But what do I do?
You're standing outside the abortion center, and pedestrians pour past. A girl hops out of an Uber, and brushes by, and in a second has vanished behind the glass doors and the sign that says Abortion care offered here.
Or maybe you're not even there, but sitting with your hand hovering over the mouse, your computer screen flickering the schedule for 40 Days for Life volunteers. What if you sign up for 4pm. What then?
What does she need you to do?
The fact is, it isn't complicated. The answer is love, and that looks like the simple step of showing up, speaking up, and asking a question.
1) Start with a "Hi," and introduce yourself.
2) Ask her a question.
3) Ask if she's been there before, and mention if you or a friend has.
One of the best lists of more detailed suggestions comes from the Sisters of Life.
Read them below, and then suit up and show up. Your standing up on the sidewalk will save lives. (Suggestions below are adapted from an article originally printed in Imprint, 2019)
Listen: Often, everyone else is telling her what to do, but no one is listen- ing. So first, listen. Listen to her story, her experiences, her fears, hopes, worries, and desires.
Notice: She is good. Let yourself be honestly, spontaneously in touch with her -- her personality, her presence. Meet her.
Reflect: As you listen, reflect back to her what you are seeing and hear- ing: what she is saying, yes, but also her own value and goodness. She is not a project. She is not someone or something to "be good to" and "fix." In this situation especially, she needs to see that she's worth it, just for being herself. We all do. Not for what she's done, will do, hasn't done. Not for her education, looks or gifts, but for herself. A woman who knows that she is cared for and loved can do anything.
Connect: We are not meant to be alone. She needs a friend who will put faith in her and who will commit to walking with her in overcoming the obstacles, interiorly and exteriorly. This act of unconditional acceptance from you allows her to choose her own flourishing, for herself and for her child. It’s what opens her up to living from her heart.
Over 70% of women submit to abortion because they feel unwanted, alone, or unsupported.
That's the first problem you encounter on the sidewalk. And remember -- she's not a problem or a project. Don't solve her.
Solve the injustice.
That injustice is that she's been told she can't maintain her life, or equality, if she protects herself and her child.
Your presence directly confronts that lie and puts in the trash bin.
So don't refuse to show up because you're unsure. Simply stepping out on that sidewalk is the step that makes space for life.