You can offer help to women entering abortion clinics to save them and their children from the tragedy of abortion. Sidewalk counseling is a way that you can extend your Pregnant on Campus Initiative to reach out to the community.
- Choose a clinic, a date, and a time. Search online to find an abortion clinic in your area. You may want to drive by to check it out, some clinics are gated in a way that will prevent you from getting close, others have blocked off parking lots that the clients drive in to and enter through a back door, dramatically limiting your opportunity to interact with her. Find out the abortion hours for the clinic where you want to counsel. This information can be obtained by calling the clinic directly. Once you have that information choose the date that works best for your group.
- Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Have the facts you need. Sidewalk counseling is not easy, but your presence will save lives. Remember that this is not a protest; you are going to the clinic to offer assistance to women seeking abortions. Those gathered at the clinic to pray should do so quietly or silently. As the sidewalk counselor, use a positive conversational tone when speaking with the mother or accomplices. Know the key facts concerning fetal development and common abortion procedures. Familiarize yourself with relevant laws that may, for example, require you to remain a certain distance from the woman or the clinic. Be aware of what services your abortion clinic provides and, more importantly,the services available through the pro-life pregnancy center in the area.
- Bring literature with you to hand out. You can usually get it from the local pregnancy center. This literature should primarily focus on the help that is available to the woman in a crisis pregnancy. Your literature should also include pictures and facts about fetal development and the risks of abortion to the woman (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). You may have only a few moments to speak with the mother entering the clinic, but if you can get the literature into her hands she will have it to look at in the waiting room. (Do not hand out post-abortion literature unless you are sure that this woman has had an abortion.)
- At the clinic offer help with a loving and peaceful attitude. Monsignor Reilly of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants suggests approaching the women with a smile and these words “Good morning, Mom. God bless you. I know that if the women are coming here they have problems, and they are real, otherwise they would not be here. Take this Mom (place literature in her hands) I will be here praying for you, remember that you can always come back out.” If you are able to extend your interaction into a longer conversation get to know the woman. Listen to why she is seeking the abortion and how she feels about it. As the woman leaves the clinic, encourage her again to visit the pregnancy center. If she has not yet had an abortion, they can help her through the pregnancy, if she has, they can connect her to post-abortion healing ministries.
- Before leaving, pause for a special moment of prayer or silence for the mothers, fathers, children, and workers of the clinic. Remember that you did what you could to save lives and help women that day. Do not leave the clinic discouraged. You may not see the immediate effects of your words and prayers, but that does not mean that there were not any.
If your group is new to sidewalk counseling, contact our SFLA team! Your Regional Coordinator can offer a FREE sidewalk counseling training to make sure that you are fully prepared for what you will encounter at the clinic.