Hopefully, with the help of our other articles on how to implement a prolife sidewalk counseling presence at an abortion center, you have begun to see women choose life. If not, hang in there. Just by showing up and speaking on behalf of the voiceless, you are being obedient to God’s call.
If you have the privilege of talking with a woman who chooses life, it is important to know how best to help her remain firm in that commitment. As in all things, ultimately the results for a transformed heart belong to God, but we can learn to optimize our efforts to that end…and should!
Below are seven critical steps I have found useful in follow-up when a mom leaves the abortion center.
1. Have her verbalize her decision.
Ask her, “Did you change your mind? Did you choose life?” Remember nothing in this woman’s situation has changed, and she is in a very vulnerable position for the immediate future. Some women choose life, only to turn back to abortion when they go home to the same circumstances that led them to the clinic in the first place! A verbal statement of what has just happened when they walked from death to life is an important first step.
2. Ask her what the struggles were that made her consider abortion
The immediate first need is to understand and defuse the power of her rationalizations to abort, however serious those issues might be. If possible, write down, in order of severity, each issue that brought her to the abortion center. Discuss each one so that you fully understand what the real issues are. I have often had a woman begin to list the issues, and then come to the amazing realization that there was really no good reason to abort that she could not overcome. However, sometimes, there are truly daunting issues and they should be met and discussed head-on.
3. Offer help, resources
In order of priority as determined by the woman, offer potential resources to help. It is always wise to have a ready resource guide. We discuss how to develop one in an earlier post. Always provide a contact and phone number to each resource. If she is completely overwhelmed, I do offer to help make calls, but since our goal is to empower her, it is always better for her to make the calls if possible.
4. Offer the Gospel
Once the resources have softened and eased their hearts that there is tangible help available, most women are willing to listen to offers of spiritual help. I often start that discussion with a statement something like this: “Now that you have made the incredible God-honoring choice to continue to nurture and carry your child to term, can I ask you what is the most important thing you can give that child?” Sometimes they will say, “Life”, or “Love.” I affirm these are great, but the most important eternally significant thing we can give our children is God and a saving faith. I tell them we cannot give what we don’t possess and then segue into the Gospel. If you are uncertain in how to effectively share the Gospel, we cover that in an earlier post.
5. Give specific, tangible times and things you will text to her in the next few hours.
The first few hours and days following a choice for life are so important! Text that evening with things that will remind her of the vision of the baby and the joy and blessing. Schedule an ultrasound, text her life-affirming verses, send her photos of babies the age of her baby in the womb. Use the word baby, mom, family and other words like these. These remind her of the humanity of the baby and the positive outcome of following God’s ways.
6. Call Immediately for issues of abuse, addictions, homelessness
If there is any suspicion or outright admission of an abusive situation, give her domestic abuse hotlines. If possible, have her call while in your presence. There may also be addictions. The same should be done with addiction hotlines. Maybe the woman is homeless. Helping her call shelters or maternity centers to be sure she is not on the streets that evening is also critical.
7. Follow up with linking her to local church/mentor/discipleship
We are blessed to have Lovelife Charlotte that provides churches/mentors willing to walk immediately alongside these women. If you don’t have Lovelife in your area, you can find in your own church or other local churches people who want to be a part of the prolife effort by discipling the women who choose life. I have a group blind copy email list I send out every day with an encouraging verse to every mom I meet who chooses life. It does not replace true intense discipleship, but it can be a lifeline in the interim before a church or mentor is available.
There are many things you can do to help secure a strong choice for life. These seven steps are the ones I have found to be most necessary in the first day or so following a decision for life. However, you may have other ideas that you have found helpful. We could love to hear about them in the comments section of this post!
Also, to all of you who have been blessed and encouraged by Sidewalks4Life, we are so grateful to be a part of your desire to serve God in this life-saving ministry. While all our materials and downloads are free, the ability to develop and offer these resources through Cities4Life Ministry requires time and money! If God is leading you to help support our efforts to provide nationwide development of effective sidewalk ministries, please consider a small donation to Cities4Life.