Are you voting PRO-LIFE FIRST in the midterms?

Dear Friend of Life:

Knowing that we’ve lost over 60 million children to abortion since 1973, we’re sure we can agree that there’s no more important cause than defending LIFE.

As we approach the midterm elections, we want political candidates to know how serious we are in our commitment to the cause and that we will choose to support the most viable, pro-life candidate possible EVERY TIME we enter the voting booth.

Take the “Vote Pro-Life Pledge”  it takes just ONE MINUTE to sign!  (This petition will be delivered to all candidates running for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state gubernatorial races on Friday.)

SIGN HERE: http://voteprolifepledge.com/
***NOTE: We do not tolerate spam, and your info will be held in the highest confidence and delivered in a professional medium to candidates running for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state gubernatorial races.

Please help us spread the word by forwarding this email to all your pro-life family, friends, and neighbors!

Questions?  Drop us a line back!

THANK YOU!

Blessings in Christ,

Lauren Muzyka
Executive Director
Sidewalk Advocates for Life

info@sidewalkadvocates.org
sidewalkadvocates.org

Thomas More Society, committed attorney mark 20 years

By Adrianna Pitrelli Law Bulletin staff writer

Quit the firm or quit the case.

That’s what Thomas Brejcha was told after his firm decided it could no longer bear the huge financial burden of a case Brejcha had been litigating for nearly a decade.

Brejcha didn’t think twice. He walked away from the firm to, in his words, “continue defending the rights of pro-lifers” by starting his own organization. Twenty years later, that organization — The Thomas More Society — is still going strong with more than a dozen attorneys and a present caseload of nearly 90 cases.

Andrew M. Bath, executive vice president and general counsel for the Thomas More Society, said there’s plenty of achievements to commemorate.

“We want to celebrate a visionary man, Tom Brejcha, who was audacious enough that he thought he could take on a goliath-sized opponent himself and survive a case that lasted more than 20 years and went to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals four times and went to the Supreme Court three times.”

The past

In 1986, Joe Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League found themselves in court after the National Organization for Women sued them, alleging they were using violence or threats of violence by blocking the entrance to abortion-conducting facilities.

The suit came because Scheidler was one of many anti-abortion advocates who went to clinics to talk women out of getting abortions and persuade doctors and medical staff to quit that practice.

Initially, the charge against the abortion opponents was that they were “conspiring in restraint of interest commerce” by trying to talk women out of abortions and suppressing clinics, in violation of federal antitrust laws. But those charges soon grew when Scheidler was accused of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — a statute that intended to prosecute members of the Mafia.

When the allegations expanded, that’s when Scheidler said he knew he needed help, and when he was introduced to Brejcha.

“When we first met, I asked him what he thought about the case, and he said, ‘I can win it,’” Scheidler said of Brejcha. “That impressed me. The way he confidently told me, ‘I win cases.’”

Because of Brejcha’s experience in several U.S. Supreme Court appeals in business cases, he became lead counsel on the suit. He did not know at the time he would be committing to a case that would last more than 25 years.

Ten years in, Brejcha’s firm decided it didn’t want him to continue to handle the case pro bono.

Brejcha quit the firm and set up a nonprofit, organization to gather donations from people throughout the country to support the efforts to defend abortion opponents in court.

The Thomas More Society was born.

“That’s how we got started — by force of necessity and sheer economics,” Brejcha said.

But working on his own wasn’t easy.

“Tom then was in an abandoned building, where we had to get him a heater in the winter and air conditioning in the summer,” Scheidler said. “He spent a year or two in very dire conditions, but he built up a lot of other cases because people saw how good he was.”

The case, NOW v. Scheidler, made its way before the Supreme Court three times — and Scheidler won the final two appeals in 2003 and 2006, which he credits to Brejcha’s commitment.

The initial case revolving around RICO charges was decided against Scheidler in 1994.

“Without Tom’s determination and without going back to the court and staying with us for 27 years and quitting his job to go for the pro bono work, I don’t know what would have happened,” Scheidler said. “I consider him a hero. I just think the world of Tom.”

Scheidler said winning the final case changed and expanded anti-abortion initiatives throughout the country.

