Do You Love Abortion Clinic Workers?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

It was a cloudy November morning. As always, in a notoriously Michigan way, it was freezing outside. I drove into the parking lot of a sketchy Detroit diner, as I got ready to meet up with a friend of a friend at a local abortion clinic. I was planning on a regular day of sidewalk counseling: offering expecting women options other than abortion, post-abortive women help and hope, and hopefully reaching out to the clinic workers too.

I was new to sidewalk counseling. I had only been training for a month, and up to that point, I had only counseled at one clinic in Grand Rapids, once or twice weekly.

A sidewalk counseling friend had mentioned that there was a pro-choice activism meeting and/or protest happening the following weekend in Detroit. Knowing that the pro-choice counterpart can sometimes be a violent and harsh crowd, I asked for more details. Eventually I was given the name of a sidewalk counselor in Detroit. I looked her up on social media, expecting to ask if I could help at all with the weekend. It turned out that I had a commitment that weekend I couldn't avoid, so the lady invited me to join them the following week.

I got out of my car, thinking about all the stories and statistics my dad would tell me about Detroit since he used to work there. It can be a dangerous city, but I knew the Lord was with me. As I made the half mile walk to the clinic, I thought about what I might see in the day. I was not prepared for what was about to occur.

It seemed like a odd spot for a clinic. I turned the corner and saw at least 10 anti-abortion signs (some of which were copies of the same sign), and three people standing on a sidewalk. I approached and found the friend I had been writing to (who we'll call Anna). Anna seemed a bit stressed as she explained some facts about the clinic. It was before opening time, and some of the abortion employees were just arriving.

A nurse got out of her car, frowning in our direction. Anna called out to her in a frustrated tone of voice, trying to reprimand her for taking part in the death of a child. The woman made her way in the door, eventually returning with someone else. The employees were very on edge.

The three pro-lifers I met earlier that morning, including Anna, pelted the employees with pushy questions, apparently not noticing how their approach was only turning the two women away.

Eventually, at around ten o'clock in the morning, the abortion doctor arrived. He drove into the already quite-full parking lot in a fancy car, avoiding connection with any of us on the sidewalk.

Anna had brought a megaphone that she apparently used every time she counseled. I asked if I could talk to the doctor. Not realizing that he had not yet gotten out of his car (and probably could not hear me), I tried to tell him that I cared about him just as much as the women and the babies, and that we could help him get out of the industry.

Feeling like I said all I knew to say, I gave the megaphone back, at which point Anna began her lecture. "JAMES! You murderer! Why do you keep coming back here! You're killing babies!" She yelled, with an unfriendly, harsh expression on her face.

My jaw dropped. Did I really just hear that?! Abortion absolutely is the murder of a precious, unborn child, however, we close the door of escape from the industry when we treat these employees as if they have zero value and are stupid.

I rushed over and said, "Oh no, no, no." The doctor looked up, responding to Anna's harsh, love-less words with a straight faced, almost knowing expression. I had the impression that it was not the first time he had been screamed at by pro-lifers, particularly this group. (It’s no wonder that the police visit them so frequently).

I didn't want to be associated with that kind of behavior. "You matter to me!" I wanted to yell.

I explained to Anna how this kind of angry, you're-so-horrible approach can be so hurtful, and counterproductive. He's just going to walk right into the clinic and perform abortions, thinking that pro-lifers just hate people like him, and that we would probably be happy if he died on the spot.

 My mind went to my friend Melissa who had been training me; she was so grieved over abortion and wanted all women and babies protected, and at the same time she cared so much about the Grand Rapids clinic's employees. Urgently praying for them to be set free and to come to know Jesus, smiling at them, and sharing resources with them to help them get out of this type of work.

Upon hearing my rebuke of her anger, Anna became extremely unhappy with me. Being thirty or forty years older than me, she was not thrilled that I would suggest any kind of change. After all, what could a little trainee know? She had years of experience.

"It's not right to yell at them," I told her. Angrily, she proceeded to lecture me on a past clinic worker she treated the same dehumanizing way who apparently quit working there. It was victory in her eyes.

