Here at the Pro-Life Action League, we put a lot of time and resources into organizing “clinic witness” presence where people stand in prayer outside abortion clinics nationwide. Stories like Maddox’s are why. Maddox is the adorable baby boy on the left in the photo. The building on the right is where Maddox nearly lost his life. This is an e-mail I received recently:
Hi, my name is Stacy and I wanted to thank your group for saving my baby. I went to that terrible facility [Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Illinois] on a cold Saturday morning in November, scared to death and the first thing I saw driving in was the pro-life advocates standing in the lawn at 7am. I went in to the clinic, canceled my appointment, and walked out. I beeped at the group and gave them 2 thumbs up. One thumb for me, one thumb for my baby! My little guy is 16 months old now and a blessing from God. Thank you!
That’s right. Maddox is alive today, and his mother doesn’t have the life-long pain and guilt of an abortion on her shoulders, all because pro-lifers were outside that abortion facility praying. Nobody talked to her. Nobody waved signs at her. Pro-life people simply stood in witness to the fact that abortion is evil and that all human life is valuable. Their mere presence was enough to change a heart and save a life. This is by no means from the first time we’ve heard stories like this. For every woman who gets in touch with us to thank us for our presence outside abortion facilities, there are doubtless many more who changed their minds who we’ll never hear from.
If You Can Pray, You Can Save a Life
That’s why we believe the work of praying and sidewalk counseling outside abortion facilities is the most important work pro-life people can do. And it’s also the simplest. If you can stand and pray, you can save a life! Praying outside your local abortion clinic cannot be something someone else does. It has to be something you do. Do you know the location of the closest abortion facility to you? Find it and get out there. By far the most important times to be there are when women like Stacy are coming in for their appointments. Many clinics like Planned Parenthood will list the hours they perform abortions on their website. Find out what those times are if you can and try to be there during those hours. If you can’t make it then, going anytime the facility is open is better than not going at all. You don’t have to hold a sign, you don’t need any special equipment, and you don’t have to say a word. Just stand with a welcoming smile and talk to God for an hour. You can use organized prayers like the Rosary or just stand as a witness and pour your heart out to God for an end to the evil of abortion. Pray for the mothers coming to the clinic, for their babies, for the fathers, for their families, for the abortionists and the clinic workers, for the soul of our nation, for the building of a culture of life—or whatever God lays on your heart. Just be there and pray. Go for an hour a week, or an hour a month—whatever time you can spare. But go.
Rewards Deferred Are the Nature of the Game
Maddox on his first birthday.
It’s the nature of pro-life work that we don’t usually see results or rewards of our work right away, and that makes sense. Women seeking abortions are in an uncomfortable situation that they’re probably not eager to speak about with strangers. If they decide not to go through with an abortion, they probably hope to never speak of it again. Most of the results will in all likelihood remain hidden in this lifetime. But stories like Stacy’s are a great encouragement because they show that prayer at the abortion clinic actually saves lives and changes hearts. Sometimes it feels like time wasted, but nothing could be further from the truth. Maddox and Stacy are living proof. And the results of not praying at your local clinic can be a motivator as well, though a sad one. We once heard from a woman in Washington state who called our office in tears. She had had an abortion years before and demanded to know why there were no pro-lifers outside the clinic the day she had her abortion. She had come to it see as a grievous and horrible thing that haunted her and weighed on her soul. She said she would never have gone through with it if there had been somebody there. Don’t let that happen where you live. Be a light. Be a witness for life. Get to your local abortion clinic and pray like lives depend on it. Because they do.