While defending Scheidler, the society also provided assistance to a number of other religious conservative causes, including helping draft a bill in Iowa that imposes a three-day waiting period for abortions and advocating for organizations that faced resistance to public Nativity scenes.

The present

As the group celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year, it had nearly 90 cases on court dockets across the country and is providing consultation and assistance to a number of groups.

One client, Texas-based Sidewalk Advocates for Life, is a group that trains volunteers to engage with women headed to abortion clinics and present them with other options. It has used the help of the Thomas More Society since its start in 2014.

The group has a local chapter in Wood Dale.

“There are so many folks that simply don’t like what we are doing because maybe they don’t agree with our particular viewpoint, and we do experience viewpoint discrimination unfortunately,” Lauren Muzyka, executive director of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, said.

When Sidewalk Advocates for Life has run into problems with government and law enforcement, it has called on the society to make their case for free speech in at least 15 matters, none of which have reached litigation.

“It’s just very heartening to us to see a great public interest law firm, like the Thomas More Society, lending their help, pro bono,” Muzyka said. “Because of that, our folks are able to help a lot of women that do want help. We’ve had almost 5,000 women change their minds in four years.”

Muzyka, a lawyer herself, credits the professionalism and dedication of Thomas More’s attorneys for the organization’s success.

“I think that the values of the Thomas More Society and the values they share with everyone else comes through in the way they serve their clients,” Muzyka said. “We are so elated to have an organization like this that comes to the defense of folks who otherwise could not find great legal help when they are dealing with these situations.”

The society also campaigns and advocates for students at public schools to have the right to start “pro-life” clubs. And it’s working with a Minnesota parent who is suing their home county, the school district and social services groups for providing her son with sex reassignment services without her consent.

The future

The Thomas More Society has been defending abortion opponents for 20 years, and Bath said they’re looking forward to the next 20 years.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had as many cases as we do now. My phone never stops ringing because the need is so great,” he said.

Bath said as the movement continues to succeed in reducing the number of abortions, he expects pro-abortion advocates will start fighting even harder to survive.

“If pro-lifers and women choose to not have abortions, I think there is going to be a lot of different challenges as the laws change and the techniques of the sidewalk counselors change, and we’re going to be standing behind them. We’re going to be there for them,” Bath said.

DEVOTIONAL (August 15 – September 15, 2018): “Unity in One Body”

by Jeff Reedy, Store Manager, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):  “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In Him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

– Eph 2:19-22

Reflection:  In Ephesians 2:1-22, Paul tells us that God has made us one, taking Jews and Gentiles and erasing the walls that separated us, making us one body in Christ.

But we know that the enemy wants to split us up; we even see evidence of this even in the pro-life movement.  We’re not, at times, one body — there are deep wounds in the body of Christ because we often refuse to find ways to work in unity.  If we read the prayer that Jesus prayed for ME AND YOU specifically, we know that it was His intent (and still is His intent) for us to be one, as He and the Father are One.

So let’s work tirelessly to heal those wounds.  Let’s reach out to our brothers and sisters in Jesus, no matter what their background or denomination might be, and help bring us all back together again.  Let’s pray that those wounds will be healed, and that we’ll find a way to love one another once more — and to be truly ONE, as He and the Father are One.

Faith Challenge:  Let us pray: “God, thank You for making it clear that You want us to be one. Please help us work to that end in all that we do for the good of LIFE and your Holy Name.  AMEN.”

BE A CLOSER: Shutting Down Abortion Facilities through the Power of Prayer and Outreach

Dear Friend of Life:

An Abortion-Referral Facility… what is it?

This is a Planned Parenthood “family-planning” facility that doesn’t do abortions within their walls, but serves as a ‘direct pipeline to abortion’ in that many women go there to make decisions about an unexpected pregnancy …then, Planned Parenthood refers them to an abortion facility.

This is what our Sidewalk Advocates for Life-Lewisville, TX leader (now, also our new National Training Assistant at SAFL National), Dianna, recently shared with her community regarding their prayer and outreach presence at the Planned Parenthood abortion-referral facility in their community

“Because you’re a part of the pro-life community in Lewisville, I know that you grieve the loss of babies and the harm done to women and families because of abortion. And I know that it bothers you like it bothers me that Planned Parenthood has set up an abortion pipeline in our backyard, stretching from their (center) in Lewisville to the (three remaining abortion facilities) in North Texas.

