On February 26, the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia held a Sidewalk Counseling Training to provide attendees with advice on the best ways to effectively witness outside an abortion center. Here are some of the main points Dr. Monique Ruberu shared during her presentation:
1.) It’s all about love, generosity and compassion. Speak in a calm and loving voice to ask, “Are you here to have an abortion today? If so, can I give you some information?” If an abortion center escort is screaming into the woman’s ear so that your words can be ignored, then you whisper in a really urgent voice, “Look I’m just here to offer you resources. You’re an adult; you can decide what you want to read and what you don’t want to read. They obviously don’t want you to read the information I have, but I think it’s really important for you. They are going to try to take this away from you, so put it in your jacket or purse to hold onto it.”
2.) Your priority is to help women and babies. If someone is unkind to you, you have to let it go. You have to completely empty yourself and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit for any hope to pick the right words to say at the right time, that intuition of when to walk up to somebody, or when to stand still and just pray.
3.) Use these opportunities to educate people. Talk to individuals in a respectful way pertaining to the number of abortions happening at their local Planned Parenthood. You’re not there to talk about politics, or to catch up with friends who are also witnessing at the same time. Time is precious; make your moments count with people who approach the abortion clinic.
4.) Show you care. Be aware of how you dress so you look friendly and approachable. If there is a nearby pregnancy resource center that can also convince a woman to choose life for her unborn baby, ask the question, “Would you consider coming to a crisis pregnancy center with me first, and then you can always go to your scheduled appointment afterward?” This question may actually provide an internal sigh of relief for the woman if she felt unsure or alone in her initial decision, but knows you’ve offered to accompany her inside a pregnancy center. Your compassion and resourcefulness may help the woman realize alternatives are available and prompt her to change her mind.
5.) Have emergency contact information in your phone. Always keep your phone on hand. It is highly encouraged to have 40 Days for Life leaders’ phone numbers saved in your phone in case you need to call or text them with any questions or concerns.
6.) The police are there to protect everyone. If police officers are present, know that their primary duty is to keep everyone safe (those who are pro-life and pro-choice). Make sure you stand on public property (the sidewalk), stay courteous, and don’t push or shove anyone. If you follow these simple guidelines, there’s absolutely no need to worry. Just be kind and express appreciation for their presence as they do their job.
To learn more information about Sidewalk Servants, watch our video series at prolifeunion.org/outreach/sidewalk-servant.