Don't Panic: The Sidewalk Counselor's Guidebook

Author: Judith Fetrow



As a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Specialist, Judith worked as an abortion counselor and as a surgical assistant during abortion procedures. This brought her face to face with what abortion is, the killing of a child.

When Judith worked for Planned Parenthood, pro-life activists would often ask her when she thought life began. She would answer, "Life begins at conception and what I do is murder." However, during the fall of 1990 Judith met a sidewalk counselor who became her friend. It was through this friendship that she came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and quit her job at Planned Parenthood.


To Laura-belle, who took the risk and loved me as Jesus would- "I love you more than life itself." And Laura's family (Roy-boy, Jayde-inski, and Jesse-bug), thanks for being my family and teaching me how to love again. I am also grateful to my church, Celebration Christian Center in Livermore, California, for their love, their prayers (even when I was still working for Planned Parenthood), and for their support- I miss you guys. To all the pro-life, anti-abortion activists and sidewalk counselors who have given up their security, their homes, and their reputations to follow God- you are my heroes. Additionally, this book is for Elizabeth in New Jersey- I hope and pray it makes a difference. I also offer up my heart felt thank you's to Rob and Joan. Joan, thanks for repeatedly saying the things I needed to hear- and for translating Texas evangelspeak. And Rob, thanks for being such a great big brother, mostly, thanks for telling me that I was not out of pro-life when I kept telling you,"I quit"- and for accepting all of those latenight collect phone calls. To Suzanne for being my Texas mom-"poor, poor Suzanne." To Karla and Rob for the fun times and the laughs, to the Fickers for watching the blue beast (forever), to Mikey for Disneyland, to the Clemmons for being true Texans and true Christians. To Sally, my favorite midwife, for salt and wisdom. To Janice and Jeff for sitting on the roof and all the other weird things you've done. To Steve, Darwin, Lynn, Greg, and Faith, Pastor Tim, and all the other folks whom God used to bring about my salvation- thanks for your obedience. To Jerry, for believing in me when I was too thrashed to go on. To Josh, you will always be my favorite-Christianity needs more like you-thanks for "no compromises on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." To all the folks out there who have sacrificed to support us- thanks for the meals, sleeping place, gasoline, cash, love, prayers, etc.- we could not have done this without you. But mostly to the Lord Jesus Christ who loved me enough to come to a Planned Parenthood facility to claim for me His own-I will be eternally grateful for that Love.-Judith -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents FOREWORD GOALS OF TRAINING UNITY CLINICS AS A MISSION FIELD QUALITIES OF EFFECTIVE SIDEWALK COUNSELORS WHO IS THE WOMAN EXPERIENCING A CRISIS PREGNANCY? WHAT IS A "CRISIS PREGNANCY"? STEPS TO CRISIS INTERVENTION LISTENING OPEN QUESTIONS HOW TO RECOGNIZE HER WHO IS THE CLINIC WORKER OR VOLUNTEER? OPENING LINES ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS? METHODS OF ABORTION EMOTIONAL ASPECTS OF ABORTION END WITH EVANGELISM ALTERNATIVES ABORTIONISTS' VIEW OF CHRISTIANS THE CHICAGO METHOD ROLE PLAY CONCLUSION A NOTE FROM HOLLY TRIMBLE --------------------------------------------------------------------------


This is a book for those people who feel they are called to go to the abortion centers to counsel women, but have not gone because they didn't know what to say. We have put together this book, and training for sidewalk counselors, to help people who are in that dilemma. It is easy to let our insecurity restrain us from action. Excuses are numerous when the costs are high. The truth is that thousands of babies die every day, and they can't hear our excuses. If you think of sidewalk counseling as crisis evangelism, and you think of the mother as a respected friend, you will find that counseling women is easy. There is no other place where you will find such a dramatic need for Christ. The abortion centers of this country are the new mission field. God is looking for missionaries to go forth and preach the Gospel. If we dare to call ourselves Christians, which means being Christ-like, we have a responsibility to make disciples of the world starting in our neighborhoods-at our doorsteps. We have written this book because we wanted to share our knowledge, and our hope. As a former Planned Parenthood worker, Judith has, from the inside of an abortion facility, observed what tactics work. As pro-life activists we have seen, from the outside of abortion facilities across the country, what tactics work. We hope and pray that our trial-and-error experiences will help future counselors to get around the blocks and dead-ends that we have encountered. It is always hoped that the student will surpass the teacher because the student can draw on the teacher's experiences and not make the same mistakes. This book may help achieve the same thing. Additionally, all too often, if we don't see results, we think that we have no effect. Please remember that just because a woman goes into an abortion facility does not mean that she will have her abortion. There were many times when Judith was working in the abortuary and women got off the table just prior to having their abortions. We do have an effect, even if we don't see it-remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- GOALS OF TRAINING

Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.(Matthew 10:16)

We hope that through this book each person will find the style of counseling that God has given him. Each of us has a personality type, and a style of counseling, that is his own. What works for Joshua does not work for Judith; what works for you will be as individual as your fingerprints. This book emphasizes the individual talents and gifts that God has bestowed upon each counselor. Through training, we hope you will utilize these gifts and talents to the greatest extent possible. We also hope and pray that training will prevent the severe burnout rate that has occurred among many counselors. As with anything, practice will hone your skills and cause you to look to the Lord instead of to the circumstances surrounding you. Remember, none of us started out as "good" sidewalk counselors. The only way to become an expert sidewalk counselor is to go out and counsel women and their partners at the clinics. Like the Lord's prayer, this book is only a pattern for the counselor's use. It is important, as will be stressed throughout this book, to develop your own counseling style. When we are in front of the clinics, we are to be driven by love, compassion and obedience, not anger and obligation. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- UNITY

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6)

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (I Corinthians 1:10)

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us . . . (Romans 12:4-6)

Jesus told us that a house divided against itself cannot stand; that is true of the Church and of the pro-life movement. If we are in front of the abortuaries and are not of one accord, God cannot use us, and we will get trounced. Rather than look to our differences, we need to accentuate the similarities in our faiths, primarily that Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose on the third day is our Lord and Savior.

In the past there has been backbiting and judgment among brothers and sisters who share a concern for, and dedication to, God's precious preborn children. We must stop attacking one another and attack our real enemy-Satan-the father of lies. We are called to love one another and to support one another. And, as our grandmothers always said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all . . ."

Imagine the awesome work that God could do if we were not wounding our own and leaving them on the battlefield to slowly bleed to death. Some of our best warriors have been so wounded by their brothers and sisters that they have left the ministry, and some have even turned away from the Lord. Please, let's strive for love and unity at the abortion facilities. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- CLINICS AS A MISSION FIELD

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

The clinics present us with a tremendous opportunity to reach out to those people who will not come to our churches, and who seldom see God's love. It was the sinners, those who had little to do with the religious leaders of the time, whom Jesus sought to reach. At the killing centers, one may find the radical left, those involved in the occult, the walking wounded from churches (in some cases), the homeless, the clinic workers, the abortionists, the mothers, the fathers, the AIDS victims, and those who simply need the Lord.