And I also know that for us pro-lifers, it’s easy to feel powerless to do anything about abortion demand in our community.

But here’s the truth: We’re not powerless.

We can push back the culture of death in our city because our local pro-life community has two peaceful, yet powerful weapons in the fight against Planned Parenthood, and they’re joining forces in Lewisville this fall to put an end to the abortion giant’s presence in our city once and for all.

These two peaceful pro-life weapons are prayer and sidewalk advocacy.

Is prayer really effective in disrupting the abortion industry?

Absolutely! Former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson has stated that at the last Planned Parenthood conference she attended, the abortion giant acknowledged that when there are people praying in front of their centers, they have seen their cancellation rates go as high as 75%!

What a glorious thought!

Just by joining a peaceful and coordinated prayer campaign (through the local 40 Days for Life campaign beginning tomorrow), your prayers and your presence on the sidewalk will most certainly make a difference in the life of someone planning to visit Planned Parenthood that day…and the best part is: You won’t even have to speak to any of the clients in order to have an impact.  That will be the role of our second peaceful pro-life weapon: trained Sidewalk Advocates.

At Lewisville For Life, our Sidewalk Advocates receive training in the well-researched and highly effective method of Sidewalk Advocates for Life.  Our Sidewalk Advocates will be present on the sidewalk or on-call every day during the entire 40 Days for Life campaign to speak to anyone planning to visit Planned Parenthood who needs assistance.

…I believe this partnership will be just the combination our city needs to finally send Planned Parenthood-Lewisville packing for good.

Friend, I really mean that.  Here’s why:

Two years ago, when I was first discerning how the Lord was asking me to serve in the pro-life movement, I became interested in sidewalk counseling. My search for more information led me to Sidewalk Advocates for Life, and I felt sure that I was being called to sidewalk advocacy in Lewisville, but I saw a couple of distinct challenges: lack of access to the clinic and limited time for outreach.

During this discernment period, I heard the news of SAFL’s first abortion clinic closure which happened in Winter Haven, Florida (watch their amazing story here). The Sidewalk Advocates in Winter Haven only held their outreach once a week, and the clinic where they engaged in sidewalk advocacy was located along a major thoroughfare in a large shopping center …with a movie theater!  These were challenging circumstances. But after 18 months of faithful one-day-a-week outreach, that clinic shut it doors!

Except for the fact that Planned Parenthood-Lewisville is an abortion-referral clinic, it mirrors the former Winter Haven abortion clinic in so many ways. And I thought, “If Winter Haven could close its clinic, so can Lewisville.”

So, on April 20, 2017, we held our first sidewalk advocacy outreach in front of Planned Parenthood-Lewisville.

Like every Sidewalk Advocate and sidewalk counselor, we were consumed with one primary question from the moment we began our outreach, “How long will it take for this (center) to close down?”

To try to “estimate” the Lewisville clinic’s likely closure date, I used the Winter Haven outreach as a baseline and hoped for a closure date of no later than 18 months from the date of our launch.

Do you know what I realized just this week? 18 months from April 20, 2017 will be October 20, 2018 …right within the 40 Days for Life campaign!

Around the end of 2017, we were hopeful that the end was near. We observed many days that the clinic was unexpectedly closed during their posted business hours, and we rejoiced and hoped to see a permanent closure sign; however, no such sign came last year. And for most of 2018, the clinic’s operation appears stable, at least from the outside. We haven’t noticed any more temporary closures.

So that means this is the perfect time for the pro-life community in Lewisville to turn up the heat–the spiritual heat–and fervently pray for the end of abortion demand in Lewisville, and give Planned Parenthood-Lewisville the final push it needs to shut its doors for good.”

Friend, you know what else?  I believe this facility — besides the evidence that it has been mysteriously closing a bunch of days recently — WILL shut down soon because of Dianna’s dedicated prayers, strategic and positive thinking, and subsequent action.

Pray and think like Dianna.  She’s standing on a mountain of evidence that THIS WORKS through the grace of God.

In short, BE A CLOSER — and let us know if we can help you!

