Dear Friend of Life:
I was sitting here this Sunday evening, reflecting on all the unbelievable victories we at Sidewalk Advocates for Life have witnessed through God’s grace in just over 4.5 years of peaceful outreach to women-in-crisis on the sidewalk.
It’s sometimes hard to believe that almost 6,000 women have taken us up on our offer of help in front of abortion facilities all over the U.S. and the world and chosen life for their precious children!
Women who told us they didn’t really want to do it, but felt like they, ironically, had no choice …until we offered real help and hope.
Women who immediately burst into tears when we told them they were loved and they and their preborn child mattered.
Women who — because we were so peaceful — felt safe letting us know that they were being abused by a partner or had been raped …and took refuge in our offer to get them and their child into a safe place.
In short, it was all due to the power of love.
The reality is that we can’t “make” a woman choose life — no one can. These women —according to their feedback — freely chose our help because we were peaceful, prayerful, law-abiding, and woman-oriented on the sidewalk, underscored by love.
If we don’t espouse these values, we can’t win her trust and connect her with a reputable pregnancy center who will provide her with healthcare resources, give her the truth about her developing child, and share the fact that many women have come to regret their abortions.
Everyone who volunteers with our ministry, in fact, must sign our Pledge of Integrity (click here to see).
More specifically, here is why Sidewalk Advocates for Life has chosen these values…
1. Peaceful – When a woman arrives at the abortion center, emotions are running high. We don’t want to add any of the confusion or chaos in her life. We do not believe that yelling or being ugly wins anyone. As Mother Teresa says, “Peace begins with a smile.” We always approach an abortion-bound woman or man calmly, with a smile on our face, introduce ourselves, and let her know of real, reputable resources in her community.
2. Prayerful – We believe that “apart from Him, we can do nothing” (Jn 15:5) and “with God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). We are imperfect people reaching out to other imperfect people. It is His love and His grace that changes hearts and minds on the sidewalk — it’s just our job to freely offer that love and grace to anyone who wants to accept it.
3. Law-Abiding – We have five attorneys on our team between our Board of Directors and our staff, and we require our Sidewalk Advocates to follow the laws of the local jurisdiction. Being law-abiding is important to winning the trust of that woman, the workers, and our community. We never do anything to violate the law so that we have a chance to stay outside an abortion center as long as possible or in the days and months to come.
But what about a buffer zone law? Is it okay to violate that law if we feel it is unjust? While there’s no doubt that these laws are a form of viewpoint discrimination, especially noting that laws already protect people from criminal behavior, we should still follow the law for all the aforementioned reasons. With good strategy, you can work around buffer zones. (What we mean by “working around a buffer zone” is that you can stand outside a buffer zone and call people over to speak with you outside the buffer zone, etc., for example.)
4. Women-Oriented – This really goes back to love: We start with her. She’s the one making the decision. We’re not “counseling” the baby — she’s the one we have to reach. It doesn’t matter what I think is helpful to an abortion-minded woman, it matters what research, testimony, and experience says. We lean heavily on the most well-developed body of research on understanding the heart of an abortion-minded woman, Right-Brain Research (click here to see a summary article).
For example, we were surprised when some women we had met at various events who had been raped and later went onto have an abortion told us that “the abortion felt like a second rape.” Wishing they had made a different decision, they urged us to share that information with other women on the sidewalk.
As we continue this ministry, we continue to listen to women and their experiences and share those experiences with others.
In summary, here’s a concise video that explains more of the spirit behind these values: https://vimeo.com/317884340
And when all these values come together, it can lead to miraculous stories such as Lizanne’s: https://vimeo.com/85324470
If you are a peaceful pro-life advocate who celebrates these values and wants to help save lives in your local community, we’d love to be a blessing to you! See https://sidewalkadvocates.org/about/how-it-works/ for a summary of our training, tools, and support, and how to start one of our life-saving programs in your community. (Our tools are so in-depth that we even have sheets to keep statistics of what is working well at your local abortion facility; however, our policy is that no Sidewalk Advocate may write down any information that could identify a client or worker.)
Almost 6,000 women have thanked us for being present at the abortion facility, peacefully reaching out to them; many of them have sent us pictures of their precious children or invited us to their baby shower or their child’s first birthday party. We are honored to continue this life-saving journey, and we cannot wait to see what God will do next through YOU! Going forward, let us know if we can be of service.
Lauren Muzyka, Esq.
Sidewalk Advocates for Life