Jesus dined with the publicans and sinners. He said that it was the sick who need a doctor; that situation has not changed. Christians know the truth of the Gospel, and we are convinced of its validity, but there is a world of people who do not have a revelation of the truth, and they deserve to hear it. The abortuary provides one of the largest cross-sections of people of any ministry field. This sounds like a good place to share the hope and life provided by Jesus Christ. What better place to show life and peace than a place of death and despair? Just as Jesus reached out to the thief on the cross, we should feel compelled to reach out to the abortion-bound mom, and the people who are leading her to destruction, those who press towards their own destruction.

Christ set an example of how we are to live. This includes ministering to those who make us uncomfortable, the socially undesirable, the religious outcasts-those who have not heard the truth. Do they not need Christ more than those who are already saved? It's time to get out of our armchairs and get back to the streets. Even if you do not feel a call to minister directly to the moms, you will definitely find someone to whom you are called to minister. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- QUALITIES OF EFFECTIVE SIDEWALK COUNSELORS


Empathy is the ability to understand what someone else is feeling and to communicate that you understand, while at the same time remaining objective enough to help them. If you understand your own feelings, you can generally empathize.

It is sometimes easier for us to turn away from people in pain, rather than reach out to them in their pain. It is difficult to hear the anguish and despair of another person, but we must hear that anguish if we are to minister to those who are hurting. Hearing someone's despair means really listening to his words and not assuming what he is feeling and what he is going to say. Scripture is always true, but there are times when people need to see Jesus in us, not our quoting Jesus at them. Holding a hand, or crying with someone, can often be better ministry. We cannot cringe at the pain that needs mercy, nor can we walk away from the burden that needs bearing. We are called to be the Lord's hands and heart to those who are hurting.

Empathy is not assuming that another person's reactions or emotions to a situation are the same as ours would be under the same circumstances. Our reactions may not be "proper," but those reactions must be dealt with because they are still genuine and valid. Sometimes we need to see the face of Jesus in the face of another person.

Please remember that someone else may not feel the way you would under the same circumstances. Although we must be involved enough to hear what is being said to us, and to make use of our own emotional experiences, we must also be detached enough to be able to tell the difference between our emotional experiences and those of the woman.

If you have unresolved abortion issues in your life, it is often difficult to effectively deal with another's pain until you have resolved your pain from your abortion experience. It is important to walk through a healing process before going out onto the streets, in front of the abortion facilities. Your local crisis pregnancy center will be able to assist you in finding post-abortion counseling services. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sincerity

Sincerity is the ability to be true and not hypocritical, honest and not false. Sincerity is being yourself and not hiding behind phony piety or defenses.

Although you may want to watch other sidewalk counselors and model your style after them, you do not want to try to be exactly like another sidewalk counselor. If you do model your style after someone else, this is fine. Within a short time, you will find that you have developed a style that is all your own. This style will be sincere and flexible because it will be modified by your counseling experiences. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Unconditional Acceptance

Unconditional acceptance is caring for and accepting the other person despite his lifestyle-accepting him despite his sin. Judith often says that her heart was touched by a pro-life activist who said to her, "Jesus calls us to hate the sin and love the sinner." She was touched by him because he did love her despite her job assisting in the killing of children. Remember, love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (I Corinthians 13:7). -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Humility

Humility is recognizing our own strengths and weaknesses. It is the evidence of respect for God and for the other person. God can use anyone in this woman's life; you are not responsible for her decision. You are not to blame if she has an abortion, nor are you to claim any glory if she does not. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Obedience

To love God is to obey Him. Our love for the Lord is evidenced in our obedience to Him and to the tasks He assigns us.

But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. (Jeremiah 7:23)

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)

Obedience to God is not a feeling; it is a state of being. It is a daily commitment to walk in the paths that God has set before us. Sidewalk counseling on a regular basis can be very frustrating. We must continually remind ourselves that we are out there in obedience to God, whether or not we see the results of our obedience. Obedience is not some warm, fuzzy emotion . . . it is continuing to step out and follow the Lord without regard for what we see, or for the circumstances. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Qualities Needed to Be an Effective Sidewalk Counselor

1. An effective sidewalk counselor must be familiar with what the Bible teaches on the sanctity of human life.

Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Jeremiah 1:4-6 The word of the Lord came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Galatians 1:15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me . . .

Psalm 127:3 Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

Leviticus 20:1-5 The Lord said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: Any Israelite or alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech."

Matthew 18:10 See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my father in heaven.

Isaiah 45:9-10 Woe to him who quarrels with the Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Do the clay say to the potter, "What are you making?" Do your works say, "He has no hands?" Woe to him who says to his father, "What have you begotten?" Or to his mother, "What have you brought to birth?"

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

2. A firm commitment to the pro-life position . . . even in the hard cases. Abortion is not the eraser that makes rape and/or incest disappear.

More information on how to counsel the rape and/or incest survivor is included later in this book. However, it is important to have some knowledge of what rape and incest are.

Rape is a forced sexual encounter against the will of the woman. You should not make a judgment about the woman's involvement in the situation, it is important that the woman clarify the situation and how she feels for herself.

Ask her is she is willing to tell you what happened. Listen to her carefully. Encourage her to continue to talk about what happened, even if the details make you uncomfortable; it is important that you not let your discomfort show. Assume that the woman was functioning well in her life until now and that all signs of distress are related to the rape. Be prepared to make a referral for additional counseling.

Incest and child sexual abuse are the sexual involvement of adults with children. All cases of child sexual abuse must be reported to the child protection agency in your area.

Take the time to discuss the rape and/or incest with the woman in a low key, undramatic manner. Avoid implying or suggesting perversity, unnaturalness, or illegality. Help her in planning how she will deal with the situation.

It is difficult to listen to the pain of a woman who has been raped; it is harder still when it is a child. However, it is important to not turn from the woman's pain. We are called to bear one another's burdens, to walk through the wilderness with those whom the Lord places in our path. If a woman discloses to you that she has been raped, she is placing her trust in you; she is also reaching out to you. This is not the time to offer pat answers. "Give it to Jesus" can often sound like "Don't give it to me, I don't want to hear it." "All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose" is true. However, the woman will receive this as your not being interested. Listening, showing compassion and love, and a simple "I am sorry that happened to you" will be more useful to the woman. We are called to weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn. There are no quick fixes for the pain of rape, incest, or sexual abuse.

3. A concern for the woman as well as for the child.

The uterus is a very strong muscle. You cannot reach through the woman to reach the child. You must reach the woman to reach the child.

4. Recognition of your own values and biases.

Values: A worthwhile principle or quality, something of importance.

We are more comfortable sharing ourselves with those people who share our values, those who hold dear the same things that we hold dear. This is not always the case with counseling; you will not always counsel women who share your view of the world. It is important to recognize our own values so that we can more easily accept the values of others. We may not agree with the woman's values, but if we can accept that they are her values at this point, we have a better chance of reaching her.

Biases: Prejudices; preconceived opinions.

It is important to recognize those things that we have strong feelings against. It is hard to hide a feeling of aversion from someone with whom you are counseling. The woman will feel your reluctance and lack of acceptance. Acknowledging our biases often makes them easier for us to accept in a counseling situation. However, if you have strong feelings and biases about someone, or about a lifestyle, it is often more productive to let someone who does not have the same strong bias counsel that individual.