Blessings in Christ,

Lauren Muzyka
Executive Director
Sidewalk Advocates for Life

info@sidewalkadvocates.org
sidewalkadvocates.org

He grabbed a golf club at the abortion facility…

Dear Friend of Life:

You won’t believe this story  a story about a father at the abortion facility who was so upset about his preborn baby, HE HAD TO HIT SOMETHING.  This past week, my fellow National Team member, Jeff and I joined the Sidewalk Advocates of Louisville on the sidewalk a couple mornings at the local abortion facility  the last remaining abortion facility in the state of Kentucky.

Nothing perhaps was more heart-wrenching than when I spoke at length with a father on the sidewalk at one point.  After we began to talk, the father broke down crying about his preborn child; he allowed Jeff and me to pray with him.  He accepted my invite to walk him over to the pregnancy center to hear about all the help available.

After he came out filled with hope, he sat back down to talk with me and make a plan to pull his girlfriend out.

Suddenly, his girlfriend’s mother came out and yelled at him to come inside.

About 30 minutes later, he bolted from the facility, barely able to look at either of us.

He went to his car, grabbed a golf club, and began to swing it, repeatedly striking a tree and a cardboard box on the ground out of frustration at his girlfriend’s refusal to save herself and their baby.

After he blew off some steam, Jeff was able to slip an abortionpillreversal.com card in his hand, knowing she was 9 weeks pregnant and planning on the abortion pill.  Perhaps, we pray, they had a different conversation that evening and called the hotline to reverse course.  Either way, this man and his family remain in our prayers.

After we persevered through that situation and others, finally, another woman we spoke with DID choose life — praise God! 

At one point, Jeff snapped this picture of me standing in front of the facility — a picture that showed the sidewalk full of LIGHT in the midst of all that darkness.

Truly, this us what Sidewalk Advocates for Life is about: Filling the sidewalk with His light and sharing hope and help with hurting human souls — what a privilege!

You make hope-filled moments on the sidewalk possible. Won’t you help our ministry continue?

Friend, we are short of goal right now in our Fall Financial Campaign to raise desperately-needed funds to keep our ministry going, full-steam ahead, and DEADLINE is tomorrow, Thursday, at 11:59 pm CST!

Will you help us with a tax-deductible, life-saving gift and see us through to the finish line?: sidewalkadvocates.org/donate

Thank you, dear friends, for joining us in this great mission to save lives and end abortion through the power of love!

Blessings,

Lauren Muzyka
Executive Director
Sidewalk Advocates for Life

info@sidewalkadvocates.org
sidewalkadvocates.org

DOUBLE YOUR LIFE-SAVING IMPACT TODAY!

Dear Friend of Life:

ALMOST 5,000 BABIES SAVED.

50 WORKERS WHO LEFT THE ABORTION BUSINESS.

13 ABORTION OR ABORTION-REFERRAL CENTERS THAT HAVE CLOSED THEIR DOORS FOREVER.

We never dreamed we’d be celebrating these milestones in 4 years of ministry.

And yet, why shouldn’t we?  When well-trained people of faith and conscience show up at abortion centers to be the hands and feet of Christ to mothers-in-crisis  accompanied by a concrete offer of help  LIVES ARE SAVED.  MIRACLES HAPPEN through grace of God.

These DAILY MIRACLES are hitting the bottom line of abortion facilities all over the country, sending them into a tailspin.  (Even as I write this, we know of more facilities cutting their hours back or teetering on the edge of closure  so exciting!!)

This is the power of our God: With Him ALL THINGS are possible.

And that’s why we’re dreaming big over here at Sidewalk Advocates for Life.

In 4 years, we’ve grown to 153 life-saving locations around the globe — praise God! — but we don’t want to stop here.

There are more facilities that are uncovered daily.

More mothers who need our help.

We don’t want ANYONE to get sucked into the lies of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry without an opportunity to hear that there’s real help and hope.

Will you JOIN US in growing our ministry to set up our life-saving program in more communities in order to help save more lives and close more abortion centers?

Here’s the AMAZING NEWS: For the next 13 days, you have a rare opportunity to make a financial gift and see your donation INSTANTLY DOUBLED due to a generous group of donors who have come together to issue a $40,000 MATCHING FUND CHALLENGE!  That means $25 becomes $50… $100 becomes $200 …$500 becomes $1,000 …$5,000 becomes $10,000 …what a gift to move this work forward!

