Young pro-lifers a powerful witness at Chicago abortion facility
By Matt Abbott
Every Saturday, dedicated pro-lifers - women and men - pray and sidewalk counsel at Chicago area abortion clinic, hoping to persuade the abortion-bound women not to go through with the procedure.
At a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in downtown Chicago, a group of young adults provides the weekly pro-life witness. And at the same time, individuals working or volunteering for Planned Parenthood act as "escorts" for the clinic's patrons.
Sad stories are not uncommon in this endeavor, including one told by Kelly (last name withheld per request), a regular pro-life witness at the clinic.
"This teenaged boy abruptly came out of the [Planned Parenthood clinic]," recounted Kelly. "I did not ask him his age, but there was no way he was over 17. He was crying, very pale and shaking."
Kelly continued: "I stopped my prayers and walked up to the boy...and asked him if I could do anything for him. I looked into his eyes and realized that he knew that his child had been killed."
Kelly then recounted that the young man subsequently fell to his knees and began to vomit, before going back into the clinic.
"[The young man] came out about 15 minutes later," Kelly said. "This time he looked completely blank...I walked up to him again asking him if he was okay. He looked at me and said that he was okay, that he realized he had no choice, that what was needed to be done was done, and all he could do was to live his own life on a daily basis."
Tessa (last name withheld per request), another regular pro-life witness at the downtown Planned Parenthood clinic, provided a brief history of the group.
Two years ago, several pro-life young adults started the "Young People for Life" initiative, in which each participant was assigned a day to fast for the end to abortion. In addition, they started to pray and sidewalk counsel in front of the clinic.
"Then in January 2004 we implemented the Mother Teresa Project, a ministry under the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago," Tessa said.
"Each parish has an assigned abortion clinic to pray for its conversion. St. Mary of the Angels [the parish with which many in the group are associated] has 'adopted' Planned Parenthood. 'Young People for Life' and the Mother Teresa Project have...merged into each other at St. Mary's."
The young adults use the prayer books and methods of Julie McCreevy, pro-life activist and director of the Chicago chapter of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants, the "sidewalk counseling division" of Joe Scheidler's Pro-Life Action League (www.prolifeaction.org).
Said Tessa: "There are usually about 10 [pro-lifers] praying while one or two...try to hand potential Planned Parenthood clients information about abortion. We also offer them information about the lawsuits that have been filed against that particular clinic as well as alternative places that they could go for help."
Despite being mocked by patrons and hindered by the abortion clinic "escorts," Tessa finds the overall experience very rewarding.
"I would like to encourage people to come out to pray with us. Often times we think of the abortion clinic as Calvary. Praying in front of clinics has changed my life, and I think it is a great way for people to grow closer to Christ."
Tessa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Abbott - Author,
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