5. A commitment to confidentiality.

Assume that everything said to you is said in confidence. When a woman shares something with you, it is important not to repeat what you are told. What is shared with you is between you, the woman, and the Lord.

6. Warm, caring people who relate well to others and sincerely enjoy others make excellent sidewalk counselors. A warm and caring spirit can be felt by the woman you are counseling. These qualities and attitudes are a gift from God to the woman. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- WHO IS THE WOMAN EXPERIENCING A CRISIS PREGNANCY?

Any woman can experience a crisis pregnancy. However, there are similarities among most women with a crisis pregnancy. She is usually from a single-parent home or a home where both parents work. There may be pressure from her partner, family or peers to abort. She may feel that she is trapped by circumstances and cannot continue the pregnancy (money, job, school, illness, drug use). Please remember she is bombarded by messages each day that encourage sex and abortion-on-demand. It is an education process to undo the messages that she receives from television, school, magazines, etc. Oftentimes, in front of the abortion clinic is not the place to begin this education process. It is better to direct the woman to the crisis pregnancy center in your area. They are better equipped to counsel and undo the damage done by the fallacies the woman has been fed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- WHAT IS A "CRISIS PREGNANCY"?

Any pregnancy that causes stress is a crisis pregnancy.

A crisis is defined as an event or series of consequences that threaten our well-being and interfere with our normal life. Some of the feelings associated with a crisis are anxiety, ambivalence, dependence, low self-esteem, anger, helplessness, detachment, fear and guilt.

Any pregnancy, even one that was wanted at the time of conception, can be a crisis pregnancy. The crisis will occur because the woman perceives the circumstances to be so hostile to her situation, her life, or her pregnancy that she must seek an escape. All too often, the way of escape for the woman appears to be abortion, even to women who would never before have considered abortion.

Society has pushed abortion as a cure-all for the woman in a crisis pregnancy. When people are faced with a crisis of any nature, they will respond by using the information they have been taught. They will look for the easiest answer possible. This mind-set will direct a woman on a single course of action, one that has been presented time and time again-the abortion option.

The crisis may interfere with the woman's normal ability to look at a problem and come to a rational decision. This does not mean that the woman is a "bad" person; rather, she is responding, in a very human fashion, to what has been presented as a threat -by seeking immediate relief. When confronting the crisis, it is essential to present simple, direct, clear and precise answers to the woman's situation. Lengthy oratories will only confuse the woman. Because of the need to find a clear answer in a crisis, it is important to deal with the prominent concern the woman has regarding her pregnancy. Helping the baby without helping the woman is doing a disservice to everyone. You cannot solve all the woman's problems on the street. You need only direct her to the crisis pregnancy center where the woman can receive the aid that she requires. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- STEPS TO CRISIS INTERVENTION

* Establish a rapport with the woman-make contact-smile and look her in the eyes.

* Help her to reduce her anxiety; allow the woman to talk out her feelings.

* Explore her circumstances with her-remember to stay focused on the issue.

* Encourage her to take action-give her a map to the crisis pregnancy center; go with her to call and make an appointment. If you can, accompany her to the crisis pregnancy center.

Crisis pregnancy centers exist to help women with the support necessary to continue their pregnancies. It is important that each woman who is turned away from an abortion center receive some type of information on the crisis pregnancy center closest to her; it is not the responsibility of the sidewalk counselor to support the woman throughout her pregnancy. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- LISTENING

"We who are strong ought to bear with the failing of the weak, and not to please ourselves." (Romans 15:1)

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

One of the greatest gifts you can give a woman in a crisis pregnancy is listening to her. The woman will be able to tell if you are really listening; not just by what you say in response to her, but by how you say it, in what she observes and senses in the way you react to what she says . . . verbally and nonverbally.

Our body language tells people if we are really listening, if we really care for them. How do you look? Are you relaxed? Do you seem open, smiling, friendly? Do you look like someone she could trust and respect? Do you seem interested in what she is saying, or are you obviously thinking about your next response? Are you looking her in the eye, or staring at the ground, watching the activity on the street, looking at your watch? Are you fidgeting? Fidgeting is a giveaway that you are feeling impatient. How is your voice? Are you strident or judgmental, or is your voice quiet and soothing? It's the easiest thing in the world to say that we understand and that we want to help, but does that show in how we hold ourselves? -------------------------------------------------------------------------- OPEN QUESTIONS

One technique of good listening is asking open questions. Open questions allow the woman to explore her feelings and do not guide the conversation along pre-established lines. There are no "correct" or "incorrect" answers to open questions; they do not direct the woman's thinking. Open questions show the woman that you respect her. If she feels respected, she will be far more willing to listen to you when you suggest that she accompany you to the crisis pregnancy center.

If your questions can only be answered with a "yes" or a "no," you will find you are asking question after question; you will be doing all the talking. Additionally, you will sound like a prosecuting attorney or an angry parent. This is not at all useful to the woman. Be silent after asking a question so that the woman has a chance to think about her response. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Here are some examples of open questions:

* When did you learn you were pregnant? * How did you feel? * How does your partner/mother/father feel? * How have other people reacted to your pregnancy? * How did you come to your decision to have an abortion? * What are your feelings about abortion? * Could you tell me more about that? * How did you feel when he/she said that? * Can you give me an example of that? * What do you mean by . . . ?

"Can you tell me?" and "Will you tell me?" allow the woman to say no, although she will generally answer you. It is very important when dealing with survivors of rape, incest or sexual abuse to allow them an opportunity to tell you no. These women need to have control of the sidewalk counseling situation; when you ask open questions, you give them that control. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- HOW TO RECOGNIZE HER

She is not the woman in the silk dress and the expensive shoes wearing the Planned Parenthood name badge. It is fairly easy to recognize a woman who is entering a clinic for an abortion. She will generally have someone with her, as she needs a ride home after the abortion. She will be told by the abortion center staff to "wear a comfortable, loose fitting, two-piece outfit, like a sweat suit." With younger teenage women, there will often be several young women walking together. Since teenage girls tend to release tension through giggling, expect them to appear lighthearted. This is a common reaction among very young women, so please do not be judgmental. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- WHO IS THE CLINIC WORKER OR VOLUNTEER?

Many clinic workers have had a previous abortion experience. A high percentage of the women who work at abortion facilities have child sexual abuse, incest or forcible rape in their backgrounds. Some of these women have grown up in alcoholic, emotionally abusive, or physically abusive homes.

When dealing with the clinic workers, please bear in mind that some of them are wounded women. Although their dedication to abortion is confusing for us, to them it makes sense. If you grow up in a home where "I love you" means "I can hurt you," a home where there is no safe place, a world of secrets and pain, where the only safe place is the company of other wounded women, then it is not reaching very far to come to the wrong conclusions- the wrong conclusions that killing children means saving them, and that women are safer, more autonomous, and better able to care for themselves in a dangerous world if they bear no children.

These of course are the wrong conclusions, but they are the wrong conclusions that come from a place of pain. We need to share the truth, and the love of Jesus, with these women if we are to successfully battle these wrong conclusions and help them combat the pain and fear in their lives. We need to love them as Jesus would-uncompromisingly, all-consumingly, and unconditionally. We need to love them with a love that they have never known, a love that will leave them standing in shame under the hand of the living God.

