This past March a team of pro-life sidewalk counselors got great news! The late-term abortion facility where, for seven years, they stood on the sidewalk and offered help to pregnant women was finally shutting its doors. The prayers and peaceful presence of these tireless warriors made a difference. The news was especially gratifying, considering the number of abortions that occur every year in Broward County. In 2019 alone, the lives of 9,864 unborn children were tragically lost to abortion.
Broward Right to Life has had volunteers reaching out in front of this facility, the Fort Lauderdale Women’s Center on Oakland Park Blvd, since 2013. In 2016, Broward Right to Life board member Tom Walker began to help organize prayer vigils, 40 Days for Life outreaches and full-time sidewalk counseling. Since then, hundreds of volunteers have stood outside this place of death, praying and offering information, counsel and compassion to women facing an untimely pregnancy and considering abortion.
A life-changing decision
The need is urgent because every day in Broward some 27 pregnant moms have abortions. For each one, the baby in her womb is a precious gift from the Lord. But, sadly, within a few hours she will walk out childless. No longer pregnant, her world has changed, and her life will never be the same.
But often women are pressured, even coerced into abortion. The Broward Right to Life sidewalk counseling team witnessed a woman dragged in by her boyfriend — and has seen many women, weak from sedation and surgery, needing much assistance as they leave.
Some women show absolutely no care for their unborn child. While others have wept uncontrollably over their loss. But God has used faithful sidewalk counselors, led by Tom Walker and Patty Kelly, a retired nurse, to bring hope and help save many lives.
Since Walker began keeping records in 2016, over 100 babies have been saved from abortion at the now-closed Fort Lauderdale Women’s Center which committed thousands of abortions — some up to 24 weeks — during its more than two decades in operation. And because of pro-life interventions outside this abortion facility over 1,000 women left without having an abortion. Many said they had chosen life for their unborn child, while others were still contemplating the information they were given.
A birthday surprise
Some returned later to say they chose life. Ora was planning to end her pregnancy in June of 2016 when Tom and Patty encountered her outside the abortion facility. More than two years later, Ora returned, but this time Ora came with her little boy in her arms — and Tom was blessed to hold and pray over Stefan.
“We’ve seen many turned away through our presence and prayer, like this one placed in my arms by his mom on his second birthday,” said Walker. “We never knew until she showed up what God had done through our simple presence.”
The team labored faithfully, serving as sidewalk counselors six days a week since 2016. At one point, word came that the facility was closing and was even up for sale, but then it reopened again. Owner James Pendergraft was convicted on drug charges, forcing a transfer of ownership. Despite that, the facility remained open. But on March 26, 2020, the last abortion took place. Within weeks, the place was emptied and put up for sale. It was recently sold to new owners who plan to open a tax business.
But Walker is not stopping. There are still six abortion facilities left in Broward County. So far there is a regular pro-life presence at three of them. “We are actively ministering at three of the remaining six abortion facilities in Broward County and seeing considerable success.”
Help is needed, he adds. Are you interested in being a part of this life-saving outreach? If so, please contact Tom Walker at 954-304-3278 or email him at [email protected].