My last post was a review of Abby Johnson’s book Unplanned. There’s a reason I decided to do that review, besides just introducing you to a fabulous pro-life resource. The other reason is today’s post.
I actually have only been to one abortion clinic protest. I’ll say that right up front. I have wanted to go to them regularly ever since I started studying the abortion debate at the ripe old age of thirteen. The one protest I did attend was a Bound4Life prayer vigil, where I stood for one hour with other protestors, all lined up on the sidewalk beside an abortion clinic, praying, with the word “LIFE” written on red duct tape over our mouths. (I assure you, my attendance at such protests will rise drastically as soon as possible.)
What I’m about to say here then is, obviously, not taken from my own experience. Most of it is taken from the powerful experience of Abby Johnson—a Planned Parenthood director for eight years, turned pro-life advocate—and from other pro-life people, as well as current abortion advocates. I’m blogging about a subject I don’t have much first-hand experience on because I think it’s extremely important.
I posted about generalizing groups of people a few weeks ago. There is a reason that pro-lifers are often painted as reckless, harassing extremists (besides that opponents love to paint each other black). Because there really are reckless, harassing extremist pro-lifers.
Abortion clinics often have “escorts” that go out and walk clients into the clinic. They have these escorts because of the pro-life protestors that try to convince the woman to not go in.
Note those last seven words. “Convince the woman to not go in.” Ultimately, that’s what protestors outside abortion clinics are trying to do. In most, if not all, cases, the woman going in for the abortion is scared, hurt, and often alone. She may or may not be absolutely dedicated to getting the abortion, but she wants—or feels that she needs—to go in. Which do you think will convince her to stay out? Screaming people waving signs with pictures of aborted babies? That only encourages her to flee—inside, where it’s quiet and safe. Or will it be the peaceful, prayer for people, saying gently to her, “You don’t have to do this. We’re here to help. We can help you, for free. You don’t need to go through with this today.”
Are you going to convince her to stay out and talk to you when you’re screaming at her?
Of course, from what I’ve seen and read, pro-abortioners will label any type of protest as harassment. Just because they say its harassment doesn’t mean it is. Peaceful, gentle protests are effective.
"'Uh-oh. They got one,' my trainer said. 'I wish they'd leave these poor women alone. Do they have to harass them over such a personal decision?'...
"I watched as the pro-lifer handed our client some literature--she didn't look like she felt harassed to me. Clearly, she'd chosen to talk to the pro-lifer...If we are pro-choice, I thought, ...why do we feel we need to protect clients from conversatoiins about their choices?"
Strong, loud, violent opposition (abortionist shooters, I’m looking at you) only strengthens the other side. There’s nothing like opposition that solidifies the troops. (From Unplanned, after the murder of George Tiller, an infamous late-term abortionist: "Dr. Tiller's death...solidified our ause...rallied our sense of being the despised yet brave advocates for women's health and well being...")
Peaceful prayer and counseling, on the other hand, create quite a different feeling. (From Unplanned, about the 40 Days for Life campaign: "Forty days and forty nights--those are biblical proportions! That's a long time to be surrounded nonstop by a large group of people who disagree with you but are so persistently...well...nice about it. It created an atmosphere I couldn't quite articulate.")
I could go on with more quotes, but for sake of conciseness, I won’t.
Images found via Google Images. No copyright infringement intended.