Other clinic workers become involved in abortion rights because they truly believe that they are helping women. For these clinic workers it is much more a political choice. They are involved because of their love and concern for women.

When we are in front of clinics and we hear the shouts of "murderer" and "the blood is on your hands," it is a knife that goes through us. These are women who need our compassion, they need our love, they need the healing power of a risen Savior. Yes, what they do, the wholesale slaughter of innocent children, is heinous. Yes, it must stop. But the way to stop it is to reach out in love, not to retaliate in anger.

Love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. We are not condoning sin, nor are we excusing sin. However, if we can get into the heads of the clinic workers, if we can understand the other side, we will be better equipped to battle our true enemy-the father of lies-Satan. We will also be better able to love the clinic workers as Jesus would-uncompromisingly, unconditionally, and all-consumingly. Remember, we are called to love the clinic workers. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- OPENING LINES

The best opening line is the one you come up with yourself. However, there are some opening lines that are not appropriate. "Please don't kill your baby," "I'll take your baby for you," and "You will still be a mother-the mother of a dead child," are not very productive if you want someone to stop and talk with you. The object of sidewalk counseling is to get the woman to stop and talk with you. We have seen some wonderful sidewalk counselors use very simple opening lines, so we have included some of our favorites.

* I'm not here to tell you not to have an abortion. However, I do have some information about this clinic that may be of interest to you.

* Excuse me, ma'am, can I get just a few seconds of your time . . . ah, c'mon, please . . .

* Will you talk to me for just a second? My boss is over there watching me, and the information I have for you really won't hurt you.

* Look, I know it's hot (or cold, or raining, or . . .), and you've already made up your mind, but I have some information on the medical malpractice suits against this clinic that I'd like to share with you.

* Hi, I'm giving this information to everyone who is going into this facility today-would you like some additional information?

* Can I get you to stop for just a second so I can give you some information that you won't receive inside this facility?

By the time a woman is approaching the doors of the abortion center she is determined to get inside. She has been warned that you, the radical anti-choice terrorist, are going to try to stop her. The way to disarm what the abortuary staff has told her about you is to be friendly. No one is expecting polite, kind, gentle people. That is not what they are shown on the news, and your quiet spirit will disarm them. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

It is important to know about the stages of pregnancy and fetal development when talking to some women. It is also important to understand the basic anatomy when discussing the possible complications of abortions. It is always best to know as much as possible about a subject you are discussing with someone; it never looks credible if you have no facts.

* Ovaries are the egg depositories where thousands of eggs are stored. The ovaries are located on either side of the uterus and are connected to the uterus by the fallopian tubes.

* Fallopian tubes are small tubes about the same diameter as a piece of raw spaghetti. The fallopian tubes connect the ovaries with the uterus. Because of the size of the fallopian tubes, they are easily damaged or, in the uterus, covered by scar tissue.

* The uterus is a muscle about the size of a woman's closed fist. This is where the fertilized egg (zygote) implants and grows for the next 38 weeks.

* The cervix is a small sphincter muscle the size of a quarter located at the bottom of the uterus. The cervix remains tightly closed until the third trimester of the pregnancy, when it softens to prepare for birth. Once a month one ovary releases an egg, which waits in the fallopian tube for fertilization. The entire system is geared for reproduction. At the time the egg is released, the uterine lining is best prepared to accept a fertilized egg. If fertilization does not occur, at the end of the menstrual cycle the uterine lining and the unfertilized egg are discarded and the process begins again.

If the egg is fertilized, the zygote will spend about six days traveling to the uterus. On approximately day seven, the zygote implants in the uterus and the placenta begins to form. The implantation takes about three days. When this happens, the woman's menstrual cycle is stopped. Shortly thereafter, when she misses her period, she will suspect that she is pregnant. The baby's cardiovascular system is the first to develop, and blood is being pumped by the third week. In the third week of pregnancy, the central nervous system is forming, and at 40 days, detailed EEG (brainwave) and EKG (heart tones) can be detected.

Between the fifth and eighth weeks, the face forms; ossification begins in the backbone vertebrae in the eighth week. This is the end of the embryonic stage. All major organs are formed, the skeletal system is established, blood is pumping, and the fetus responds to outside stimulus and resembles the baby we know it to be.

The renowned fetal stage is next, and will continue until the birth of the child ("fetus" is Latin for "little one.") During this time many changes will occur in the child, such as:

* the excretory system begins functioning in the ninth to twelfth weeks, with the formation of urine, which is excreted into the amniotic fluid;

* fingernails and toenails begin forming at ten weeks;

* between nine and twelve weeks, the sex of the baby is evident;

* at the 20th week, the hair on the baby is readily visible.

At the end of the second trimester, the baby is capable of sustaining life outside of the womb, with assistance. The third trimester marks maturation of lungs, liver, kidneys, and heart. Because the baby receives oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord, these organs need not develop earlier; they are needed to function outside of the womb more than inside. All of the systems in the body are functioning and getting the final nurturing they need before the baby is born. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?

Addressing the Abortion Option

Listen to the reasons a woman has for being at the abortion clinic. Do not trivialize her reasons; they are very important to her, and you are not in her situation. If you treat her answers lightly, she will not feel safe or respected, and she will go into the abortuary. You may want to describe the methods of abortion and the possible complications of those methods. Talk to her about the emotional complications of abortion. If you are a woman who has had an abortion, it may help to share some of your feelings about your abortion. This is a good time to evangelize. You do not need to hit her hard with the Gospel, but you can ask her how she feels about God. You can also ask her, "How do you think God feels about abortion?" Always let her know that you are telling her these facts because you care about her. Remember, if you are not sincere, if she does not feel safe talking to you, she will find the "safety" promised in the abortuary.

Letting her know the facts about abortion is important, but it is also very important that you acknowledge and talk about why she feels abortion is the answer to her crisis pregnancy. It is the job of the sidewalk counselor to relieve some of the pressures she feels. In order to find the pressures she feels, you must be able to listen. Try to find the greatest single problem she is encountering, reassure her that there is help for her in her situation. Do not give pat answers; you must reach her in her situation. No one else has her specific problem. If you can provide a path for resolution of some of her problems, the stress she feels will diminish. The woman may need a friend and little else. Therefore, treat every woman like a close personal friend. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- METHODS OF ABORTION

First-Trimester Abortions

During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, two types of abortion are performed: vacuum aspiration, and dilation and curettage. Most abortion centers use vacuum aspiration because it is cheaper, faster and easier to perform.

1. Vacuum Aspiration

The cervix is dilated with metal rods. A plastic tube, called a cannula, is inserted into the uterus. The tube is connected to a machine which works very much like a vacuum cleaner.

Many women are not prepared for this procedure because they have been told it is quick and easy. Women have also been told that the pain they will feel is similar to menstrual cramps, but a little more painful. They are reassured that they will be given a local anesthetic. Despite the use of a local anesthetic, many women find this method extremely painful.

The suction is quite powerful. It must pull the fetus and the placenta from the wall of the uterus, and also cut them into small enough pieces to pass through the cannula and tubing. At this point the doctor must scrape the lining of the uterus with a sharp instrument called a curette. The doctor will then suction again to be sure that no fetal tissue or parts remain in the uterus.

