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.