Taking to the Streets for Life

Taking-to-the-Streets-for-LifeI have been involved for a number of years in post-abortion recovery ministry for men. That statement often elicits a double-take but clearly men are always involved in crisis pregnancies and usually involved in abortion decisions as well. As a post-abortive man, I have been able to help many other men come to terms with the gravity of their responsibility and find the healing and forgiveness available only through the Lord Jesus. In the process I have learned much about the motivations and self-deceptions of men facing crisis pregnancies. Through 40 Days for Life, I am using these lessons today in an effort to spare both men and women the lifetime of regret which is the aftermath of abortion for people of conscience.

What is 40 Days for Life?
Forty Days for Life is an intensive vigil bringing intercessory prayer, public awareness and street counseling to bear on selected abortion clinics around the world. The spring campaign runs from February 18-March 29. In our area Broward Right to Life has brought this program to bear on Fort Lauderdale Abortion Clinic, part of a small chain of abortion centers responsible for thousands of abortions each year. We have organized a diverse group of pro-life Christians from many denominations and many different backgrounds. Personalities and styles are equally varied, and I have learned to appreciate them all, for the patients of abortion clinics are equally varied. Some respond to a simple invitation to prayer, others to medical or biblical information, and still others only to confrontation. We trust God to have the right volunteers in place for the right clients and to show us the right approach for each one.

The attitudes of the visitors to the abortion clinic are equally varied, ranging from the hostile to the blasé. The hardest to reach are those who come strictly to make sure that “the problem” is eliminated. Some have a professional interest in returning prostitutes to the street. Others just want to avoid financial liability. This is the group from which I have experienced the most hostility and even threats. Our presence is a threat to their plans. We bring the word of life to all of them leaving the results to God.

I stood in those shoes
The totally self-interested clients are fortunately in the minority. In general you have desperate women accompanied by people who care for them, and that presents a host of opportunities for intervention. Many are pre-disposed to see street counselors as hostile or even threatening, so they are disarmed when we greet them and offer prayer. The men who come are equally disarmed when I tell them that I stood in their shoes thirty years ago and can tell them where this road leads.

My personal work in street counseling at the clinic has produced wildly varied results over the years from threats to tears. Many I speak with feel they have no options. Women have been convinced that there is no help available. Family and friends push them toward abortion, often in a misguided effort to help. Male partners often feel that leaving it “up to the woman” is the enlightened thing to do. They rightly perceive the woman’s legal rights, but wrongly believe they are without influence and without moral culpability. The fact is that the assertive support of a partner will often change a woman’s mind about keeping her baby. So whenever possible I address the male. I remind men that in the Garden of Eden God held Adam accountable. I challenge them to do whatever they can do to prevent an abortion decision and send them into the clinic armed with brochures and information. I share with them the physical, mental, and spiritual risks from which they should be protecting their friend or lover or daughter.

Supportive friends
I use a very similar approach with female companions. I commend them for standing with their friend or sister or daughter. I acknowledge that they are there to help, but challenge them with the risks. Some have entered the clinic and brought their friends out. When they leave, we often don’t know whether it’s temporary or permanent, but we refer them to alternative (Christian) sources of information, and we bathe them in prayer before, during and after our encounter.

The pregnant woman at the clinic is a more complex situation than the companion. Our challenge is to make her understand that we are there for her not just for the baby. We bring her the message that while it IS her decision, there are risks she must understand and there is help and support for a decision for life. We always open with offers of prayer and conversation. And sometimes we are the most sympathetic ear she has encountered. At the end of the day, we must rely entirely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in the approach, the tone and the message. God places the right people in the right place at the right time. Ours is to listen and obey.

If you would like to join us in speaking up for those who have no voice, call Broward County Right to Life at 954-563-LIFE or go to www.40DaysforLife.com/fortlauderdale.

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