If you have volunteered with the Houston Coalition for Life you have probably heard the phrase, "Legal, peaceful, prayerful, presence" more than once. Over and over again we at the Houston Coalition ask that our prayer warriors and side walk counselors follow the laws, maintain an attitude of peace, and focus on prayer while standing outside the abortion clinic. What our volunteers do takes courage and it can be difficult at times to maintain an attitude of peace when facing the overwhelming evil of the abortion facility. It is easy to get emotional and angry in the face of such injustice. Yet, it is important to stay peaceful so that we can bring the love of Christ to both the women going into the facility and the workers. Just a few weeks ago I saw firsthand how important this is.
I am an assistant on Baby Blue, a mobile crisis pregnancy center that offers free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds. For the first time in months, Baby Blue took a trip across town moving from her usual location across from the Houston Ambulatory Surgical Center to a spot in front of the Houston Women's Clinic, both of which are busy abortion facilities. Many of the women going in had to walk right past our bus.
Just after we had opened one of these woman stopped in front of our door looking confused. I popped my head out of the bus and asked politely if I could help her. "Can I park here?" She asked gesturing to her car parked on the side of the street. "Yeah you can park there." I replied, "Are you here for a pregnancy test?" She glanced back and forth from the abortion facility to me with an even more confused look on her face. "No... actually... I have an appointment. Across the street." "Well, we provide pregnancy tests and ultrasounds too but ours are free!" I smiled and gestured to the bus. She looked torn, "I have an appointment though." She insisted. "You can always re schedule an appointment." I replied. She paused and thought for a moment before replying, "I'll come back after my appointment." She then began to walk away but turned around. Smiling she added, "Thank you for not being mean. I will come back after my appointment."
I went back into the bus surprised by her comment thanking me for not being mean. About an hour later she returned. She told us that she had seen our bus but was afraid to come in. A few years ago her sister had gone to an abortion facility and was yelled at by the people protesting outside the clinic. It had made her sisters already traumatic experience worse. Women who make appointments at abortion facilities are often "warned" about the radical protesters. That is why she was so surprised when we treated her with kindness.
Although she was abortion minded she ended up choosing life for her and child. Since that day we have been thanked by other women who were surprised by our peaceful loving attitude. These abortion facilities tell the women coming in that we pro-lifers are mean hateful people who care only about the life of the baby. However, our actions stand in stark contrast. When we maintain a legal, peaceful, prayerful presence outside the abortion facility we are bringing the love of Christ to a place that is devoid of love. We are Christ's lights in the darkness. The women see that, the workers see that, it makes a difference.