If even a tiny piece of tissue remains in the uterus, severe infection can develop. This infection can lead to bleeding, cramping, fever, and even sterility. It may result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an inflammation of the reproductive organs that can recur for years and cause scarring that makes it difficult to conceive a child. Infection may also be a sign that the uterus was injured. Surgery, and occasionally a hysterectomy, may have to be performed if prompt medical attention is not given to the problem.

Excessive, uncontrolled bleeding (hemorrhaging) can also occur during or after a suction abortion. The larger the fetus, the more of a chance there is of excessive bleeding, but any woman can suddenly start hemorrhaging during an abortion. Blood transfusions, which increase the risk of exposure to the HIV virus and hepatitis, may be needed.

There is also a risk that scar tissue will form in the uterus. During the pregnancy, the placenta roots itself into the wall of the uterus, and often after suctioning, the abortionist must scrape the wall of the uterus to remove all remnants of the placenta. This can leave areas where the normal uterine lining cannot grow again, making it difficult to conceive because the embryo cannot implant on the scar tissue.

Scar tissue may block the Fallopian tubes, either partially or completely. If the tubes are completely blocked, conception is impossible. If they are partially blocked, sperm may pass through the Fallopian tubes and fertilize an egg, but the zygote is then unable to leave the tube and move into the uterus. As the embryo starts to grow in the Fallopian tube, the woman may experience a great deal of pain. This condition is called an "ectopic" or "tubal" pregnancy. If the tube is not removed surgically, it will burst, resulting in internal hemorrhaging and possible death.

During the pregnancy, the uterus becomes softer, and easier to perforate. Perforations may be "mild to severe," and may also cause scarring and hemorrhaging. Remember which organs are nearby. If the abortionist is not careful, he can pull part of the intestine through the uterine wall. In the event of a perforation, it is sometimes necessary to remove the uterus to control bleeding.

2. Dilation and Curettage

Dilation and Curettage (D & C) is seldom used because the risks are higher than with vacuum aspiration. D & C is similar to the vacuum aspiration. The cervix is dilated so that surgical instruments can enter the uterus. Once the cervix has been sufficiently dilated, a curette is used to scrape the uterine wall to remove the placenta and any remains of the fetus.

This procedure takes longer to perform than suction aspiration, and anesthesia is almost always required. There is less bleeding and less chance of hemorrhaging, but in other ways the risks are greater. The cervix must be dilated more, thus there is a greater chance of damage to the cervical muscle. There is also a greater chance of the uterus being perforated.

Second- and Third-Trimester Abortions

Once the pregnancy is beyond 12 weeks, abortion becomes more difficult and the risks are greater. By 12 weeks, the baby has grown to about three inches long. The skeleton is hardening as bone replaces cartilage, and the skull is too large to pass through the cannula. The uterus is much larger, and there is a much greater chance of hemorrhaging. Four types of abortions are performed during the second and third trimesters: dilation and evacuation, saline instillation, prostaglandin, and hysterotomy.

1. Dilation and Evacuation

By 12 weeks the baby has grown to be about the size of a human palm. The bones are hardening, and the skull is too large to be passed through the cannula and tubing. The abortionist alternates between cutting and tearing the fetus into pieces and vacuuming out the contents of the uterus. The skull of the baby must be crushed with forceps and drawn out carefully, because the jagged pieces of bone can tear the cervix. This procedure is used most often in late abortions for two reasons: (1) it is believed to be safer for the woman, and (2) it ensures that the baby will be delivered dead. The risks of bleeding, infection, and perforation of the uterus are much higher than in a first-trimester abortion.

2. Saline

Because of the high incidence of maternal deaths, and live births of severely damaged babies, saline is rarely used anymore. Saline abortion is generally done after the 16th week of pregnancy, when there is enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. A long needle is inserted through the mother's abdomen directly into the amniotic sac. Some of the amniotic fluid is drawn out and replaced with a strong saline (salt) solution.

The saline is absorbed into the lungs and the digestive tract of the baby. The outer layer of skin is burned off by the high concentration of salt. It is a long poisoning process, and the baby dies slowly.

The woman suffers discomfort during this procedure. She can feel the baby struggle and sometimes go into convulsions. Saline solution also brings on labor, although other drugs are often used to speed labor. She will generally be in labor about 12 hours after the injection. This means that the woman is hospitalized overnight. Women are often left alone to deliver the aborted child. This can be an emotionally devastating experience.

Serious complications can occur with saline abortions. The saline solution causes a drastic change in the woman's blood-clotting ability. This means that it is very hard to stop any bleeding. If hemorrhaging occurs, the woman can die. Blood and amniotic fluid can embolize to the woman's lungs and/or brain, causing death. There is also a very high risk of infection following a saline abortion.

3. Prostaglandin Abortions

Prostaglandin is a synthetic hormone. It is usually injected into the womb and works by bringing on labor and causing the mother to deliver prematurely.

It causes severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It produces a very irregular or violent labor that can be both painful and frightening. A more serious complication after 20 weeks' gestation is rupture of the uterus, which occurs because of the violence of the labor. This can result in hemorrhage, hysterectomy, and death.

Although this method may seem less dangerous than saline, often living, very premature babies are delivered. Usually they do not live long; however, some abortionists leave them to die, or kill them directly, rather than transfer them to neonatal units where they can be cared for properly. With the lifting of restrictions on federal funding of fetal tissue research, these living children have been "harvested" for their organs.

4. Hysterotomy

This is much like a Caesarean section. The abortionist cuts through the abdomen and uterus, and removes the live baby. Various methods are used to kill the child. Many babies who are aborted by hysterotomy are old enough to survive if they were given proper medical treatment.

Hysterotomy is very rarely used, but this may change with the lifting of the ban on federal funding of fetal tissue research. It is also the riskiest of the abortion methods. It involves major surgery and, therefore, has much higher complication rates. Because of the risks and ethical issues involved in handling a live fetus, many abortionists refuse to perform hysterotomies. Legally, however, hysterotomies can be performed up to the end of the pregnancy.

In presenting the facts about abortion, it is important not to frighten or pressure the woman. Do not exaggerate the risks or play on her fears. Give her the facts, and allow the Lord to change her heart. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- EMOTIONAL ASPECTS OF ABORTION

The emotional and psychological aftermath of abortion is usually ignored or downplayed. It is important to warn women about the possibility of emotional difficulties after an abortion, and to be sure to give her a phone number she can call if she is having any difficulties. Share with her some of the symptoms that are common among post-abortive women.

* Depression: numbness, not being able to feel anything, withdrawal from others, frequent crying, suicidal thoughts or actions.

* Guilt and/or remorse: preoccupation with the baby, avoidance of pregnant women, babies, etc.

* Sleep disturbances: nightmares, sleeplessness, or sleeping too much.

* Anger, directed at themselves (leading to self-destructive behavior) or at others.

* Increased use of drugs, alcohol, food, etc., to escape the pain.

* Sexual dysfunction: decreased sexual desire, fear or anxiety every time a man touches her, pain with intercourse.

* Mourning: grieving over the child, often in dysfunctional ways, such as getting pregnant again to replace the child who was lost to abortion.

