, “They are…human weeds, reckless breeders, spawning human beings who never should have been born. Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease…Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks [of people] that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.”[i]
In an interview in 1957 with journalist Mike Wallace, Sanger says that the greatest evil is a family that chooses to bring children into the world. She advocated for a system where every American family had to submit a request to the government to receive a “birth permit” before having children. She goes further by saying, “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically.” Did you catch that? She believes there are certain children that have “no chance to be a human being.” Yet there are people today who are fighting to keep these facilities open. They say those who are pro-life are the racists and bigots. But the pro-life people are the only ones wanting these children – children of any race or background or status or ability – to have the chance for life. How can that possibly be deemed racist? Dr. Alveda King commented herself on the racism of Planned Parenthood:
“The most obvious practitioner of racism in the United States today is Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by the eugenicist Margaret Sanger and recently documented as ready to accept money to eliminate black babies.”[ii]
Planned Parenthood may like to call themselves “pro-choice” but these clinics are not wanting the women to have a choice at all. Having a choice means you have data from all options. You are able to consider all the aspects, consequences, and benefits of option A. Then you are also able to consider all the aspects, consequences, and benefits of option B. At that point, you are then able to make a choice between A and B. But that is not what is going on at these clinics at all. These abortionists don’t want women to know all the aspects, consequences, or benefits of either option. They don’t tell these women that women who have abortions are 2.6 times more likely to commit suicide (teen girls are ten times more likely to commit suicide).[iii] Women are 81% more likely to have mental health issues after an abortion.[iv] They don’t tell these women that many post-abortive women are then unable to have children at a later time, or that they are more likely to suffer from depression or substance abuse.[v] They don’t tell these women where they can get prenatal help and services to give them the support they need through an unexpected pregnancy. So in reality, they aren’t really pro-choice at all, but pro-abortion. Because that is the only information given at these “clinics.”
My experience last week highlights this very issue. The pro-life ministry is not allowed to step foot on the abortuary’s property to speak directly with the women. The abortionists have their customers park in the back of the parking lot, as far away as they can possibly get from a voice from the sidewalk offering hope, help, and love. And they escort women into the building under a barrier of an umbrella so they don’t see messages of where to go and who to call for help and support. These abortionists want women to have only one choice, which then is not a choice at all. They want them to kill their baby so they can make money. One particular nurse at this clinic says that she chose to work at this abortuary because only there can she make enough money to buy her shiny new Mercedes parked out front – literally funding her greed with money from slaughtering innocent lives.
This lack of communication is what I found to be so frustrating! I wanted so desperately to walk up to each woman and tell them that there is hope. But that this decision leads only to death and despair – both for the child and for the mother – and for the father! I wanted to hug each woman and tell them that God loves them and their baby. I wanted to reassure them that this decision to have a baby that was unexpected or unplanned, and possibly even unwanted, will be difficult, but oftentimes doing the right thing IS difficult. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the right thing. I wanted her to know that there is a plethora of support for her to have this baby if she would only reach out for help instead of reaching out to a hand that will literally rip apart her baby in the womb – a baby that will FEEL every tear and rip. For the clearly post-abortive mom that came out, I wanted to hold her hand and say that God could and would forgive her of this – and every sin – if she would just come to Him. Only He can give her hope and healing from this, healing that she is going to need as she carries this darkness inside her for the rest of her life.
But I couldn’t do that.
Because the abortionists don’t want that message to be heard.
The pro-choice supporters don’t want that choice to be made.