HERE’S THE DIRECT LINK TO MAKE A LIFE-SAVING, TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT OF SUPPORT: sidewalkadvocates.org/donate

Friends, we DON’T want to leave any of this generosity sitting on the table.  With lives and souls at stake, we cannot afford to.  If we KNOW this program is working, we have a moral obligation to fulfill the mission God has put in front of us: Cover all uncovered abortion facilities as soon as possible …because we know how much it devastates the abortion industry, saves lives, and impacts eternal souls.

Will you join us in this great mission with a gift today — and see it instantly doubled?  If so, I’d be incredibly grateful for your sacrifice!

AGAIN, HERE’S THE DIRECT LINK TO MAKE A GIFT OF SUPPORT: sidewalkadvocates.org/donate

From the bottom of my heart: Thank you for your consideration!  I appreciate you!
Blessings in Christ,

Lauren Muzyka
Executive Director
Sidewalk Advocates for Life

info@sidewalkadvocates.org
sidewalkadvocates.org

P.S. – With 153 locations, almost 5,000 babies saved, and a host of other miracles in 4 years on the sidewalk, we DON’T want to stop here: More mothers need our help to choose life for their preborn children!  Will you help us grow this ministry to set up more life-saving locations? If so, your gift is INSTANTLY DOUBLED due to a MATCHING FUND CHALLENGE gifted to us by a group of generous donors  but it’s only for the next 13 days!  Here’s where you can give and HELP SAVE MORE LIVES: sidewalkadvocates.org/donate.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support!

URGENT: Your prayers are needed RIGHT NOW…

Dear Friend of Life:

I know your time is precious, so I’ll make this super quick.

YOUR PRAYERS ARE NEEDED RIGHT NOW  and in the days to come.

The hearing to confirm Judge Kavanaugh  the very judge who could easily become THE Supreme Court vote to overturn the landmark abortion case,Roe v. Wade  has started with unbelievable protest and fiery objections.

As Fox News just reported, “The Supreme Court confirmation hearing turned into a political spectacle within moments, as top Democrats tried to overtake the session with a rapid-fire string of objections, and protesters screamed from the audience.”

Even as I write this, there is more yelling echoing throughout the room.

MORE HERE: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/09/04/brett-kavanaugh-hearing-interrupted-by-democratic-senators-protests.html

Please join us in prayer for these hearings to proceed without any more interruption— and for the balance of the Supreme Court to be won back over to the Constitution and LIFE for the good of our great country.

Blessings in Christ,

Lauren Muzyka
Executive Director
Sidewalk Advocates for Life

info@sidewalkadvocates.org
sidewalkadvocates.org

CLOSED: The amazing VIDEO story of Las Cruces, NM …and how you can help END ABORTION!

Dear Friend of Life:

Whenever we think about abortion in our hometown, sometimes, we’re overwhelmed.  We might feel a pull to get to our local abortion facility to help save lives, but often, we don’t even know where to begin.  Or maybe we’ve been doing it for awhile …but we’re curious to know what other tips and strategies we can integrate into our outreach to perhaps win more life-saving conversations on the sidewalk.

What has worked well for others?  What doesn’t work?  Does a systematic plan matter?  Are other cities really seeing fruit from a prayer presence + outreach to abortion-minded moms on the sidewalk?

The community in Las Cruces, New Mexico asked those same questions when they received the devastating news that an abortion facility was opening in their community.

So, they did THREE KEY THINGS:  They prayed.  They talked to other cities + national groups where things appeared to be going well on the sidewalk.  And through God’s grace and that research, they made a plan for their community.

After running after that plan with everything in their heart for many months, they finally got the news: Their abortion facility was CLOSED!
Watch the 7-minute inspirational video story HERE: https://vimeo.com/256161836

Want to help save lives and close your local abortion facility? 

Knowing how busy you are, we developed a simple, research-proven sidewalk advocacy training program  along with tools and support  so you can be successful in reaching out to abortion-minded women and men through God’s amazing grace!  (Yes, we were created for busy people who want to make a difference!)

All you do is fill out a 5-minute application (where you pledge to be peaceful, prayerful and law-abiding), agree to a short phone conversation so we can answer your initial questions, and once approved, we ship you everything you need to quickly build a team of Sidewalk Advocates.  Then, we walk with you, answering your questions and troubleshooting challenges as you build and grow.