Abortion is the loss of a child. When a woman has a miscarriage, stillbirth, or a child who dies shortly after birth, her friends and family gather around her to give her support and comfort while she mourns her loss. Although the loss of a child is always painful, she is at least allowed to grieve openly. Women who have abortions do not get this support. They do not grieve openly, and they may feel complicit in the death of the child. It is very important that women know that the crisis pregnancy centers will help them with any post-abortion problems they may experience. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- END WITH EVANGELISM

Any counseling that separates the woman and her decision from the Lord is defeating. We are called to be the salt and light of the world. Our job as sidewalk counselors could be better described as that of crisis evangelists.

Matthew 28:19-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age." -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ALTERNATIVES

There are alternatives to abortion, and generally the best place for these alternatives to be discussed is the crisis pregnancy center. However, each sidewalk counselor should be aware of alternatives to abortion. Because the atmosphere on the street in front of the clinic is usually very stressful, this is not the proper place to discuss alternatives. The crisis pregnancy center with its stable, safe environment is the most appropriate place for the discussion of alternatives.

1. Foster care

The placement of the child in a temporary home until a final decision about placement can be reached. Foster care buys the woman time to make a decision or to change circumstances in her life. It is not the best alternative for the child and should be kept as brief as possible.

2. Adoption

Adoption is a permanent placement of the child. This can be done through an agency or independently; it can be an open or closed adoption arrangement. Often the birth mother can choose who will adopt her child.

3. Keeping the baby

Some women will decide to continue the pregnancy and raise the child themselves.

Whatever the woman chooses to do-foster care, adoption, or raising her child-we must allow her to make the choice with the support and counsel of people she trusts. This is why the crisis pregnancy centers are so important. They are specially trained to help women make these decisions, and then support women in their decisions. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ABORTIONISTS' VIEW OF CHRISTIANS

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are trained to be professionally friendly, and to appear to be the woman's best support during a crisis pregnancy. Please be aware of this when you are talking with a woman.

One in six abortions is performed on a woman who considers herself to be an evangelical Christian. Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are adept at persuading these women to have abortions.

Terry Beresford wrote a training manual for Planned Parenthood that is the recommended manual for training all abortion counselors. What she says about Christians is very telling:

Women who are Catholic, Southern Baptist or Mormon are the most likely to feel deep concern about their religious beliefs and the questions raised by contraceptive practice, pregnancy, childrearing, and abortion. You will want to distinguish between two types of religious concern. The majority of Catholic women (to choose Catholicism for our example) are just like all other women you counsel. They feel doubt and uncertainty about values and ethics; they are facing a difficult decision that has no absolute right answer; they feel ambivalence; they have concerns not only about pregnancy, but about family attitudes and traditions, self-image, their relationships and their sexuality. They may express their anxieties and fears largely in religious terms, but as you explore feelings with them, it becomes clear to you and to them that much of their feeling is because they are human rather than because they are Catholic.

A small number of women will be distressed because their beliefs, their education, and their upbringing have made them rigid personalities, prone to obsessive behaviors and feelings. They tend to suffer unduly from guilt in all aspects of their lives, and to be in constant fear of punishment and retribution. They are often the product of parochial schools and an authoritarian and restrictive, repressive home life.

You may be alerted by a single-mindedness in the woman's thought processes or talk. She may repeat words like sin, evil, destroy, suffer, punish and guilty many times with much feeling. She may speak little of her feelings but appear exceptionally rigid in body postures and gestures. Her problem is not her religious beliefs but her "religiosity" and rigidity of personality. This woman may need referral for more extensive counseling. A pastoral counseling center with a pro-choice philosophy or a priest or cleric with training as a therapist would be a suitable referral.

In his book The Abortion Practice, Warren Hern (the "father" of the "dilation and evacuation" abortion method) states:

Women with strong religious backgrounds hostile to abortion sometimes seek abortion for eminently practical reasons. There are a wide variety of attitudes concerning abortion among the many religious traditions and among the practitioners of each religious tradition. For some patients, it is enough to point out that religions differ in their views. For others, it may be helpful to have literature available from the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights and Catholics for a Free Choice. I have helped Catholic women find understanding priests with whom they can discuss their conflicts and feelings about abortion.

In this situation, it is most helpful to the woman to support her in determining how she feels about abortion and whether it is in her own best interest as well as the interest of others to have the abortion. These women, above all, should be made aware of all alternatives. Frequently, fear of discovery of their pregnancy if they continue it outweighs their fear of going against religious precepts.

A poignant experience in abortion is counseling someone who has been actively opposed to abortion or who has family members actively opposed to abortion. Anti-choice activists frequently have morbid fears and imaginations concerning the fate of the fetus or their own risk of death. People from highly conservative or traditional religious backgrounds frequently feel overwhelming guilt at having had sex or even considering abortion. With these patients, it is desirable to be especially supportive, particularly as they work through their excessive sense of guilt, emphasizing that no one else can make the decision for them but that making a decision to have an abortion does not mean that they are "bad" people. In Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark said, "I must be cruel only to be kind." Unfortunately, this is how many pro-life activists appear to the abortion clinic's escorts, workers, doctors, and the abortion-bound mothers. The shouts of "Please don't kill your baby; if you kill your baby, you are going to burn in hell" and "The blood is on your hands" are not terms of endearment. Statements such as these make us look like cold, uncaring, judgmental people who have a concern only for the baby. True, we do not wish to see that baby killed, but we must remember that if we do not change the hearts of the moms, and the hearts of the abortion workers, we will not help that baby.

When we appear to be concerned only with the baby, we validate everything that abortion industry has told the mother. If we do not show unconditional love, the mother who is experiencing a crisis pregnancy will find a place and people who will "love" her and care about her. Unfortunately, that place is inside the abortuary. Christians have a legacy of "emotional brutality" to overcome. We have been portrayed as harsh, unloving judges. When we shout at the moms and the abortion workers, we only perpetuate this belief . . . and we make it a fact. Everything we do should be done in love and with gentleness. We are called to make disciples of all the world, not to judge and berate them.

I Corinthians 31:1, 4-7 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal . . . Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." -------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE CHICAGO METHOD

The Chicago method is simply handing out a list of medical malpractice suits against a specific clinic, as well as deaths that have occurred there. This involves a little research at your local courthouse, but it is time well spent.

Abortion is a selfish act. By the time a woman gets to the clinic for her abortion, she has emotionally distanced herself from the child she is carrying. It does little good to address the humanity of her child or the inhumanity of abortion. The Chicago method appeals to the woman's instinct for self-preservation. Although she may not want to be pregnant, she does not want to be hurt, and she certainly does not want to die.

The Chicago method also reaches the clinic workers. The average clinic worker does not know that there are medical malpractice suits against the clinic where she works. Although a worker may accuse you of lying when you first hand her a list of lawsuits, it will often be the start of her questioning what she sees at her clinic. Once a worker begins to question what she is experiencing, the fabric of lies and half-truths begins to unravel.

For more information on the Chicago method, you can contact: Pro-Life Action League; 6160 North Cicero Avenue; Chicago, IL 60646; or telephone 312-777-2900. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ROLE PLAY

When you are in front of an abortion facility, you have about 10 seconds to engage the woman in conversation. Usually you will only have time to hand her a piece of literature. However, it is important to know what to say when a woman does stop to talk with you.

