By Ellie Hicks

Even if you are just silently praying, you are making a difference.

When I started sidewalk counseling over a year ago, I felt like nothing I was doing was helping abortion-minded women. Most of the time, even though I prayed and prayed, I didn’t get the chance to talk to the women going in. They were always rushed away by the clinic escorts before I could say anything. However, what I learned was that up to 75 percent of women driving to the abortion clinics rethink their decision when they see people praying outside. If the scared mothers did come speak to me, I shared resources with them even if they weren’t going to use them. When I would follow up with my local crisis pregnancy centers, I realized that women I had met outside the clinics were actually referred because of my flyers. A specific instance like this occurred when I referred a woman for post abortive counseling at a crisis pregnancy center in my hometown. A woman I knew working at the front desk said the girl mentioned my name and told her to thank me. I was absolutely blown away.

Abortion industry employees are still human beings.

Too many times I’ve heard people say, “there is no hope for people who work in the abortion industry.” This is flat out wrong. Unplanned, a movie about an abortion clinic director, Abby Johnson, who left her job and became pro-life, is a true testament to the immense change someone can go through. When Johnson met Sean Carney of 40 Days for Life, she was sure they would be enemies forever. Yet now, they are dear friends. Because Carney never gave up on Johnson, Johnson was able to start her own non-profit, called And Then There Were None (ATTWN). ATTWN has now helped over 600 abortion clinic workers leave their jobs, find a new path, and heal.

Most women do not know what happens during an abortion.

The medical procedure of abortion is not taught in schools. Many times women just believe what they are told about their babies by society and the media. They are told their baby is nothing more than a clump of cells. Never assume a woman is coming to an abortion clinic to “murder her baby,” and never say this to her. Explain to her the stages of fetal development. Tell her that her baby’s heart started beating less than three weeks into her pregnancy and that from the moment of conception, her baby had its own unique DNA. I have talked to so many women who have been told their babies are “random bits of tissue,” and when I tell them the truth they are shocked and feel betrayed by the abortionists.

People will say horrible, ugly, and mean things to you.

Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Pray for those people. Be firm if they are harassing you. If you are threatened with physical harm, call the police. If you are standing on public property, you have a right to say whatever you want. Of course, this is not an excuse to be mean. Do not make the inside of an abortion clinic a refuge from the people outside.

It is okay to cry.

Sidewalk counseling is one of the most emotionally draining things I have ever done.  I can’t control my tears sometimes. That is perfectly normal. You are witnessing the taking of human life. Do not be afraid to show your raw emotions, but if someone comes up to you, you should try to gain composure as best you can, so you can help them. Don’t miss out on saving someone’s baby, because you were crying.

Consistency is key.

This is especially true if you are trying to take an abortion clinic employee under your wing. They are human beings just like you. Make a plan to go to an abortion clinic at least twice a month. Show the workers at the clinic that you are serious about saving babies, but you are also there for them as well. If a woman comes in regularly, perhaps not for an abortion, but for birth control, the more you see her, the more you can show her why supporting organizations that perform abortions is wrong, even if she isn’t getting an one.

Rapists love abortion.

During my second experience sidewalk counseling, I saw a van of four young girls, approximately ages 13-15, go inside with a man who clearly wasn’t their father or guardian. The clinic I was at was required to report the suspected abuse of a minor, so I called the police. This happens more often than you think. Men bring their rape victims to abortion clinics for the purpose of getting rid of evidence. If you suspect something awful has happened, there is no harm in calling the police. You could save someone from human trafficking or child abuse.

Know why you are sidewalk counseling in the first place.

Maybe you have personally been affected by abortion and the harm it does to families. Maybe you wish someone would have been there for you when you were walking inside an abortion clinic. Whatever the case may be, healing is a natural part of life. You must find healing from whatever you have gone through that led you to this point. For me, it was an experience with sexual assault when I was just a sophomore in high school that lead me to Christ and to make sure women at abortion clinics know how much they are worth. Pray that the wisdom you have gained from what you have experienced will help you save women from the abortion industry.