Every Friday morning, we have a group of S4U sidewalk counselors that come out to Louisville’s abortion clinic and do our best to share the hope of Christ with those scheduled to be devastated by the sin of abortion. Most of our volunteers have to leave straight for work afterwards so we are not able to stay and pray together or share our experiences. Instead, I send out a weekly email to our group with a brief summary of the morning’s events and some encouragement to keep our focus on the Lord and His truth in the midst of these tough situations.
We’d like to start sharing these messages on the blog to give you a better idea of how our mornings typically go. I hope they motivate you to think through your own stance on these weekly tragedies and even challenge you to actively join us in prayer for the needs we encounter.
Today I had one of those conversations I’m sure to remember for the rest of my life. A young father on his way out of the clinic actually stopped and had an extended conversation with me. I said all the same things I always say, and he replied with all the same responses they always give, but what I will remember was his hesitation. Every excuse he gave, the Bible had a reply. Every reason to he had to walk away, God had provided a reason to stay. We went back and forth cautiously and in between each new thought he’d stand, look off in the distance, and truly think through his next move. I will never forget his anguished eyes that even welled up as he gave in an made his final choice to leave. Oh how sin plagues our blind and burdened neighbors! And what inward turmoil this young man was so obviously tortured by. I don’t think I have ever hated sin and Satan more tangibly than I did after seeing their affects on my pitiable new friend.
Please pray with me that God uses this father’s apparent conviction to turn his heart to Christ. I would not be surprised to hear if he had come back and brought his girlfriend out of the clinic, he was so on the fence. May we continue to show up for men and women like him who so desperately need hope and forgiveness.
We had 18 go in today. 1 went into both AWC and EMW but came quickly out of both. Pray she has had a change of heart and will not come back to EMW!
They hold bloody signs, chase down women as they are walking into the abortion clinic, and yell in their faces that they are murderers… Well, that’s at least what everybody thinks we do. And to be honest, it’s what I thought too before I got involved with this very difficult and very misunderstood ministry.
A few weeks ago, this stereotype had a short surge of support with the news that a federal lawsuit had been filed against “Louisville Abortion Protestor” David Hamilton. According to the Courier Journal, the suit claimed David “used force against an escort as she was taking a woman inside the center. Hamilton also attempted to injure, intimidate and interfere with others trying to get inside the clinic.” Reports like this seem to confirm that sidewalk counselors are nothing more than pro-life bullies out to harm anyone with an opposing view and an unwanted pregnancy.
Let me assure you, there is nothing farther from the truth.
I was actually inspired to join the sidewalk counseling ministry in Louisville, Kentucky, through none other than the accused radical, David Hamilton who I knew through my church. I heard that David was going out to the nearby abortion clinic every week and since he didn’t strike me as the angry yelling sort, I asked him what he was trying to accomplish out there.
David told me he was partnering with another local church, Immanuel Baptist Church, and their “Speak for the Unborn” (S4U) ministry. According to the S4U website, this ministry was created with the goal to “make abortion impossible in Louisville, KY, through the means of sidewalk counseling and prayer.” David explained that every week “sidewalk counselors” walk with those entering the abortion clinic and share evidence from both Scripture and the fetal development process that the unborn are actually human beings created by God and deserving of life.
They also encourage women to visit the nearby pregnancy center, A Woman’s Choice Resource Center (AWC), as an alternative to aborting their babies. At AWC, women can walk-in and receive counseling regarding their specific situations. AWC is a non-profit special health clinic equipped to provide pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, maternity/infant supplies and referrals for medical assistance, financial aid, adoption resources, etc. – all donated in order to help mothers going through crisis pregnancies. David assured me that sidewalk counselors were not out there as protestors, but as Christians concerned for the well-being of all involved – mothers and babies.
This concern for those affected by abortion is what drew me to the S4U ministry, and the very first week I joined I saw how true David’s explanation had been. The S4U volunteers are people who attend with one goal: to offer hope and help to women intending to have abortions. The wild card in this ministry is of course, that most of the people we encounter disagree with our stance that every life is precious and are offended by our efforts to change their minds about abortion. Add to that the fact that there are volunteers for the abortion clinic who come specifically to shield mothers from our conversations, and you can imagine how tense the environment can get.
