Every year the organization 40 Days for Life encourages individuals to be a presence outside of abortion clinics during the liturgical season of Lent. We as pro-lifers are encouraged to pray and protest outside of clinics to inform people of the pro-life message—that every life is sacred. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts for during sidewalk protesting:
Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for whatever weather is in your area. If you’re a participant for 40 Days for Life, you are expected to stay until the next shift of protesters gets there. Standing outside in the elements for an hour can make a cold day feel even colder, so remember your hat, gloves and scarf if it’s going to be chilly! If it is raining, bring your umbrella and waterproof shoes.
DON’T: Yell at anybody for any reason.
Pro-life demonstrations often bring strong emotions from those who have different beliefs. At times, people driving by might shout at you; it is vital that you turn the other cheek and try not to yell back. In addition, do not yell at clinic workers or women going into the clinic. Think of the wounds they are carrying, and be compassionate.
DO: Bring Pro-life signs.
Bring something that will represent the pro-life movement. People driving by should see what you are representing!
DON’T: Attempt to Sidewalk counsel if you are not trained to do so.
Women in crisis pregnancy situations are incredibly vulnerable. If you are not a trained sidewalk counselor, do not attempt to give advice to these women. If they seek you out, give them the contact information of someone who is qualified and willing to help.
DO: Know your rights as a protester
Occasionally, the center you are protesting outside of may ask you to leave, or even call the police. Look up the laws for protesting for your state, and follow them so that if the police come, they have nothing that they can arrest you for.
DON’T: Shame women going into or coming out of the clinics.
This goes back to the other two don’ts. These women are vulnerable and are in the process of going through something likely more difficult than you can ever imagine. Help them if they ask you for help, but show all of them love, mercy and compassion.