Scheidlers Present Sidewalk Counseling in Dayton

At the invitation of Emily Sederstrand of Dayton, OH, Ann and Annie Scheidler presented a sidewalk counseling workshop to an audience of twenty-five at the First Baptist Church in Dayton on Monday, June 9.

Dayton Trip

Elizabeth Braun, Emily Sederstrand, Annie and Ann Scheidler at the First Baptist Church in Kettering, OH near Dayton

Dayton is the home base of notorious abortionist Martin Haskell, inventor of the gruesome partial birth abortion. Haskell’s clinic is the last of four clinics left in Dayton. His Dayton Women’s Med Center is headquarters for the D&X or partial birth procedure.

Sidewalk Counseling Workshop

There has been a pro-life presence outside Haskell’s mill for several years, but there has been no concerted or organized sidewalk counseling program. Emily and her associate, Elizabeth Braun, were eager to make the efforts at the mill more effective. After viewing the League’s video “No Greater Joy,” they invited the Scheidlers to come to Dayton to present the Chicago Method and Helpers approach followed by an on-site training at the abortion mill the next morning.

Pastor Ballard of the First Baptist Church was delighted to host the sidewalk counseling workshop Monday night. He and his church have been active in the abortion battle. In attendance were some who have regularly prayed or counseled at the abortion clinic as well as newcomers.

Ann and Annie explained the rationale behind sidewalk counseling and advised the audience that all pro-lifers should visit an abortion mill from time to time to remind themselves that the battle is about real women and real babies—life and death. They described the Chicago Method and the theory that once a woman has arrived at the abortion clinic, she has already mentally aborted the baby and is, at that point, mainly concerned for herself. Alerting her to the dangers of abortion and the lawsuits that other women have brought against the abortion clinic may cause her to rethink her decision.

Together they role-played an interaction with an abortion-bound woman. They used different techniques to dispel her fears and excuses for going into the clinic.

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Making It Work on the Street

The next morning, the Scheidlers joined about ten people in front of Women’s Med Center and put the ideas in their presentation into practice. Annie suggested that the prayer group move further from the entrance and pray quietly in order not to distract the women being counseled, as their purpose is not to provide volume but to support the counselors and intercede for the women. Then she situated the counselors so they could better speak to the clients as they made their way from the parking lot to the guarded doorway, limiting the number of counselors to two or three.

During the workshop Ann had recommended that sidewalk counselors not carry or wear anti-abortion signs while attempting to talk with the women at the clinic. One individual was initially wearing a sandwich sign at the clinic, but put it away when she took up her station to counsel. This counselor noted that two of the three clients who were seen entering the Med Center were on their second day of the procedure. One young lady, accompanied by her mother, was clearly in a great deal of pain, nearly doubled over as she made her way to the entrance.

It is ominous to stand in front Martin Haskell’s death center—a dark brown, cold and sterile building with a security guard and locked door. Clients must press a buzzer and be admitted by the guard.

Great Crisis Pregnancy Support in Dayton

Directly across the street from Haskell’s clinic is the Women’s Support Center, a pro-life pregnancy assistance center. The Women’s Support Center offers free pregnancy tests and counseling sessions, as well as ultrasound on site. Director Lee Carter invited Ann and Annie to tour the facility, a very warm and impressive place. Women’s Support Center has recently affiliated with the larger Elizabeth’s New Life Center, which the Scheidlers also toured during their stay in Dayton.

Following the morning at Haskell’s mill, the Scheidlers were treated to brunch with several pro-life leaders of Dayton, including Julie Penno, Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life, Rosie Prier and Debbie Nieport from Elizabeth’s New Life Center, Lee Carter, Director of the Women’s Support Center, Emily Sederstrand, Linda Schindler and Jo Ann Rohrer, Executive Director and Founder and President of the Miami Valley Women’s Center, a CareNet pregnancy assistance center, as well as Peggy Lehner, a Kettering City Councilwoman and past president of Dayton Right to Life.

The Dayton area is blessed with dedicated missionaries in the pro-life movement. Ann and Annie felt privileged to contribute to their fruitful efforts.

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