Applications to bring Sidewalk Advocates for Life to your community this Fall are OPEN FOR TWO MORE DAYS through August 31 at sidewalkadvocates.org/apply!

Questions?  Check out How it Works HERE: http://sidewalkadvocates.org/about/how-it-works/

…or drop us a line at info@sidewalkadvocates.org, and we’d love to be of service!  

We hope to have the pleasure of serving you!  Praying for your discernment!

Blessings in Christ,

Lauren Muzyka
Executive Director
Sidewalk Advocates for Life

info@sidewalkadvocates.org
sidewalkadvocates.org

DEVOTIONAL (July 15 – August 15, 2018): “The Greatest of These”

by Jeff Reedy, National Program Assistant, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s): “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. …Love never fails. …And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

– 1 Cor 13: 4-8a; 13

Reflection: Paul tells us something very important through this discourse about love, and something we need to heed in the midst of today’s crises.

Yes, there are lots of things to alarm us in the world around us: Sex abuse scandals in Hollywood or the Church …or your local abortion facility that has taken the lives of countless innocent children.  As yet another example, they recently discovered a compound in New Mexico where ISIS was teaching children how to do mass shootings. (Crazy that didn’t make the news!)  And YES, there should be moral outrage about these things, no doubt.

But we also have to remember the number one commandment and what Paul tells us.  No matter how outraged we might become, if we don’t exhibit love — even towards those who have done these incredibly harmful things — we become nothing.  No matter how horrible some action is that some person in authority has committed, we have to remember love.

Does love mean giving them a get out of jail free card?  No, of course not.  Sometimes love means locking them away for life to keep them from hurting other people and from destroying themselves.  But let’s not give in to the desire to cry out for their blood — to want them to be tortured and killed.  Let’s pray for their souls and hope and pray that they find God and turn from their lives of foolishness and pain.

That’s what love demands.  And John DOES tell us that God is love.  God demands that we love our enemies, pray for them, and care for them.

It’s not easy when you think of the horrible things they’ve done.  It gets a lot easier, though, when we think of the horrible things WE’VE done — and how we’ve also been infinitely offensive to an infinitely good, holy, and loving God.  It’s also a reminder that unless we are ready to forgive others for their offenses when they are truly sorry, we won’t get off so easy (cf. Matthew 18:21-35).

Once we have humbled ourselves to see what God has done for us, we can start to grasp the beauty and power of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

Faith Challenge: Let us pray for all those who have been wounded by others’ sins.  Then, let’s us pray for a conversion of heart for all sinners in need of the redemptive love of Jesus Christ.

The POWER of ONE PERSON — and a REFLECTOR VEST…

Dear Friend of Life:

I hesitate to share too much in this email because I’m sure we have pro-abortion folks who are monitoring our listserve!  So, I’ll keep it general… but I’m so excited.

As we continue to collaborate with our program advisors, we are starting to integrate more “psychology of influence” techniques into our sidewalk outreach at locations across the country — and we’re witnessing stunning, life-saving results! 

More cars are stopping …more women are turning around in the driveway to head to the pregnancy center …and meanwhile, workers are shocked by the effectiveness, but they are ALSO more receptive to our offer of help to leave the industry!

IT REALLY IS A GAME-CHANGER.

So, what’s the big change?

While, again, I won’t go into everything, I’ll say this: It begins with ONE PERSON in a reflector vest.  

I’m not kidding.

We are tempted to think that in order to divert more women to the pregnancy center, we need huge teams of people on the sidewalk.  And don’t get me wrong: The goal IS to work up to 100% coverage so we can touch each and every eternal soul entering that abortion facility.

But on any given morning, to accomplish the goal of being present to women-in-need and really filling those needs, you need just ONE PERSON at the driveway (as long as the driveway is on public property) in a reflector vest — noting, for example, the “psychology of influence” principle that people in uniforms tend to get their requests met more — and ONE PARTNER on the other side of the driveway or at the fence to catch cars from the other side or reach out to those who didn’t take your offer of help as they were coming in.  (In other words, one person reaching out at a time, but always there in twos for safety and reflecting the Gospel mandate.)

