Over 30 different abortion facilities saw the Pro-Life Generation outside on sidewalks praying for the women and their preborn babies and being advocates for life, standing as a representation for hope and compassion.
For many students, it was the first time they engaged in sidewalk advocacy. Everyone was trained by Lauren Muzkya from Sidewalk Advocates for Life and were equipped and educated on how to best speak to abortion-minded women, and others they may encounter on the sidewalk like clinic escorts, and be a loving resource for them.
So what happened? Lots of great things. Here are stories from the field, including a baby save!
In Dallas, Jillian Ferguson, SFLA’s Southwest Regional Coordinator, got to witness her first baby save:
We were just packing up and getting ready to leave when I noticed a couple came out of the Planned Parenthood facility and got into their minivan. As they were approaching the exit, they rolled down their window and we approached the van. I let Joanne, the other counselor, take the lead as she had much more experience than I as she is out there every weekend.
She introduced herself and gave them literature. English was not the first language of the couple in the van but Joanne took things slow and asked the woman how far along she was. The woman said she was three months along and Joanne had someone grab the fetal model that represented that age. As soon as she handed the fetal model to the woman and said “that’s what your baby looks like right now” the woman teared up and said “can’t do it, that’s a baby.” Their minivan was full of car seats, toys, and books and they told Joanne that this was their fourth child to which Joanne replied she was also a mom of four. The woman seeking the abortion had come today to get bloodwork done and an ultrasound to see how much the abortion would cost – instead she drove away with a smile on her face and a list of other places she could go to get free support. It was a beautiful thing to see firsthand a life being saved.
In Illinois, Reagan Barklage, our Midwest Regional Coordinator relayed her thoughts:
I was able to stop at Granite City’s [IL] Sidewalk Day and I’m so proud of these students who came out – it was all of their first times being out on the sidewalk and they did amazing. One of the many disturbing things about Hope Clinic is that their escorts leave at 9:45 am. They don’t even stay to help the women who are hurting as they walk out of the facility. Shocking huh? They just want to make sure they get into the facility. Hope Clinic was the facility that was shown in the documentary I was in [read about Reagan’s experience in the film here and here]. The documentary followed their abortionist and a lot of their patients. It was kind of emotional standing outside of the facility, when I’ve seen firsthand the hurt that happens inside. I prayed especially for their abortionist, the one I had the opportunity to sit by on the flight home from the premiere.
In Kentucky, Appalachian Regional Coordinator Brenna Lewis had this experience:
Towards the end of our time on the sidewalk at the EMW Women’s Surgical Center abortion facility in Louisville, KY, a woman pulled up next to us, parked her car, and stomped over to our group, visibly angry. Her face was shaking, everything about her body language both defensive and hostile. When she got close enough to speak to us, the first words out of her mouth were “Have any of you ever been pregnant!?” I cringed, thinking this was likely going to be less of a dialogue and more of a shouting match.
She told me right away that she was a clinic escort for the center behind us, and was entirely fed up with the pro-life presence on their sidewalk, saying how terrible we were, shaming these poor women. Her view on our movement as a whole was extremely twisted. As the conversation progressed, and I explained what Students for Life of America is and how we approach the issue, I noticed her gradually relaxing and becoming more conversational.
She faltered when I mentioned that viability is as early as 22 weeks, asking if she thought it might be wrong to kill them after they are able to live outside the womb. Unfortunately, her stubbornness persisted as she talked in circles about other social justice issues. I got the strong feeling that she had never before had a reasonable discussion with a pro-life activist. By the end of our dialogue, she still supported restriction-free abortion, but my hope is that she left us that day with a renewed perspective on the youth of the pro-life movement, that we are compassionate and peacefully committed to spreading the truth.
In Nebraska, student Alexa got to share a resource for abortion workers:
…Our group then packed up to go to Omahas Planned Parenthood where we spent the remainder of our time praying and counseling the women going into the clinic. The security guard came out to talk to us and tell us about rules of private property (which we were already respecting). Ten minutes later in our conversation, he admitted that he knew what was going on inside the facility was bad. He said he would look at the website abortionworker.com. I truly believe we planted some seeds in that worker on Saturday. We also referred two other workers to the abortion worker website and gave three women literature of our pregnancy centers. The day turned into a road trip, but we saw many graces come out of it.
Marin shared her experience from a Planned Parenthood in Kansas:
We were at the Planned Parenthood in Overland Park. We had about 10 participants with us but other groups were out on the sidewalk as well. We were unable to talk to any women. However, we remained vigilant and prayerful throughout the day. It was difficult to be out there and not get immediate gratification but it was a wonderful learning experience. It has also inspired me and others who were out there to take stock in the pro-life movement. I had friends who came who do not have a pro-life club at their school ask me how to get involved with students for life. I am excited to go out on the sidewalks again and try to speak to women and save children again.