Clinic escorts and sidewalk counselors conversely vie for the attention of clients while walking a short distance down a narrow sidewalk leading to the clinic. Understandably, it is not the ideal environment to hold a sensitive conversation, especially in front of an audience of opposition. Nonetheless, we seek to conscientiously engage in this atmosphere because we truly believe we have the opportunity to help save the life of a baby. And beyond that, we know that this ministry is effective, because we have seen it work. Already this year, we have confirmed 3 instances of women coming out of the abortion clinic having decided to keep their babies. We know the sidewalks are a last resort, but surely we should show up if it’s worth the chance to help save a life and spare a mother a lifetime of regret.
The accusations that David tried to “injure or intimidate” anyone is completely unfounded and goes against all he was seeking to accomplish on the sidewalks. His original case was dismissed and the new federal suit is grossly lacking in evidence and substance. We are confident that if he is investigated, his outstanding character and compassionate reputation will be a credit to his innocence. Further, it is stated on S4U’s website that sidewalk counselors, “in no way support illegal activities, unkind words or tone, threats, unwanted physical contact, or anything of the sort.” David and all sidewalk counselors are careful to abide by these principles. It would be completely counter-productive to our ministry to be intimidating those we most long to help, and would discredit the grace and compassion we show up to represent.
I can’t vouch for every sidewalk counselor in our nation, but I can say that in Louisville, the Speak for the Unborn ministry is committed to engaging with women in a non-violent manner that is loving, kind, and respectful. I have consistently observed a motive of love in the sidewalk counselors I serve with and have wholeheartedly joined in with this lot. We may be misunderstood and misrepresented, but our confident convictions will keep us coming back day after day. We are motivated by the hope that women will hear our message and cherish the miracle of life over the devastation of abortion. We share these thoughts through our freedoms of speech and through godly and legal means. That is what sidewalk counselors do.
If you’d like to learn more about what sidewalk counselors do, please feel free to look through our website for more information.
A new bill is making its rounds in Kentucky proposing a law which would require women be offered the option to see their baby’s ultrasound and have its development explained prior to undergoing abortive procedures. See below for more details from Kentucky Right to Life:
SB9 – Ultrasound Informed Consent – will be heard in the Senate Standing Committee on Military Affairs, Veterans, and Public Safety on January 6th and is expected to pass with bipartisan support.
Hopefully it will receive its final reading and pass on the Senate floor on Friday, then head to the House, where it has died in previous years.
During the next three weeks please work to generate phone calls into your House Representative and ask him or her to urge House Leadership to support the Ultrasound Informed Consent bill. When you call the Legislative Message line at 800-372-7181 the operator will identify your House Rep within a few seconds.
We must be the clear and strong voice for the unborn. Their lives depend on it!
Kentucky Right to Life Association
The bill did pass in the Kentucky Senate (http://bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com/2011/01/06/gop-agenda-moving-through-state-senate-in-whirlwind-fashion/) so let’s pray the Lord causes it to pass in the upcoming House vote.
Three states currently have similar laws (http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_RFU.pdf) – pray that Kentucky joins them soon!
Here is the link to the bill http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/11RS/sb9.htm as well as the site where you can look up your Kentucky Representative http://www.lrc.ky.gov/house/hsemembers.htm. Join us in calling our law makers and praying the Lord causes this bill to pass!
We at Speak for the Unborn are extremely excited to begin this public discussion surrounding the issue of abortion which has so deeply burdened our hearts and motivated our ministry. Until now, our only opportunity to speak out has been on the sidewalks outside the abortion clinic in downtown Louisville. Our primary audience has been the mothers and fathers of the unborn alongside any other persons who have showed up in protest or support of the act at hand. Now through this blog, it is our sincere hope that our message will reach a broader audience encouraging critical thought as well as interaction from all perspectives. Our objective is to consistently express our Gospel-centered view on abortion, discuss the current happenings of this ministry, and encourage our readers to speak with us on behalf of the unborn. We welcome your participation in this blog as we long to respond to genuine reactions from varying viewpoints – keeping in mind that we will direct our replies to genuine discussions rather than petty quarrels.
Going forward, we are intent on providing you with both insight and encouragement regarding this issue – one of the most devastating tragedies of our time. Don’t be idle about abortion any more – join us in following Christ and valuing every life He has created!
Let the blogging begin!