At the invitation of Bill Sulzen of Apex, NC, Ann and Annie Scheidler traveled to Raleigh September 26 and 27 to present a sidewalk counseling seminar. Bill did yeoman’s work in preparation for the seminar. Not only did he make all the arrangements with the Pro-Life Action League for Ann and Annie to come to Raleigh, he researched the files of the Wake County Superior Court to locate any lawsuits that had been brought against two of the abortion mills in the area.
Annie Scheidler and Steve Tracey with a NC Catholic reporter outside A Woman’s Choice abortion mill
[Photo by Ann Scheidler]
Bill photocopied the complaints from three lawsuits and sent them to Ann, so that she could summarize the points in the complaints. The procedure she had gone through could then be demonstrated at the seminar itself.
Upon the Scheidlers’ arrival in Raleigh, they were treated to a barbecue at the home of Frank and Peggy Fedorovich, where they met other members of the St. Andrew Respect Life Committee and learned about the activities that had taken place at A Woman’s Choice and Raleigh Women’s Health Center, two major abortion mills in the area.
Scheidlers Appeal to Clinic Worker
There had been some speculation that A Woman’s Choice might close down that Saturday due to the Scheidlers’ presence, but when Ann and Annie arrived at 8:00 a.m., the lights were on and the business was open, and clients soon began showing up. While a prayer group gathered on a grassy area in the center of a circular drive, Ann, Annie and a couple members of the Respect Life group positioned themselves next to the driveway entrance in order to catch the attention of clients heading to the clinic parking lot.
Shortly after they arrived, an employee of the clinic came out to talk with the Scheidlers. She was pleasant and open, explaining that she simply wanted to know what they were all about. She revealed that it is her job to count the baby parts after the abortion, and admitted that at first she found that difficult and even cried about it. But she said, “I’m over that now.” She told Ann and Annie that she had four children and went to church every Sunday and said that she was confident that “God forgives me, whatever I do.”
“God forgives me, whatever I do.”
— Abortion mill worker
Annie explained to her that it was dangerous to presume on God’s mercy and Ann told her that an important element of being forgiven is the firm resolve not to commit the sin again. As Annie pointed out, “You can’t keep hitting someone while saying you are sorry, and expect him to keep forgiving you for it when you refuse to stop.”
Fifteen minutes into the conversation, the employee admitted that she would really rather work somewhere else. Bill Sulzen gave her his phone number and promised to help her get another job. Ann pleaded with her to let the clinic’s patients know that there is help for pregnant women and that they don’t have to have abortions.
About fifteen clients came to A Woman’s Choice during the 90-minute on-site demonstration of the techniques of sidewalk counseling. Several took information or spoke with Ann, Annie or one of the local pro-lifers, but there was no clear indication that any of them had a change of heart. As usually happens at an abortion clinic, some of the women seemed hesitant to go through with the abortion, but they were reluctant to go against the will of the boyfriend or of their parents.
A Miraculous Save
Following the on-site sidewalk counseling session, the entire group retired to St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church Fellowship Hall for a seminar on sidewalk counseling. With thirty people in attendance, the Scheidlers showed the opening segment of the League’s No Greater Joy video and launched into the philosophy behind sidewalk counseling. They recommended that every pro-lifer go at least once in a while to an abortion clinic to be renewed in the commitment to the fight against abortion and to be reminded that in every abortion a real child dies and a real woman is wounded for life.
The seminar included several role-playing scenarios to familiarize the audience with the kinds of situations they will encounter at the clinic and to demonstrate that most encounters will not result in an immediate “save,” but that the attempt is nonetheless valuable. A lively question and answer segment concluded the seminar.
After the seminar, the St. Andrew’s Respect Life Committee hosted a subway sandwich luncheon. Sue Tracey arranged for the use of the Fellowship Hall and for the luncheon, which afforded everyone an opportunity to ask more questions and to elaborate on the ways to impact the community to help build a culture of life.
It was a special treat for the Scheidlers to see Tom and Regina Chadwick, long time supporters of the Pro-Life Action League and former neighbors of the Scheidlers. The Chadwick family, including six daughters and one son, now live in Cary, NC and are active with the St. Andrew Respect Life Committee. They also train young couples in Natural Family Planning.
On the Monday following the weekend seminar in Raleigh, Bill Sulzen received a phone call from a twenty-year-old woman who was nine weeks pregnant. She told him she had had two abortions previously, but wanted to keep this baby. She was open to looking at all her options, and Bill put her in touch with Birthchoice. How did she get Bill Sulzen’s number? She got it from the employee at A Woman’s Choice who had come out of the clinic to speak to the pro-lifers.
Praise God for the wondrous ways in which He works!
Links and Related Articles
- Scheidlers Present Sidewalk Counseling in Dayton—Article on another Ann and Annie Scheidler workshop from June 2003 Action News