Had she thought about the fact that working somewhere where you get screamed at isn't very pleasant? Abortion is already a horrible industry. It's already the murder of a beautiful child; you don't have to kill others with your words in an attempt to get them to leave. I bet that clinic worker just started working at a different abortion clinic. That's not victory AT ALL. Now that individual probably has their heels digged down deeper, thinking that pro-lifers hate everyone.

She tried to rebuke me. "Cassidy, just listen to me! You need to let the Holy Spirit lead us!"

Apparently, she believed that the Holy Spirit leads us to treat people like pond scum.

When Pro-Life Outreach Isn't So Pro-Life Anymore

The little title of "pro-life" should say several big things.

God is the Giver of life, not us. We love life. Every life matters. No one is an accident. Every person--baby, teen, adult, grandma, mom, dad, etc.--is created in the image of God, and exists by His will. Because God is the Creator of every life and sovereignly plans the existence of each person, who are we to question His timing of when they come into existence and when they die?

I know I'm stepping on toes here, and I'm ok with it. Dislike me if you will, but hear this out. You cannot call yourself pro-life and continually treat abortion workers like they're worthless. You just can't.

You cannot stand there on the sidewalk telling a woman that she matters to you and that you care about her baby if you don't care also about the workers inside who were also once little babies in the womb. Your God desires that all would come to repentance [1]. He wants to redeem even the liberal, confused employees.

Don't tell me you love life if you still hate these people. I'll never believe it.

If you profess to know Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you should have the greatest desire of all people in the world for these clinic workers to be set free.

Charles Spurgeon has once said: "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap into hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go unwarned and unprayed for."

Do you desire redemption that badly? Christians like Anna would be more likely to mockingly laugh while the lost clinic workers reach desperation. Would you stand in the gap for the abortion clinic employees too? For the sometimes pushy pro-choice protesters, will you pray? For those who are without hope and think the entirety of their existence is about them and what they think to be right and wrong, won't you show them Jesus? Who else do you expect to show love--Jesus' love--to these people than us?

Either be pro-every-life, or stop saying you're pro-life.

Would you be willing to lay down your life for these people? Jesus laid down His life for yours! Somehow we think that it wasn't as hard for our God to save us as it would be to save someone "like that."

Apart from Christ you're just like that. Your mind and heart are like that without Jesus. Your life had the same sinful potential to lead to being a worker of death; we cannot credit anything but the mercy of our God that we weren't also hands that shed innocent blood.

Jesus didn't spill one less drop of blood for you than He did for the abortion clinic workers. HE LOVES THEM, and if you don't, it might be time to search your heart to see if you really know Him, or if you really understand what it cost your Jesus to redeem you.

I want to be there with open arms the day the doctor of the Grand Rapids clinic says, "No more!" to abortion.

How expectant are we really if we don't pray for and expect these individuals to come to know Jesus. We underestimate our God's ability to redeem when we think they're too far gone. You seemed too far gone once too, and yet, if you believe in Jesus as your personal Savior, then because of Him you are secure before the Father.

You'll never deserve that.

No matter how nice, pro-life, and anti-abortion you are, you can never say you've earned your redemption. You need Jesus just as desperately as these people do; they are so valuable in His eyes that He died what is thought to be the most painful death humanly possibly. Some physicians speculate that Jesus' heart literally exploded when He died. He defeated sin, death, and hell with His very life.

Our God is always bringing about greater life as we obey Him, and I can only imagine how many people could be rescued out of the abortion industry if each of us prayed for ONE. Showed His love with one. Shared the Gospel with one. Discipled one.

He is able to redeem them; are we living like it as pro-lifers?

Jesus shed His life’s blood for them. He was forsaken for them. He suffered, bled, and died for them. Will we now lay our lives down and live out the beauty of the Gospel before these abortion clinic employees and pro-choicers?


*All names changed for anonymity (other than Melissa). 
1. 2 Peter 3:9, Isaiah 56:8, Ezekiel 33:11, 1 John 2:2, see this also