God always equips those He calls. We can count on the Holy Spirit guiding and helping us when we step out in faith and obedience to God. Nonetheless, the parable of the bridesmaids preparing for their wedding reminds us of the need to be prepared as much as possible.
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps[a] and went to meet the bridegroom.[b] 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25: 1-15
Sidewalk ministry is, in essence, the biblical mandate to speak for those who cannot speak and proclaim the truth that taking innocent life in an abortion is flat out wrong. We should be armed with information that can winsomely accompany this basic truth to convince women to save their babies. In the years we have ministered at the busy abortion centers in Charlotte, we have learned that the more prepared we are with information about God, resources and the humanity/development of the baby, the more likely we are to reach more women in a way that can sway their choice.
Know the facts about abortion
While many “pro-choice” advocates claim women have researched and know basic facts about abortion, this has not been our experience. When we ask if they know what happens in an abortion, most people are ignorant. Describing in detail the brutal facts of what the abortionist does, what happens to the woman, and what happens to the baby is shocking. There are videos available on YouTube that show what happens in an abortion and have convinced people it is barbaric and should never happen to any human being. The movie Unplanned graphically depicted both a pill and surgical abortion. Those two brief scenes caused a surge in volunteers on our sidewalks. When the actual truth of abortion procedures is explained, most people are appalled.
What Happens in a Pill Abortion?
The medical abortion is a two day/two pill procedure. The first pill (mifepristone) blocks the hormone progesterone which is what sustains the health of the placenta/uterine lining to provide nutrition and oxygen to the developing baby. Some people feel nauseous or start bleeding after taking mifepristone, but it’s not common.
The second medicine, misoprostol, is taken up to 48 hours after the first pill. In essence, this pill causes the woman to go into labor. Cramping and bleeding usually starts 1-4 hours later and it is common to see large blood clots (up to the size of a lemon) or clumps of tissue when this is happening. Some women will see the baby when they pass it. Many find this very disturbing.
What happens in a Surgical Abortion?
Aspiration abortions, also called vacuum aspirations, are the most common type of surgical abortion. The abortionist first injects a numbing medication into the cervix. Then he will insert a speculum to examine the uterus, stretch open the cervix with dilators and insert a tube through the cervix into the uterus, which is attached to a suction device. This forceful suction can rip the living baby apart. It then sucks out all the tissue and baby parts. It can be very painful for the woman and usually there will be cramping. The entire procedure takes approximately five to 10 minutes.
A Dilation and Evacuation (D and E) abortion is typically used after the 15th week of pregnancy. The procedure takes between 10 and 20 minutes, with more time potentially being needed for dilation. As in the suction abortion, the abortionist injects pain medication, checks the uterus, and dilates the cervix. Most of these procedures are NOT ultrasound-guided (though some are) and the abortionist will use a variety of sharp tools to cut apart and wrench off the limbs of the living child. If the child is large, the abortionist will crush the skull to remove it from the uterus.
Then he scrapes the uterus and suctions any remaining parts. The parts need to be collected and examined to see that all parts of the dismembered baby are out of the woman or dangerous infection can occur.
Know the Facts about Fetal Development
Most abortions occur in the first trimester so knowing key facts of fetal development, especially from 0-12 weeks is critical. Again, few women know these important milestones. If they admit to themselves the miraculous development of a baby as early as 5 weeks after conception, it becomes very difficult to maintain the lie that the baby is not a baby, not human, not worthy of her protection.
The key milestones we often mention are: beating heart as early as 17 days after conception, brain waves detectable 6 weeks from conception, every organ in place at 8 weeks, ten fingers and ten toes with unique fingerprints by 9 weeks. The more you convey about the development of the unborn, the more amazing the miracle of life becomes to the mother.
A great free App for phones is SEE BABY. This is not a prolife app, but a secular science-based informational series of videos and facts regarding the developing baby from 0-40 weeks. I often use it to dispel the lie that the baby in the womb is a blob of cells.
Have Key Bible Verses Accessible or Memorized
There are countless bible verses that support the sanctity of unborn human life. If you can have a few verses at the ready, it is invaluable in counseling abortion-minded moms. Some of my favorites are listed below:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?
As our last podcast mentioned, the same word is used for the baby in the womb and outside the womb in the New Testament. That word in the original Greek is brephos. God sent Jesus to earth as an unborn baby, another indication of His value placed on the unborn. Knowing these truths and a few key verses to share with the women are critical in preparing to minister in front of abortion centers.
Have Information about Abortion Clinics and Providers
It is not surprising that many abortionists have less than stellar medical backgrounds. Two of the abortionists at the busiest abortion center in the Southeast in Charlotte do not have admitting privileges to area hospitals. Both have had their licenses revoked for periods of time as they underwent counseling or treatment: one for sexual misconduct and the other for drug use.
It is important to find out whatever you can about abortion providers before you minister on the sidewalk. Sometimes you can find invaluable information just by reading reviews from patients on the center website or Facebook page. Websites such as abortiondocs.com is very useful in uncovering the records of abortionists across the nation.
Abby Johnson’s group provides help finding information about abortion clinics as well. The website, https://checkmyclinic.org , shows state abortion laws, clinic information and infractions, as well as abortionist infractions. It is a very easy useful tool to access and to show people entering those clinics.
Be Familiar with Local Resources
Our three talking points (God, Humanity of the baby, Resources) are the framework for counseling all abortion-minded women. All three are effective, and we attempt to include all three in every encounter we have with the women. We can use all three in short fifteen-second encounters. For longer conversations, we still focus on those three key areas but expand them.
Most of the women report that the single most important word they hear is “Help.” We may not agree with their reasons for abortion, and we of course NEVER agree abortion is a valid choice. However, if we can be armed with a list of community/church resources in their area, we can often gain their trust to at least talk with us further. They need and want help.
It is very easy to use Google or other internet search engines to find these resources using keywords. For example, nearly all communities have some type of pregnancy resource center (PRC). These centers usually provide free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and offer programs and supplies for unplanned pregnancies. They usually have already compiled a list of useful community resources. Developing a good relationship with local PRC’s is important!
Housing is often a major issue for abortion-minded mothers. Therefore, compiling a list of local maternity homes is helpful. Calling those homes and finding out the requirements for accepting women is good to do prior to encountering a mom with a housing crisis. Some maternity homes will accept other children than the unborn, but most will not. Some have age restrictions. It is important to know the parameters of local maternity centers in advance so you can quickly address that issue should it arise.
Secular and government housing programs are usually available. Having a single list compiled of such resources can help the mom in crisis who may feel too frantic to organize such a list on her own. Additionally, churches willing to help moms with resources are powerful proof of the call of God to protect and provide for the vulnerable and marginalized among us. Many are eager to help but may not know how they can do so most effectively.
Childcare is a major issue for many abortion-minded women. Many churches provide childcare. Some that we have called are willing to offer scholarships for childcare or reduced cost to the moms we work with. We have a volunteer we have asked to search for those resources.
Love Life has a wonderful program equipping churches to be such “houses of refuge,” as well as training mentors and sidewalk counselors. If your church is not involved in this national group dedicated to ending abortion through the activation of the local church, we encourage you to urge them to do so!
In summary, the Holy Spirit certainly guides and equips those He calls to serve as sidewalk missionaries. The spiritual warfare is intense, tensions are high, and the anxiety level and fear of the women entering the center is overwhelming. We need to be everything they are NOT. That means, we should be confident and calm that we have the answer. Ultimately and simply, the answer is JESUS, of course; but on an immediate more tangible level, being prepared to offer information, truth and resources is crucial.