Des Moines Tackles Sidewalk Counseling Hurdles

Ill is a pro-lifer in Des Moines, IA working with a small but determined group of activists. Last summer she joined the League’s Face the Truth Tour in Chicago for a day with her son and daughter and a few friends.

Linda goes to the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Des Moines to pray and to alert potential clients and the general public to the truth about abortion. Several different groups gather at the Planned Parenthood site on different days, but there has not been a coordinated approach to the prayer and counseling efforts.

Scheidler Talks Strategy

Linda invited Ann Scheidler to conduct a workshop in sidewalk counseling in Des Moines in hopes that the efforts of all the pro-lifers could be more effective. Ten stalwarts joined Linda and Ann for the workshop. These are the people who will make a difference in Des Moines in the months ahead.

Scheidler visited the Planned Parenthood clinic prior to the workshop to assess the challenges that the location presented. The building is set far back in a small shopping mall with no public sidewalk near enough to talk to anyone going into the clinic. The highway, however, with a frontage road access, provides an excellent place to post graphic signs and messages.

Having inspected the site, Scheidler advised the group that the location was best suited to a general education effort rather than a regular sidewalk counseling program. She recommended using large black and white signs featuring a pregnancy assistance phone number. She told the pro-lifers that their signs should have no more than six words so that they were easily readable by passing motorists. Graphic signs depicting the results of a first trimester abortion would also be effective at the site and might be the only way to touch the hearts of the women heading to Planned Parenthood.

Scheidler also recommended that the leaders of the counseling effort meet with the business owners in the mall to educate them on Planned Parenthood and what the pro-lifers are trying to accomplish. Perhaps one of the businessmen will be willing to cooperate with the pro-lifers to help inform women about the help available at crisis pregnancy centers and to put Planned Parenthood out of business.

Don’t Ignore Birth Control Clinic

Planned Parenthood also has a Des Moines location that is not an abortion clinic, but dispenses information and birth control. Scheidler recommended that the pro-lifers maintain a presence at that site as well since many women may come there for birth control or other information. At that site public sidewalks give easy access to speak to anyone coming to the center. It is always best to reach a woman before she is on her way to an abortion clinic.

The Des Moines activists each received a copy of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants prayer book, which provides three hours of prayers, hymns and Scripture readings specifically for use at abortion facilities. They are eager to launch a coordinated project aimed at ridding Des Moines of Planned Parenthood.

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