Fort Pierce, Florida has an intersection—12th and Delaware—so unusual that it became the title of an HBO “documentary.” That corner houses both an abortion clinic and a pro-life pregnancy resource center.
Pro-lifers have gathered in front of A Woman’s World Medical Center, the abortion facility, for several years, trying to steer clients across the street to the Pregnancy Care Center. But they have had limited success and some disagreement over the most effective strategy. So Anne Lotierzo, the director of the Pregnancy Care Center, invited me to conduct a sidewalk counseling seminar in Fort Pierce.
I was met at the airport on May 11 by Lisa Buss, a colleague of Anne’s and administrator at a satellite of the Pregnancy Care Center. We joined a contingent of pro-life activists at the Cracker Barrel (coincidentally my husband Joe’s favorite place to eat) including Jim Thoma, a high school teacher and veteran pro-lifer who hails originally from the western suburbs of Chicago and has prayed and protested outside Planned Parenthood’s mega-center in Aurora on family visits.
I stayed at the home of Dom and Jackie Buccola in Port Lucie. As I always find on these pro-life trips, my hosts were exceptionally gracious and accommodating. After morning Mass, Dom and Jackie drove me to the Juan Diego Pastoral Center for the sidewalk counseling seminar.
The Challenges at 12th and Delaware
A small but committed group attended the seminar and had many questions about various techniques.
For instance, since they have little opportunity to speak to the clinic clients, some of the prolifers have resorted to calling admonitions and advice through the window of the waiting room. I cautioned that this approach would not be particularly useful, though they do claim to have saved a baby in this way.
The subject of graphic images also came up, as it usually does in a discussion of sidewalk counseling. I explained how these pictures can be effective, but should not be carried by any counselor hoping to engage an abortion-bound woman in conversation.
But in a situation like theirs, with limited access to the abortionbound clients, the graphic image of a baby in the womb, contrasted with an abortion picture, and a phone number for help, can be a good way to reach them.
Following the seminar, Anne gave me a guided tour of the Pregnancy Care Center. They happened to have the missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on display in the waiting area, so I had an opportunity to pray a Rosary there for everyone involved in the fight to protect unborn life.
Turtles Safer than Unborn Babies
With a few hours to spare before my flight home to Chicago, Dom and Jackie took me to the beach, where a good friend of theirs runs a snack shop.
During our long walk along the beach, I noticed several cordoned off sections protecting the spots where giant sea turtles have buried their eggs. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tracks the turtles, protects their nests and requests that no bright lights be shined on these locations during the two-month incubation.
Isn’t it interesting that it is safer to be a sea turtle egg in Florida than a baby in the womb?