There are no formulas for the right thing to say in a given circumstance. We have put together some responses to statements that we have heard at the clinics. Our responses may not be appropriate for your situation. It is important that you not rely on a scripted answer-each woman, each situation, is different and requires a different response.

Always remember that we are called to obedience, not to results. You may be in front of a clinic for months with no one even accepting a piece of literature. It is easy to lose hope when we feel like we aren't making a difference. However, you do make a difference every time you are out at an abortion facility. We must be steadfast, committed, and firm in the faith.

1. I'm too young to be pregnant. It's safer to have an abortion at my age than to have a baby.

* This is a good time to show her the list of medical malpractice suits against the clinic. The suits make it clear that abortion is not a safe procedure.

* Explain the risks of abortion and talk about the complications of abortion. Do not do this in a manner that frightens the young woman.

* Find out what assistance she would need to continue her pregnancy, and encourage her to go to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

2. I'll lose my boyfriend (or husband) if I have this baby.

* Find out if this is what her boyfriend (or husband) has actually said, or if this is her supposition.

* Focus on how she feels (not how he feels) about the pregnancy and about abortion.

* Encourage her to go for further counseling at the crisis pregnancy center before making a final decision.

3. I'll lose my job if I don't have this abortion.

* There are very few jobs that will be lost due to a pregnancy-it is illegal to terminate a woman's employment because she is pregnant.

* Find out who has told her that she would lose her job.

* Encourage her to go to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

4. I'm not bringing a baby into the world that I can't take care of. I want to wait until I have my life together and can afford the best.

* Explain the risk of complications (both physical and emotional) of abortion to her. Do not try to frighten her, but inform her that she may not be able to have a baby later in her life.

* Find out what her main concern is regarding the care of her baby.

In many cases her concerns are very practical and easily addressed.

* Remind her that during the first trimester she may have many conflicting emotions due to hormonal changes. Ask her to tell you about a time when she felt like she could continue the pregnancy and provide for her child. * Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for counseling.

5. Having a baby now would really mess up my mind. I just can't handle it emotionally-I'll go crazy.

* Ask her to explain why she feels that she would "go crazy."

* Explain the emotional complications of abortion to her.

* Attempt to find out what type of support she would need to continue the pregnancy.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling and offer to go with her. She may well need some support to make the first steps.

6. I know lots of girls who had abortions-they're fine now.

* Tell her about post-abortion syndrome and explain that it can often take years for the symptoms to be-come apparent.

* Tell her the symptoms of post-abortion syndrome- she may well see that some of her friends are having problems from their abortions.

* Tell her the risks and complications of abortion and show her the list of medical malpractice suits against the clinic and the doctor.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

7. I don't want any children-I'll probably get my tubes tied when I have the abortion.

* Remind her that the first trimester of pregnancy is a very emotional time because of hormonal changes.

* Tell her the risks and complications of abortion.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

8. If I were further along I wouldn't have an abortion, but at this point it doesn't even look human.

* Show her pictures of fetal development. This is probably not a good time to show pictures of aborted babies.

* Tell her the risks and complications of abortion.

* Encourage her to go to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

9. I'm afraid that the baby will be deformed, and I can't stand the thought of bringing a handicapped child into the world.

* Ask her if she will tell you why she is afraid the baby will be deformed. Many first-time mothers have this same fear during the first trimester of pregnancy.

* Try to find the root or main cause of her fears regarding her pregnancy. Find out if she is really concerned that the child will be deformed.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for additional counseling.

10. I know it's killing, but God will forgive me.

* Share scripture with her about what God says about child killing. Do not "cram" scripture down her throat; be loving, kind, and gentle.

* Offer to pray with her about her decision to abort.

* Find out what circumstances have led her to believe that abortion is her only option; address these concerns.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

11. I don't even know who the father of the baby is. I can't bring a child into the world who won't know who his father is.

* Explain to her that everybody's life has static.

* See if you can gently get her to realize that God is the Father of all-including her unborn child.

* Try and find out if she has any other needs that can be directly addressed.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

12. The people in my church would never understand. It would destroy my Christian witness; God wouldn't want me to do that.

* Gently go over the scriptures on how God feels about abortion.

* Remind her that when the choice is between pleasing God or pleasing men, it is better to please God-He is more apt to remember.

* Find out what her emotional and practical needs are, if any.

* Find out what role her parents are playing in the abortion decision.

* Offer to pray with her about her decision.

* Encourage her to take some more time to pray about her decision to have an abortion.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

13. I know girls who had babies at my age, and it really messed up their lives. It will ruin my whole life if I have a baby now.

* Ask her to explain how it will ruin her life.

* Find out if she is aware of the other options. The street, however, is not the place to discuss adoption. Many young women would rather have an abortion than give up a child for adoption. The most appropriate place for discussing alternatives is at the crisis pregnancy center. Often the atmosphere on the street, in front of the abortion facility, is too confusing and too stressful for any meaningful counseling to take place.

* Attempt to find out what she would need to feel competent to continue the pregnancy.

* Find out what, if any, support she has in her home environment, and what kind of supplementary support is needed to continue the pregnancy.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

14. I had an abortion before and didn't have any problems.

* Repeat abortion is a symptom that there is a problem. Alice Miller calls it the repetition compulsion-continually repeating the same trauma hoping for a different outcome.

* Ask her when she had her abortion. It is possible that this is a "replacement pregnancy."

* Find out why she doesn't want to continue the pregnancy-are the reasons the same as the reasons for her previous abortion? If so, are there needs that can be addressed by the pro-life community?

* Encourage her to take a little more time with her decision. Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

15. If I have a baby now it will be bad for my other children. They don't get enough attention as it is. I am afraid I will abuse them.

* Fear of abusing her children is a red flag that she is having a difficult time coping. She may just need some time away from her children of "recharge." Babysitting is a very practical means of support and a ministry in itself.

* Find out if she is currently abusing her children and refer her for the appropriate assistance if that is the case.

* Encourage her to go to the crisis pregnancy center quickly; this is not the type of situation to address on the street in front of an abortion facility.

16. We have AIDS.

* It is important that you know at least the minimal information about AIDS. Approximately 50% of the children born to HIV-infected mothers are not infected with the AIDS virus. This is information that is not generally shared with the woman. Society has taken the stand that it is better to abort these children than risk that a child will be born with HIV.

* Encourage her to go to the crisis pregnancy center. Again, this is not the type of counseling to attempt on the street in front of an abortion facility.

17. My parents want me to have an abortion, and I think I should do whatever they want. It would kill them if I had a baby.

* Attempt to find out how she feels about being pregnant and having a child.

* Affirm any positive reasons she gives for having a child.

* Remind her that this is her choice and she will be the one who lives with the consequences of her decision, not her parents.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling. They are better equipped to counsel the young woman and her parents. The street, in front of the abortion facility, is not the place to start family counseling.

18. I have a history of gestational diabetes (kidney disease, cancer, etc.) and my doctor recommended an abortion.

* Find out how she feels about her pregnancy and the possibility of having a child. Affirm any positive feelings she expresses.

* Find out if she has talked with another doctor for a second opinion. Gently inform her that doctors often recommend an abortion to cover themselves and protect themselves from future litigation.

