Commentary


Praying in Front of an Abortion Mill

Many people resist joining the ranks of the “prayer warriors” on the sidewalks because it seems ineffective to them. Those who come often find praying is not only effective but enriches their own spiritual life as well.


I believe it is a definite spiritual battle and an intense course in life, or a life lab (practicum) learning experience. It's the difference between book knowledge and practical, applied experience, like the difference between reading the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes and applying them, or the difference between reading instructions on how to swim and actually doing it! One learns in just one day at the mill what might take years in his/her regular everyday life. Because it is such an intense spiritual battle, therefore it is an intense, enriching learning experience. Live and learn!


Also, God is definitely working right there. I always try to pray asking the Holy Spirit to help me know what to say. I have a little rhyme I pray often... Holy Spirit, be my guest, help me always do and say what's best.


The other day, a young woman came out of the abortion mill with tears in her eyes. Thankfully, she hadn’t had the abortion but she was still upset and afraid to tell her parents that she, an unwed mother, was pregnant at 18 with her second child. I prayed to the Holy Spirit, offered her help and information and asked her name. When she said, “Lucy,” I said, "Oh Lucia! You should pray to Saint Lucia for help!" I thought, “Why in the world did I just say Lucia? This girl will think I'm off the wall!” I never even thought about her being Hispanic, because she didn't look particularly Hispanic to me and she didn't have a noticeable accent. I found out later from another pro-lifer that she was Mexican. Lucia was probably her name but she 'Americanized' it as Lucy for me; however, the Holy Spirit knew! God was working right then and there to help this young woman and her baby!


The evil one doesn't want us to see that prayer is truly effective. He wants us to give up, throw in the towel, take our marbles and go home. However, we have seen that praying and witnessing in front of the abortion mill is effective. There have been 68 SAVES at this abortion mill in the last 20 months!


One of the SAVES was a woman who had already gone inside the abortuary and came out, saying, "It was that Rosary! That Rosary you were praying made me change my mind!"


There are the looks of relief and smiles on the faces of the women who have changed their minds and decided to keep their babies.


There are the recently added deathscorts on Saturdays which proves we are effective.


There are the young women who seem shut-down, cold and angry with us, but, later we learn they’ve told the Birthright staff, "Everything those counselors said was TRUE!"


A woman told us she used to drive by and give us the finger because she’d had an abortion there and thought we were only there to harass people. She said she especially hated the men but her feelings changed after seeing Ron holding a sign which read, “Women Deserve Love Not Abortion” and after a long conversation with Geri, one of the counselors.


There are the countless people who pass by and tell us to keep up the good work.


There are actually many indications that what we do is effective. However, even, in the absence of proof, we should continue to pray and witness outside of the abortion mill.


Sometimes a woman enters intent on abortion, but we continue to pray, and after awhile she leaves, having decided to keep her baby.


We don't know how many people decide to keep on going, walking or driving past rather than going inside because of our presence and prayers.


Sometimes we see people park near the abortion mill, stay a few minutes before pulling away, and we don't know why.


Sometimes the numbers of women going into the mill are lower than usual, and we don't know why.


My thoughts turn to Mother Teresa when a reporter interviewed her, asked if she thought she could be successful considering all of the poor people in the world. She told him, “God doesn't ask me to be successful...only to do His will and help one person at a time.” I have read that truly holy, saintly people do not worry about the success rate or results. They are concerned only with doing God's will. In the end, we will see how effective all of the praying and witnessing for life have been. Someone told me that when we get to Heaven, we will be welcomed by a crowd of the children we worked to save. Even if we weren't successful in persuading their parents to spare their lives on earth, God takes into account all of our efforts. "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me," Jesus said. Who can stand by and watch the killing go on without trying to help?


I am reminded of General Patton after WWII ended. He marched the nearby German citizens through the Nazi concentration camp to show them what they had chosen to ignore while the innocent, helpless inmates were being starved, tortured, and killed. We cannot sit idly by and hope it goes away. "Evil flourishes when good men do nothing." We need to listen to God and do whatever He tells us, even if it takes us out of our comfort zone. Those German citizens surely must have wished they had at least made some effort to help those people in the concentration camp.


I saw an article on the Internet, www.abortionfacts.com/literature/literature, which reminds me of this... It is called, Sing a Little Louder...

“After a speech, activist Penny Lea was approached by an old man. Weeping, he told her the following story. "I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time the train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we’d just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.”

Now, so many years later, I see it happening all over again in America. God forgive you as Americans for you have blocked out the screams of millions of your own children. The holocaust is here. The response is the same as it was in my country - SILENCE!"

The following is some rewording of the information on the Internet:

Have you ever wondered how people could stand by and let this happen? Why the Christians responded to the cries of the victims by singing louder?


The old man’s story is in the past - it cannot be changed. It is easy to think we would act differently now. But the old man’s last words are chilling: "It’s happening all over again in America with abortion."


As American Christians, we have become comfortable in our lovely church buildings and padded pews. We have beautiful halls for our many banquets. We have the latest sound equipment for our praise and worship. We have computers to keep our records.


We gather each week inside our churches and raise our voices in the name of God. And yet in the heavenly realm the sound of our voices lifted in praise is lost in the agonized screams of millions of babies being executed before they are born. We can’t see them. We can’t hear them. But it is happening as you read this!


Babies are being aborted up to the day of birth in this country. Their organs and brains are "harvested" for use in medical research. In Wichita, Kansas, the smoke stack from the furnace of Dr. Tiller’s abortion clinic belches black smoke and the sickening smell of the burning flesh of the bodies of preborn seventh, eighth and ninth-month babies being "disposed of."


If the Christians in the old man’s church had tried to intervene they probably would have been killed. That is not true today. We don’t even have that excuse for our silence.


Years from now, will you be like the old man, making excuses for your apathy as millions were given up for slaughter in abortion clinics? Or will you raise your voice and cry out in protest for those who have no voice? The choice is yours. Please, join the fight for the unborn and pray, work, and witness for the defenseless ones who have no voice!

Gail Hoffman

Gail is a very effective sidewalk counselor at an abortion mill located in a small town in Maryland near the West Virginia and Pennsylvania borders. She is helped by other sidewalk counselors and prayer groups that include local residents, residents from West Virginia and Pennsylvania and seminarians and students from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg.

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