Sidewalk Counselors Continue to Promote Life in the Midst of a Pandemic
When city and state officials shutdown Indiana to try to slow the spread of a deadly pandemic, most businesses were forced to shutter their windows and deal with the effects of a general economic slowdown. But it quickly became obvious to pro-life advocates, that the abortion industry had no intention of slowing down. Thanks to the dedication, faithfulness and courage of sidewalk counselors in front of our city’s abortion facilities, efforts to save lives haven’t slowed either.
Despite the general shutdown that descended across the rest of our city, all of Indianapolis’ abortion facilities defiantly decided to continue committing abortions during the pandemic. Pro-lifers, however, have responded and have faithfully continued to witness to the sanctity of every human life by reaching out to Mom’s in crisis.
In front of Indianapolis’ largest abortion facility, Planned Parenthood at 86th Street and Georgetown Rd., sidewalk counselors have maintained their schedule of being on hand to lovingly offer women alternatives to abortion. This is the largest abortion facility in state, committing over 3,200 abortions last year. Pro-life sidewalk counselors have faithfully maintained a presence outside of this facility since it opened over a decade ago, but rarely has offering women alternatives to abortion been more challenging.
Sidewalk Advocates for Life local coordinator, Sheryl Dye, explained that typically the sidewalk counselors work in pairs. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the counselors have continued to work in pairs, but have alternated their time between being out at the entrance to the building offering women help, and supporting sidewalk counseling efforts by praying quietly in their cars. In addition, because the ability to talk to the women as they enter the facility has been limited, Sidewalk Advocates for Life has employed new signs, with a hotline number to offer women counesling and alternatives to abortion. “We aren’t able to approach people,” said Dye, “so we have bought a new sign and it’s really been quite effective. Every woman who has driven into the clinic has seen the sign.”
According to Dye, the patient load at the abortion facility hasn’t altered much due to the Cornavirus. There are still days where there seem to be 25-30 abortions, and then there are days when the client load seems much slower. Every abortion committed in the state of Indiana is reported to the Indiana State Department of Health, and Right to Life of Indianapolis continually monitors the numbers of abortion at each abortion facility in the state. We will have to wait until the ISDH releases the numbers for the spring before we can know for sure how the COVID crisis has impacted abortions.
Regardless of the numbers, though, the true number of lives saved by the faithful witness of sidewalk counselors will never be known. Women have stopped to talk to sidewalk counselors years after their abortion appointments, to explain that because they saw someone offering alternatives they simply kept driving and missed their appointment with Planned Parenthood. Women are looking for a sign, and the loving presence of someone offering another way, a life-giving way, is often all it takes to convince a woman to choose life for her child. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, pro-lifers haven’t given up reaching out to save every child that they can.
For those who may be interested in getting more information about Sidewalk counseling can contact Sheryl Dye at email@example.com.