When the Sidewalk Advocate stops the car, they present themselves in a loving, professional manner and are taught how to offer the FREE help at the local pregnancy resource center very quickly in the most attractive way possible.  And some women really do turnaround right then and there and head to the pregnancy center. 

If they don’t accept our help right away, Sidewalk Advocates are taught how to continue the conversation to hopefully still encourage a decision for life.

This is EXACTLY what happened when I visited Sioux Falls, SD a couple weeks ago to be a support to our team on the ground.

Our valiant leader, Sara, and her family lead our local program there, and they’ve done an incredible job incorporating some of these techniques into their outreach.

For our morning on the sidewalk, Sara was already ready in her pick reflector vest!

Their biggest obstacle was knowing who was going RIGHT to Planned Parenthood(on the right side of the office complex) or who was going LEFT towards the coffee shop or Pizza Hut.  When cars were pulling in, you couldn’t tell.

So, we told Sara and the team: Stop EVERYONE  the risk is far too great NOT to. 

When we stopped the car, we introduced ourselves: “Hi, there, I’m Sara with (insert a pro-woman name for your group or, if the pregnancy center allows, say you are with them)…Are you by chance going to Planned Parenthood today?”  If you have a smile on your face and keep it cool, 99% of the time, they will tell you.  (And if they get uneasy about the question, you treat them like a Planned Parenthood client!)

Then, it’s offering the FREE help at the local pregnancy center.  If they tell you they aren’t going there for “that,” you can ask them to share what service they are seeking that day “to point them to free help in town” (note: If it’s artificial birth control, because of it’s likely abortifacient nature and other concerns, we either share the beauty of chastity with unmarried women OR, with married women, a form of Natural Family Planning that’s 98-99% use effective).  Again, most of the time, they’ll tell you exactly what they are going in for.

If they said they were going to grab coffee or pizza, we simply told them that we were offering the free help at the local pregnancy center for anyone in need — and we handed them our pamphlet while saying, “here’s some info if you know anyone who might need help.” Almost 100% of the time, the driver took our pamphlet.  BOOM.  Quick evangelization and informing the public within seconds.

The most trying moment was when the coffee shop manager arrived for his shift, late morning  oh, they had warned me about him!  (Apparently, every single time our Advocates are out there, he comes over to harass them about our inviting cars to take info in the driveway.)  He pulled in, parked, and came marching over… FURIOUS.

“You can’t do that!  You can’t stop cars in the driveway…”

“Hi, there, what’s your name?”  I said as I stuck out my hand.

He shook my hand… then, went off on us.

I calmly reassured him that I was an attorney myself, we knew our rights, we were permitted to invite cars to briefly stop in the driveway for about 10-15 seconds to take info, our attorney had already spoken to their local police, and we’d appreciate him respecting our First Amendment Rights.  I informed him that he wasn’t unlike many property owners who were upset they had to share a parking lot with Planned Parenthood …and my advice was to get out.

He was rude and insistent that we could just let the car park and waive the client over —and if not, he’d call the police.

Sara brought up, “You KNEW before you moved in that we were here, first.”

I finally got much more direct, and I told him — pointing to Planned Parenthood with some real fire in my belly — that as long as children were dying in that building, we’d be here, inviting cars to stop, because that was the best point of access. “If you’re more concerned about selling a cup of coffee than the children dying in that building, you’ve got your priorities messed up.”

He furiously marched back to his car, threatening to call the police and pretending to tape us on his phone.

“Go ahead, sir, we’ve already worked this out with the local police,”  I reassured him.

Maybe he was mad because we stopped almost EVERY car coming into the shopping center that day.  And just before he marched over, a couple who had listened to our offer of help on the way in had driven back towards us to “talk” some more (after sitting in their car for 20 minutes, reading our pamphlet) …and chose our help at the pregnancy center instead.  PRAISE GOD!!

Never underestimate the power of ONE PERSON — and yes, a partner to have their back —in a reflector vest, waving, with a big smile and a simple offer of help.

And please pray for that coffee shop manager.  He’s experiencing the “constructive tension” that’s needed for a conversion of heart  and for abortion to end.

Blessings in Christ,

Lauren Muzyka
Executive Director
Sidewalk Advocates for Life

info@sidewalkadvocates.org
sidewalkadvocates.org