Instead of encouraging life, they want to question if the pro-life movement is going to support that baby once it is born. And the response to that is absolutely! There are thousands of ways that women and their children can get help. There are eons of government programs, church ministries, fostering and adoption programs. This pro-life group in particular have opened up their own pocket books to pay for prenatal medical care, to stock nurseries, and to adopt. But I also heard a great analogy to this issue. Do we ask the same question of firemen? When they rush into a burning building, do we ask if they are willing to support the person they rescue for the rest of their life? Would a fireman refuse to save the life of a child if the child might end up in the foster care system? Do we ask the same question of the ER doctors? Are they only going to operate if the child will have a stable home life? No we don’t. We wouldn’t dream of having first responders only assisting the lives they think matter to be saved. We would stand appalled at a first responder who said they just didn’t save that person because, well, they might not have the best quality of life. No, they don’t do that at all. They save all lives. Why is that? Because somewhere we know that all life has value. All life matters – no matter how old or how young.
From my experience I got to see firsthand how sidewalk ministries are really conducted against how pro-choice and main stream media want you to think it’s conducted. Were we shouting? Yes, but only so we could be heard across a parking lot and over the street traffic. It was the same way that I would shout out to a friend about to step into oncoming traffic to warn them of the danger ahead, desperately hoping that they heard one last voice of warning before something tragic happens. Were we holding signs? Yes, but only so that the message of hope could be read since it most likely could not be heard. Were we shouting out judgment, hate, and vitriol? Absolutely not. We were telling them that God loves them - all of them, regardless of their color or status. We were telling them that there is a better option, that there are in fact many other choices besides this one. We were telling them that we can help. We are willing to pay for their prenatal care. We are willing to provide their needs for a nursery. We are willing to locate a family to adopt. But please come talk to us. And please, please, please allow your child a chance to live.
Many people question this approach, wondering how this could actually save lives. At this particular clinic alone there have been 19 confirmed babies saved here this year, and countless others who have turned around and changed their minds because of this sidewalk ministry. There is one couple who has been ministering on this sidewalk for many years now. They have more than 600 confirmed lives saved by their work there. How can you say that those lives don’t matter? How can you say that standing out there for a few hours isn’t worth it when you see this picture of Taylor Marie, a beautiful little girl, saved this year by a sidewalk ministry? How can you look at that picture and NOT want to help? The ministry on the sidewalk is the last voice of hope for the life of that child. They are the LAST defense for the defenseless as they are escorted off to their death. And before you think that it doesn’t happen that often, this particular clinic in a small city in the south committed 2,000 murders this past year alone.
2,000 lives lost in that small non-descript “women’s clinic.” 2,000 less students to be part of the graduating class of 2034. 2,000 less teachers, astronauts, doctors, ministers, salesmen, inventors, business owners, electricians, plumbers, maybe even the future President of the United States. We’ll never know.
But sadly, this ministry does not have enough volunteers to be on that sidewalk every minute the abortuary is open. That means there are several hours a week that a person could walk into that abortuary and not encounter a single person offering them a message of hope. They don’t see anyone fighting the last fight for the life of their child. How can that even be possible? Do you realize how many churches are on every corner in that city? If ONE person, just ONE person, from each church would step up and give one hour of their time to give love and support and hope to those women, what a difference that would make!! How can we not find ONE person per church willing to do that? How is it that it’s the same team of only a handful of people, people who refuse to ignore what is going on in their own backyard? A handful of people who will stay silent no more. A handful of people who want to save the life of every child, no matter their color, gender, status, or position. Where are you, Church? Where are you while these babies are slaughtered? Do you not hear their cry? Do you not think God is mourning the loss of these innocent lives?
So I want to leave you with a challenge. Where is the abortion clinic in your city? Are you aware of what is going on right in your own backyard? Be a part of this ministry in your city. If every believer would take just one hour a week to stand up for those women and those babies, what a difference it would make! So find the information for shelters and charities that provide care for women with an unplanned pregnancy, and share that information to women who are in a moment of desperation. More importantly, take the message of hope that is found in the love and forgiveness given through Jesus Christ. He is there to help them through a difficult pregnancy and through the tough decision of keeping or giving up for adoption a life. And only He can offer forgiveness for sins to give us the eternal hope that we all so desperately need.