* Refer her to the Crisis Pregnancy Center for further counseling and referrals to pro-life doctors.

19. I'm on crack. I don't want to have a baby with problems.

* If she stops using crack now her child will probably be fine by the time he's born.

* Find out how she would feel about continuing the pregnancy if the child were not going to be affected by her cocaine use.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

Again, this is not the type of issue that is best addressed at the doors of the abortuary.

20. My husband is not the father of this baby, and the father of the baby is not the same race as my husband.

* This is a red flag that the marriage is not in very good shape.

* Find out how she feels about the possibility of having a child. Affirm any positive feelings she has.

Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling. They are better equipped to handle this situation and to refer the woman for appropriate counseling. Again, this is not the type of situation to address at the doors of the clinic.

21. I came from an abusive home and I'm afraid to bring my baby into that kind of situation.

* While it is true that some people who grow up in abusive homes become abusers themselves, it is not true for everyone. The fact that she is aware of the possibility makes it much less likely that she would abuse her child.

* Attempt to find out if there are any other reasons that she is having the abortion (is she in an abusive relationship? Are there financial or social pressures leading her to choose abortion?).

* Ask her how she feels about the pregnancy and how she feels about having a child. Affirm her positive feelings.

* Remind her that many first-time mothers have mixed emotions during their pregnancy. Find out if she has had times when she felt that she could successfully continue the pregnancy.

* Refer her to the crisis pregnancy center for further counseling.

22. I was raped; I am not having the rapist's child.

* It is important for you to realize that by telling you about the rape, she is placing her trust in you.

* Often the abortion can feel very much like the rape.

* Please be especially sensitive and gentle with the rape victim. This is not the time to tell her about a friend, or someone else you know, who carried a pregnancy conceived by rape to term and is a better person for it. She needs for you to hear how she feels, not have you tell her how someone else felt, or how she should feel.

* Take a step away from her when she tells you that she was raped so that she will have space and feel that she is in control.

* Let her direct the conversation. Don't push for information or details. She has had a loss of control and needs to feel that she is in control of something.

* Ask her if she has had any rape counseling aside from the counseling she received at the clinic. Be prepared to refer her for post-rape counseling. It is extremely important that you have a trained rape counselor who is willing to see rape and/or incest survivors for free. Otherwise your only referral source will be the local feminist organizations, who are pro-abortion. * Often, women who have been raped cannot imagine bearing the rapist's child. It does little good to offer pat answers such as "The baby is the innocent victim" or "Why punish the child for the sins of the father?" Notice that the person who is conspicuously absent in both of these statements is the woman, who is also the innocent victim. It is far better to ask her, for her own sake, to go for rape counseling prior to making any decision. Remember, the uterus is a very strong muscle; you cannot reach through it. You must reach the woman to reach the child.

* Empower her. Tell her that you are impressed with how well she is handling this situation (the fact that she is up and walking around after a rape is impressive).

* Do not, under any circumstances, discuss alternatives with the rape survivor.

* Do not attempt to discuss this on the street in front of the abortion facility. Try to get this woman to a crisis pregnancy center quickly, where there is a low-stress, safe environment.

* Please do not attempt to address the spiritual issues at this time. The spiritual issues should be left to a Christian counselor who has the time and training to walk through this with the woman. It is very easy to do further damage to the rape survivor by over-spiritualizing your counseling on the streets.

* Rape counseling is a very specialized field; it is important that we not cause further harm to the rape survivor. This is why it is very important that she talk with a Christian counselor who specializes in rape counseling. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- CONCLUSION

We hope that some of these suggestions are helpful. There is no way that we can adequately address every situation that can occur at the abortion facility. However, if you go out with a spirit of love, and you treat the women with respect, you will be planting seeds for harvest.

When we approach the abortion mills, we need to act as Christ would act. Christ is our supreme example of living, and everything He did, He did in love. We do not represent a denomination, we do not represent a small group, we do not represent a church. When we are in front of the abortuaries, we are representing Christ. Christ said that all those who were heavily laden should come to Him, and He will give them rest. As Christians, whatever denomination we lay claim to, we represent Christ in us. This means that people should be able to come to us without fear of judgement, anger or rejection.

The abortuaries are mission fields, and they should be treated as such. If we cannot show the love of God in front of the clinics, how can we blame the mothers in crisis, the abortionists, or the clinic workers for not listening to what we say? Actions speak louder than words; it may be a cliche, but it is true. An unkind word uttered in front of the abortuaries is remembered for a very long time . . . the negative is always remembered longer than anything positive. So, go forth and preach the Gospel, with love. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Note From Holly Trimble author of Healing Post-Abortion Trauma

I think it crucial to stress the importance of having literature to give to those approaching the clinic. Many women will take literature even though they will not engage in a meaningful conversation with the counselor. I think it is important to have two pieces of literature to give to women: literature showing pictures of prenatal development (showing the embryos and fetuses whole, not mangled) and literature written by women who have had abortions detailing the short- and long-range complications of abortion. One of those pieces of literature should have the phone number of a crisis pregnancy center on it so that the woman will have a number to call if she walks out of the clinic.

Second, the sidewalk counselor should not assume that the person bringing the girl or woman to the clinic really wants her to have an abortion. Several times when I was sidewalk counseling, shortly after people had entered the clinic the person bringing the woman came out to wait for the procedure to be performed. I found they were very receptive to what I had to say about abortion. In fact, I can think of three instances where the person who had accompanied the woman went back into the clinic to try to dissuade her from having the abortion.

Third, I think it's important to address the situation where the girl or woman validly fears abuse. I personally know girls and women who were threatened with violence if they ever got pregnant or if they refused to abort. In the cases I know about, these girls and women had been previously seriously abused. The sidewalk counselor should know what kind of help is available for girls and women in this situation and have in mind how they would handle this type of crisis.

Lastly, a phrase I found to be effective is "You don't have to do this." Girls and women in crisis situations may have been told by those closest to them or feel, because of their circumstances, that they have to have an abortion. The simple refutation of this may be enough to get a girl or woman looking for a way out, to listen and reconsider her options.

I also don't think we should assume that abortion is always a selfish act. On the surface, it would seem obvious and true that abortion is always selfish. However, we cannot assume that every girl or woman going in for an abortion has a selfish motive. She may have been convinced that others whom she loves (parents, spouse, boyfriend, other children), will come to great harm if she refuses to have an abortion. Although she may want to carry her child to term, she may have been told that that would be the selfish thing to do-that she is only thinking about what she wants and not considering the other people in her life if she balks at pressure to have an abortion. If she is ignorant about fetal development and abortion (and particularly if she is young), she may not have the inner resources to refute this often very powerful argument for abortion. Sidewalk counselors need to be aware that this dynamic is sometimes involved in a decision for abortion. If this is the case, the girl or woman needs to be shown that it will hurt her baby far more if she aborts than it will hurt other people if she carries to term. She may be particularly receptive to information about fetal development, the dangers of abortion and what kind of help is available.

We highly recommend Healing Post-Abortion Trauma for individuals who counsel women victimized by abortion. The booklet is available for $3.00 plus S&H from American Life League. Please contact our Educational Resources Department for more information.