Abortion Matters On The Boulevard

  
By Lindsay Brown
Published: April 22, 2009
 
Have you ever seen the people holding pro-life signs on the corner of Grove Ave. and Boulevard? Christian groups are spreading a pro-life message to all who pass by the Richmond Medical Center for Women. Mount Gilead Ministry, Life & Liberty Ministry, and Good News Freewill Baptist Church demonstrate in front of the clinic regularly. 

“Some people call it demonstration and that’s fine.  Honestly, we’re called by God. It’s a ministry,” says Fred, of the Good News Freewill Baptist Church.

I visited them on a cold Wednesday morning to get a closer look at what they do. Four other volunteers wearing sandwich boards stood with Fred and were ready to hand out literature warning of alleged abortion-related lawsuits linked to the clinic, as well as evangelical comic strips and Human Life Alliance publications. 

I did not see any passersby accept a handout. One young woman rushed past a man trying to hand literature to her and screamed, “Why? So they can live a life of poverty and suffering?”

He shouted back at her by quoting scripture, but it was hard to hear him over the response of another member’s voice proclaiming that enemies of God will be cast into a lake of fire.

I witnessed another interaction that involved a woman who was driving out of the clinic’s parking lot. A member of the group called out to her “God bless you!” She responded by saying “God bless you, too,” while extending her middle finger. Fred chuckled, “Is that the middle finger blessing?” 

I was beginning to wonder if true dialogue in this ministry on the corner of Grove and Boulevard is rare. Fred, who has been a familiar face out front of the clinic for years, says that plenty of conversations have occurred. Although not verifiable, he stated that 9 out of 10 women who come to the clinic claim to be Christian. “To hook their attention, we’ll ask ‘Can you pray with us?’ I read a bible verse to a preacher’s daughter who was here with a friend. She listened. I listened. I shared.” Fred and other group members also reported that some women have left the clinic and given them a thumbs-up or have said to them, “Thank you for being here.”

Their signage ranges in tone from compassionate, “Mothers need love not abortion,” to condemning, “Abortion is Murder, Murder is Sin.” Another sign depicts graphic medical imagery, which, if aired on television, would be unsuitable for young children and sensitive viewers. Some members of the group have a peaceful presence, like Fred, who wonders when Dr. Fitzhugh will take him up on his invitation for coffee, while another man in the group declares, “Something is obviously wrong with your soul if you come here! We cannot have fellowship with those who partake with the devil!” 

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous described to me her RU-486 medical abortion experience in 2006 at the clinic. “They showed me the ultrasound. I was 16 days pregnant.” In reference to the counseling session, she said, “A caring nurse sat with me and quietly asked me questions about my life. She let me talk for a long time. She recommended that I take the weekend before making a decision.” 

Jill, the clinic’s coordinator, said, “Some [women] decide not to have an abortion after counseling. We help teach them prenatal care and we handle adoption through here.” The clinic also offers routine gynecological services and distributes birth control. It is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood. When asked if the demonstrators out front affect the daily routine of the clinic, Jill said, “Our staff is pretty much used to it, but some patients are visibly upset when they first walk through the door, and when the staff asks them why, they say “because of the protestors.”

To see a list of babies saved and for more examples of the effectiveness of these ministries, visit www.lifeandlibertyministries.com.

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