Living Out Christianity in Front of Abortion Clinics
This is an update on our local Abortion Clinic and the broader issue of silent prayer at clinics across the country.
Forty Weeks of Prayerful Protest
For the next 40 weeks, every Saturday, they meet at 9 am at a nearby park, within walking distance of the abortion clinic. Each week is typically represented by one or two of the churches in the area. Our local group is only a year old and had 50 church sponsors last year, and hopes to have 100 churches participating by the end of this year.
The numbers of individuals and families in attendance range from 25 and up. This past Saturday, the first “prayer walk” of the season, we had nearly 100. In the parking lot we were given a short devotion, a quick prayer, and then instructions on how to conduct ourselves at the abortion clinic. We’re told not to speak to anyone and, especially, to resist yelling back in response to the pro-choice volunteers we’ll encounter. The walk to the Abortion Clinic was 10 minutes of silent prayers, being told it was a “prayer walk” not a “prayer talk”. No one speaks to anyone else, except the Lord.
As we come up the hill toward the clinic, there are folks on the sidewalk with badges on, some with slip-on rainbow vests. They stare at us but don’t speak as we pass silently by. We don’t speak, looking down at the sidewalk to avoid conflict.
As we walk up and position ourselves across the street in a small, open median area in front of the clinic, there is a man yelling toward the clinic building. Though his tone is loving, his voice is intentionally loud enough to be heard through the walls of the clinic. He is calling those inside to reconsider their decision to abort their unborn child. No one can use any sound systems directed at the clinic due to restrictions established by the federal FACE Act (details here).
The Abortion Clinic itself is a small, nondescript, one-story building, approximately 1500 square feet in size. It sits in a business district at the end of a cul-de-sac. The owner of the business has three more of these facilities in nearby cities. This one has a tall wooden privacy fence in the front, erected to prevent folks inside from looking out. Windows that are visible have blinds covering them. As “patients” enter the parking lot, some of the clinic volunteers stand in a line, blocking a view of our group as they get out of their cars. Others have rainbow umbrellas that cover the women’s faces as they walk from their cars to the building entrance.
The Abortion Procedure at the Clinic
All quotes below were taken from the Astra Women’s Center website. There are two types of abortions at the clinic: medical and surgical.
Once a group, typically between 15 and 20 pregnant women, is assembled in a small conference room, they are encouraged to ask any questions they might have. In our state (NC), there is no mandatory counseling required before an abortion procedure. Once all the questions are answered, each woman is given a pill to take with a small glass of water. They are given a second pill to take home with them, to be taken 24 hours later. This is termed a Medical Abortion, which “can be up to 98% effective”. It can be used in the first 12 weeks of gestation and the “whole process can be completed in two weeks”. The first pill, taken at the clinic, stops the production of progesterone, needed to maintain a pregnancy. The second pill causes contractions of the uterus which “ejects the pregnancy” during the remaining two-week period.
For those women who are beyond 14 weeks, “a surgical abortion by vacuum aspiration is a minor surgical procedure where the uterus is emptied using a gentle suction”. Some clinics use a “manual” method of suction, others use an “electrical vacuum”. It is unknown which procedure is being used at our clinic.
Our Time at the Clinic
We have a regular routine that includes singing a few Christian hymns and then breaking into small groups for intercessory prayer. We have been given sheets of specific topics to be praying for. We pray for the women, that they would change their minds and not abort. We pray for the nurses and doctors that they would see what they are doing from God’s perspective. Finally, we pray for the rainbow volunteers and the police (two unmarked police SUV’s are in the parking lot next door). After about 45 minutes, we have a final group prayer, sing one last song and silently head back to the park where our cars are being watched.
On Sunday, the sponsoring church for that week typically gets an email offering praise for those women who rejected the pill or the surgical abortion and, choose life. The Saturday our church volunteered, for the first time in 2022, 5 women choose life for their unborn babies. This Sunday, we did not receive an email. However, since the ministry began in 2016 in Charlotte, NC they have documented over 4,500 families saved and currently have weekly prayer walks in 11 States and 21 cities across the country, mobilizing 140k Christians from over 800 partner churches.
LoveLife is the Prayer Walk Ministry
The ministry is called LoveLife (website here).
Code of Conduct and Intent – “We ask that you not engage with anyone at the abortion center. Our role is simply to stand in the gap in prayer for the pre-born at the darkest place in our city… This is not a protest, but a time of prayer and worship.”
Mission Statement – “Love Life is uniting and mobilizing the Church to create a culture of love and life that will result in an end to abortion and the orphan crisis.”
Core Christian Theology – “We are motivated by the Great Commandment, guided by the Great Commission, and collaborating in John 17 unity to reach the least of these at Abortion Mission Fields.”
The Sad Statistics
According to Pew Research (Guttmacher Institute data here) it is estimated that there were 930k abortions in 2020 (the most recent year reported). That is one abortion every 34 seconds or, according to the CDC 198 abortions per 1000 live births (data here). Clearly, we are killing hundreds of thousands of unborn children due to convenience rather than any life-threatening danger to mothers. It is currently estimated that there are between one and two million couples waiting to adopt (data here). Every year approximately 140k children are adopted by US families, yet only 4% of women with unwanted pregnancies place their children through adoption (data here).
The Future of Abortion Clinics
It is likely that Abortion Clinics such as the one we prayed for will eventually lose many of their customers and, ultimately close. There are two reasons for this. First, some states are prohibiting late-term abortions (which remains undefined). In North Carolina for example, Republicans have proposed a “fetal heartbeat” law that would restrict abortions after approximately the 9th week (currently, NC is 20 weeks). Second, many states are considering allowing Medical Abortions (the Abortion Pill) to be prescribed by Tele-Doc for at-home use. Here is the latest data on a state-by-state basis.
A Biblical Christian Perspective
Abortions and the clinics that support them, have always been a hot-button issue in this country. Roe-v-Wade was built on the false premise that the Constitution provided federal authority over states’ rights. When that view was recently overturned, states are now tasked with deciding these guidelines.
Many progressive Christians challenge the notion that the Bible is clear on abortion. Others reject the Bible entirely. They focus instead on the blanket love Jesus has for everyone, including a women’s rights. They miss the reality that Christ includes the unborn as the most vulnerable of all His children. If one objectively looks at the Scripture, God is very clear that He sees the unborn as one of His children (BCW Article here). However, since we live in a sinful world where one often has to decide between the lesser of evils rather than pure good vs evil, there are situations where the life of the mother should take precedence. Christians need to respond as an advocate for the unborn, but with grace and love toward those who disagree (BCW Article here).
Author – Jeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org
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