League Co-Sponsors Dynamic Sidewalk Counseling Workshop

Coalition for Life St. Louis director Brian Westbrook (second from right) joins pro-lifers at 40 Days for Life site in Chicago 

Coalition for Life St. Louis director Brian Westbrook (second from right) joins pro-lifers at 40 Days for Life site in Chicago, October 25

The Pro-Life Action League teamed up with the Women’s Centers of Greater Chicagoland and the Respect Life Committee of St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Hinsdale, Illinois to present a sidewalk counseling workshop at the parish on Saturday, Oct 25.

The seminar, attended by 40 eager-to-learn pro-life activists, featured Coalition for Life St. Louis founder and director Brian Westbrook, who has done extensive research on best practices for reaching abortion-bound women and their companions.

At the seminar, Brian provided plenty of great ideas for sidewalk counselors to increase their chances of reaching those women who so desperately need hope and compassion if they are to choose life for their unborn babies. He also emphasized projecting a joyful countenance, greeting clients, clinic staff and escorts with a smile.

Brian has been very successful with this approach at the only abortion clinic in the entire state of Missouri, Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. He also works with a mobile ultrasound unit on site. Mobile ultrasound is relatively new in the Chicago area and was the motivation for inviting Brian to come to Chicago to teach his technique.

While in Chicago, Brian visited five area abortion clinics in order to get a sense of what challenges the local sidewalk counselors face. He was truly impressed with the 40 days for Life site outside the Albany Medical/Surgical Center abortion facility on Chicago’s Northwest Side where, for the third year in a row, a large Divine Mercy image is displayed across the street from the abortion clinic parking lot.

During our visit there, the abortion clinic staff—as they are wont to do—called the police to complain that some people were praying in the alley. Clinic staff often call the police for this and other minor complaints. Police response varies, with some officers saying it is forbidden to stand in an alley and others saying it is fine as long as the alley is not blocked.

In this particular case, a Chicago police officer insisted that no one could stand in the alley. Although he was very friendly, he did order the sidewalk counselors and prayer supporters to move—thus giving Brian a firsthand look at the challenges faced by sidewalk counselors in Chicago as a result of the city’s “bubble zone” ordinance.

If you are interested in learning more about Brian Westbrook’s sidewalk counseling techniques, please email me.

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