JT shoots video in Denver, CO —Photo by Eric Scheidler
A question I frequently am asked by fellow pro-lifers is “What got you involved?” Sometimes they ask this about my work as a sidewalk counselor in Chicago, other times about my videotaping of prolife events in Aurora. My answer for either question is the same: “I was invited!”
This answer may seem simple, but it’s worth reflecting upon. I decided to be a part of this cultural war against abortion—and join forces with so many wonderful people in the pro-life movement—all because someone took the time to ask me. I’ve experienced what can happen when we simply spread the word about pro-life.
I Saw the Need for Witness
While I had always considered myself to be pro-life, I had never really acted on my pro-life beliefs until five years ago, when a friend who prays weekly in front of clinics asked me to join him. It was a simple gesture that changed my life.
I went with him for a short hour of prayer at a Chicago abortuary, and saw firsthand what takes place there. Contrary to typical media portrayal, angry confrontations and threatening rhetoric were nowhere to be found. Instead I saw women shuffling into the clinic, boyfriends waiting anxiously outside and pro-lifers praying and peacefully urging them to choose life. I saw the need for witness—the need to be there for the mothers, the fathers, the babies—and the need to explain the truth of abortion with compassion and sincerity.
After observing an abortion clinic firsthand, the reality of the situation finally sunk in. Abortion is not a debate topic. It’s not a political issue. It’s not someone else’s problem. Real lives are at stake and real people fight to make a difference. There was no reason I couldn’t join them. So I did.
I’ve been praying and sidewalk counseling at that clinic for five years now, and I can honestly say it is the best thing I’ve ever done—and it all came from one simple invitation to pray.
Using Video To Spread the Word
This pattern was repeated more recently when the controversy began in Aurora over the opening of Planned Parenthood’s new facility there. I had received e-mails about the fraud and deception behind the construction of the abortuary, and the round-the-clock prayer vigil then underway to stop it. But I doubted anything could slow the Planned Parenthood juggernaut. Boy was I wrong!
It wasn’t until a friend invited me to join him for a vigil prayer hour that I actually got involved. Like before, something changed for me when I actually saw the site. The sheer size of the building is shocking—it’s aptly called the “Abortion Fortress”. After that first hour of prayer, I came back the next week to participate in a huge rally for life.
Before I realized it, I was driving the hour from my home to Aurora every few days—for rallies, press conferences, city council meetings and prayer sessions—capturing video clips to post online for all to see. Mainstream media reports of our activities are often misleading at best, but these videos show the truth: that the pro-life movement is strong, motivated, prayerful and peaceful. I’m playing a small part in the vast outpouring of pro-life support in Aurora, and it was a simple invitation to help that brought me into it.
Ask a Friend To Join You
There is so much good taking place within the pro-life movement, and we can be proud to ask others to join us. We host prayer vigils, fundraisers, rallies, education sessions and chastity talks—and for each one of these, a friend of yours may just be waiting for an invitation.
We can tell expectant mothers of the wonderful services available at pro-life women’s centers, or welcome a friend to join us in volunteering at one. Even at the clinics, so many turn-aways occur when we simply invite the mothers to pray with us or offer words of support.
A willingness to share our pro-life convictions truly can change lives. The simplest of invitations changed mine, and I’m convinced that there are many others who would be grateful for the same encouragement to join us in the fight for life.
JT Eschbach is a 35 year-old pro-lifer from Hoffman Estates, IL. In addition to his sidewalk counseling and video efforts, he has conducted League-sponsored sidewalk counseling seminars and traveled with League staff to Georgia, Colorado, and Washington, DC.