Thursday, April 28, 2011

Praying In Front of an Abortion Clinic

St. Mary's is home to many young people who commit to regularly pray outside of our local abortion clinic. It is also the home of some of the best pro-life leaders in our country right now. Our community is the birthplace for 40 Days for Life in addition to the local Coalition for Life, which is a model for local pro-life activism. This story in The Battalion (A&M's student paper) tells about sidewalk counselors who sacrifice to save lives. A snip:
As I drive down semi-dark, empty streets toward an inconspicuous building on 29th Street in Bryan, there are already a few people lined up, just off the sidewalk, careful not to obstruct the walkway. Their heads somberly bowed. They face a tall fence of metal bars and a screen that inhibits those outside from looking in and those inside from looking out. I seek out Katie Higdon, director of communication for Brazos Valley Coalition for Life and class of 2010.

"There's already one girl inside," she says.

It is 7:03 a.m. and the sidewalk counselors are already praying in front of Planned Parenthood. This is a medical abortion Saturday at this location.

One organization stands out to Aggies: the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life. According to ABC News, this organization has entered the national awareness by making the Bryan location one of the most protested Planned Parenthood offices in the nation. Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood, labeled Bryan-College Station a bastion of anti-choice sentiment.

Regardless of one's stance on the issue of abortion, this organization's rise from a single Aggie concerned with an issue to a large, effective grassroots organization that sponsors the internationally observed 40 Days for Life campaign is remarkable. All this began in Bryan in 1998. Thirteen years later, I stand on the sidewalk with counselors in the middle of the campaign.

Neither of us knew what to expect on arrival. Higdon informed me Planned Parenthood had a volunteer who escorted women from their cars to the front door. According to Higdon, this was to keep the women from interacting with the sidewalk counselors.

Carl Paustian is a first-year biotechnology graduate student at Texas A&M. Paustian stands in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan with his head bowed in prayer for the first woman who arrived promptly at 7 a.m. that morning for her appointment. Over the next few hours, I witness Paustian leave his prayerful stance and spring into action the moment a new patient arrived at the clinic. He never shouts, only raises his voice enough to be audible over the sporadic traffic and the fence. Most of the morning, Paustian's pleas, suggestions and statements of "we love you and are praying for you" go unacknowledged or unanswered.

"Coalition for Life is not there to judge the men and women going to Planned Parenthood. I, and so many of the other volunteers, are there on the sidewalk because we care about the health and safety of women in our community," Paustian said. "We are out there to offer a loving hand to women who might want help and [don't] know of the many options that exist here in Bryan-College Station."
Continue Reading.
Pray for those that pray and sidewalk counsel outside of abortion clinics.

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