Perceive the Calling
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV
You can no longer deny. It is time to do what you know God has been calling you to do for years. Today you will step onto the sidewalk in front of an abortion center for the first time. If you are like me, you will be more than a little intimidated.
Find Abortion Centers in your Area
First step is find abortion centers near you. You might be shocked to find one fifteen minutes from your church. You can google “abortion centers in my area”. On our Sidewalks4Life site, we have a drop down menu called Join the Community that can direct you to abortion centers with a Christian outreach. It might be easiest to find a center with a group already ministering on the sidewalk for your first visit to an abortion center.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”
Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV
Right after I scheduled my first trip to the abortion center sidewalk, I came down with a nasty cold. I felt awful. I was so grateful! It gave me the opportunity I was desperately seeking to weasel my way out of going. My kid decided that was a good week to stage a major rebellion. The dog puked in the sunroom. All GREAT excuses.
Because I was not spiritually dead, God reminded me that the way to fight Satan’s attacks is to resist him. I reread Ephesians 6 about the spiritual armor of God. The cold was mostly gone by my volunteer day and with deep distress, I struggled step by step to get in my car and plug the directions to the abortion center into GPS.
Emotional Barrage- Mostly Fear
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
Matthew 15:18-19 ESV
My first time driving to the abortion center, I felt terror. I was literally shaking. I knew I had no idea what to say or do. Even knowing there would be experienced people there to observe and guide me, I could hardly breathe with the fright. The closer I got, the more frightened I grew. I almost called the team leader to tell her I was sick and unable to come. My cold was mostly gone…but still…it would not be a lie. I WAS sick…Sickened with the prospect of what awaited me.
When I turned onto the abortion center street, I felt an evil so thick, so palpable, I was surprised my car could propel through it. That malevolent spirit increased as I drew closer. I found it difficult to swallow as I stepped out of my car. I listened to our instructor, but my eyes were glued on the parking lot of the abortion center. As cars streamed in, I felt a lump in my throat growing. When women began lining up at the locked front door…five, then ten, and then fifteen…I fought threatening tears.
The Reality of the Horror of Abortion Becomes Real
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,”
Proverbs 6:16-18 ESV
The line of abortion-determined women reminded me of a verse: feet that make haste to run to evil. The women had mixed responses. Some were laughing and acting like this was lining up for a sale on new shoes. Others looked angrily at us. Some looked down, clearly swiping away tears. Some were in couples with men who glared at us. Their arms sometimes circled the woman’s shoulder, almost as though they were ready to herd them in the moment the door opened. Some hung back, behind the woman. The group was predominately African American.
Amazing Volunteers Offering Spiritual and Tangible Help
“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”
Jeremiah 22:3 ESV
The sidewalk counselors called out to the women. I barely noticed what they said. My mind was trying to wrap around the fact that each woman in that ever growing line represented a baby who was going to die soon. The doors opened. As the women filed in, the counselors around me called out variations on three main themes.
“Your baby is loved by God and made in His image!”
“Your baby has a beating heart as early as 18-21 days!”
“We have help for you!”
The Abortion Determined Women and Their Response to Offers of Help
“But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.”
Isaiah 63:10 ESV
Some of the women shouted back.
“God says you should not judge!”
“It’s not a baby and it’s none of your business! My body my choice!”
“What about rape? You are making us feel bad about an already hard choice.”
Some of the women were silent. Most appeared to ignore us.
The Pro-Abortion Escorts
“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
There were groups of women wearing vests who opened rainbow umbrellas. I heard music blasting from little speakers inside the umbrella. They talked to the women. I later learned those were “clinic escorts” who volunteered to shield the women from hearing or seeing us. So much for choice!
The Pro-Abortion “Clinic Defenders” at the Driveway
“Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
Proverbs 25:26 ESV
As cars pulled into the driveway, some of the counselors waved and called out, “Please stop for information. We can help you!” Nearly all the cars kept going, barely slowing as they screeched into the parking lot. There were a group of women with pink signs that said “Clinic parking” and they waved the cars on into the lot, shouting, “Don’t stop! Don’t stop!” Sometimes they screamed at the counselors, “Get out of the driveway!” They peppered their sentences frequently with choice cuss words.
Occasionally, a car would stop. The driver rolled down her window and extended a hand to take the pamphlet. The counselor quickly told her that just across the street was an RV with a mobile ultrasound unit on it.
“We can show you your baby’s beating heart,” the counselor said, “If you missed a period, the baby’s heart is beating. We have a lot of help for you.”
Abortion Center Security Workers
“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers, who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows,”
Psalm 64:1-3 ESV
Most of the time, the driver nodded, said, “Thank you,” and then drove into the parking lot. During those stops, the clinic driveway volunteers became very angry and insisted the driver keep going. Eventually, if the stop was more than a brief couple of seconds, a woman dressed in black with the word SECURITY across her back stepped up to the car. She told the driver she could not block the driveway. She blasted a litany of colorful insults and profanity at the counselor who had stepped up to talk with the driver while handing her literature.
