Proximity to an abortion facility can make a difference when it comes to pregnancy help organizations reaching young women in unplanned pregnancies.
“We strategically locate our centers next door to or across the street from a Planned Parenthood abortion facility, and that’s intentional,” said Gloria Schreiber, CEO of Women First Pregnancy Options which has four centers on Long Island in New York.
“When we opened our fourth center a few months ago, it was after waiting for office space right near the surgical Planned Parenthood there,” she said. “It was divine intervention by God’s hand that the location became available diagonally across the street.”
The ability to refer young people nearby for pregnancy help is a huge benefit.
“The dedicated people who pray outside Planned Parenthood are a crucial factor” in the choice of location, said Schreiber. “Sometimes they physically walk them into our center.”
Schreiber said each year a number of babies are saved and their mothers spared the tragedy of abortion because sidewalk counselors send them to their Women First Pregnancy Options centers.
Sidewalk advocates have brought in clients who were headed to Planned Parenthood for pregnancy tests or seeking gynecological care, and they left the center having been given information, services, and life-affirming support.
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Waterleaf Women’s Center is across the parking lot from Planned Parenthood’s abortion mega center In Aurora, Ill.
Executive Director Julie Garofalo said Waterleaf was started in response to Planned Parenthood’s opening in 2008, with a new building designed intentionally to allow for sidewalk counselors to reach clients.
“Our center has a calm peaceful feeling, not like a medical office at all,” Garofalo said. “We have wall mounted fireplaces in several rooms. We also have a chapel that faces Planned Parenthood.”
Waterleaf has a sign on its building facing the Planned Parenthood parking lot, asking “Missed Your Period?” and “Regret Taking Abortion Pill?” The sign also brings clients in so they can receive life-affirming assistance at no cost.
Sometimes a woman may come into a pregnancy care center near an abortion facility thinking she is at the abortion center, a mistake resulting in the opportunity to save both mother and baby from abortion.
At some centers the proximity can mean pregnancy help personnel coming across Planned Parenthood staff in the parking lot or in the hallway, giving the pregnancy help staff the opportunity to be a calm and prayerful witness during these encounters.
Lisa Bates, Clinical Nurse Manager from Pathway to Hope Pregnancy Care Center shared a recent experience with Planned Parenthood staff, located in the same building.
“Yesterday afternoon our center received Planned Parenthood’s coffee shipment,” she said. “So, first thing Monday morning I’ll deliver it to them with a dozen donuts.”
“God opened the door for me to introduce myself (one of my goals) on my very first day on staff,” said Bates.
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A nurse with Community Pregnancy Clinics in Sarasota, Fla., shared the story of sidewalk counselors meeting a pregnant mom in front of Planned Parenthood. The woman had gone there for a chemical abortion, paying for an ultrasound which was not shown to her. She was 11 weeks pregnant, and Planned Parenthood told her if she didn’t take the pill that day, she would need a surgical abortion.
She left, and walked across the parking lot shaking and crying, saying, “I can’t do it!” to the personnel at the pregnancy center that the sidewalk counselors had pointed her to.
After seeing her ultrasound, that mom made the choice to save her baby.
“We’re now trying to help find a place for her and her three-year-old son to live,” the center nurse shared. “Had we not been right next door to Planned Parenthood, who knows what might have happened to this young mother and her baby?”
Pam Stenzel, Regional Clinic Coordinator for CPCI, described the continuous battle with Planned Parenthood attempting to intercept pro-life efforts, planting bushes to provide a barrier, blasting loud music, abortion escorts being aggressive, and even attempting to hit sidewalk counselors with their vehicles.
Yet those who pray outside remain persistent and hopeful, she said.