The Progression of Spiritual Battle
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
James 4:6-7 ESV
The morning stretched on with cars mostly arriving in the first half hour but then dribbling in over the next couple of hours. Each time a woman stepped out of the clinic, or out of her car, the counselors called out to her. They continued to speak about God, human development and the humanity of the baby, and resources. I would learn that those were the three main areas this ministry focused on when trying to engage the women.
I was informed that the abortionist would not arrive until almost noon. The women were given a pregnancy test, ultrasound, and then ushered to a back room where they would wait for the abortionist for the next couple of hours. The counselors around me assured me that hope was not lost when a woman entered the clinic. There was still time for her to change her mind.
Varying Tools Counselors Use to Reach the Women
“On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.”
Psalm 138:3, 7 ESV
One of the counselors began to speak over a microphone/speaker system set up near the driveway. I honestly could not believe anyone had the courage to do that. She shared a good bit of Biblical support for the sanctity of life, as well as warning to those who disregard God’s clear command to protect innocent human life. She offered help and resources, beginning with the free ultrasound on the RV.
Some counselors used small megaphones to call out to the women. Some held small plastic fetal models which they showed the women who approached or stopped their cars to talk with them. Some held signs with photos of abortion victims. Others held signs with photos of babies saved from abortion. Some held signs with scripture or offers of help.
Glimmers of Hopeful Fruit and Responses
“no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.””
Isaiah 54:17 ESV
The clinic door opened and a woman peeked out. I was dumbfounded when she began walking straight to the counselor on the microphone. The counselor turned off the microphone and went to the edge of the clinic property to greet her.
“What kind of help do you have?”the woman asked.
The counselor began listing resources, including a baby shower that provided two years of baby clothes and supplies. I gasped. Had I heard that correctly? Another counselor told me that was one of many resources they offered.
She told the woman she would love to take her on our RV where a mobile ultrasound could show her the baby’s beating heart. A nurse and counselor would accompany her to share the help we could offer.
The Lies and Tactics of the Pro-Abortion Group
“If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.”
Isaiah 54:15 ESV
The clinic volunteers were shouting and telling the woman that we lied, that it was a fake RV, and that she should not listen to us. She had the right to “choose.” The woman ignored them. I was shocked when she followed the counselor to the RV. The smiling counselor opened the door and they disappeared inside.
A few more cars stopped. Some took the pamphlets. Some laughed and flashed their middle finger.
Then I heard one of the counselors say, “There’s Virmani.”
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
The abortionist had arrived. My heart sank. I knew that now the killing would begin. As he emerged from his car, the counselors called out, pleading with him to repent and turn from this slaughter of innocent children. Even now, God longed to restore and redeem him.
He responded angrily, “I am the God of this place.” The counselor nearest me told me about his record. He had lost his medical license multiple times, once to sexual misconduct with a patient. I was told most abortionists had a list of less than stellar medical resumes. Very few had admitting privileges to area hospitals.
The Post-Abortion Flood
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
1 John 3:8 ESV
Within a few minutes, a wave of women exited the building. They had sheets of paper in their hands. They hurried to their cars, most ignoring us. A volunteer told me that this first wave of women had taken the pill. As they hurried to their cars, the counselors called out, “Abortionpillreversal.com! You can reverse the effects of the abortion pill! It is not too late! God is giving you a second chance!”
The women drove out of the parking lot, glancing at us, but mostly zooming past us without stopping. One did stop, roll down her window, and reach for the post-abortive pamphlet the counselor handed her. She looked sad. Some women driving out were crying. Some hid their faces under blankets. Some laughed and screamed obscenities at us.
The counselors told me that there would be a lull, and in another half hour or so, another group of women would emerge. They would be mostly women who had the surgical abortion. We would not offer abortion pill reversal to them. Their babies were beyond help, dismembered and suctioned away in a surgical abortion.
God’s Miracles Sometimes Visible – the Reward
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
James 4:7-8 ESV
It was now almost three hours since I had arrived. It was time to head home. Just as the counselors were packing up to head out, the woman on the RV emerged. She had a blue bag dangling on her arm. The counselor nearest to me told me that was a “blessing bag” which indicated the woman had chosen life.
A baby was saved.
Debriefing With the Lord
“Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
James 4:9-10 ESV
I got in my car and started to drive home. After making it about a quarter mile down the street, the tears began. And soon, a deluge followed. A cataclysmic flood of gulping sobs. I was blinded. I pulled over to the side of the road, laid my head on the steering wheel and cried inconsolably for an hour.
That ended my first day at the abortion center.
It had been one of the most wrenching things I had ever done. But seeing a baby saved—a baby who would be dead now if we weren’t there…that sealed it for me. I would return.
Over the seven years I have been a sidewalk counselor, there are sometimes days when there is no visible fruit. However, I have learned to glorify God in the victories and in the apparent defeats. His command to speak for the voiceless is not accompanied by a caveat that we do so only if we see women choose life. We are called as the instruments God uses to speak truth and shed light on the darkness of abortion, no matter what.
Honestly, I cannot wait to return each day. What miracles will God perform, even in how He equips me to speak when I am certain I have no ability or skill to do so? I have never grown so much in the Lord as on the sidewalk of an abortion center. And I have seen countless babies saved. Instead of crying at the end of each day now, I often find myself praising God instead for the privilege of doing this work.