punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bringing Children "to the Sidewalk"

In hardly any other instance is the contrast between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death more evident than when families bring their children to pray outside an abortion clinic.

In my family’s case, the difference between the two ‘cultures’ is only intensified by the fact that the area’s largest abortion clinic sits right across the street from our YMCA. It’s hard to describe how surreal the close proximity of two such disparate realities actually is.

On any given day, the YMCA holds camps, swimming lessons, child-care and classes that ring of the uplifting sounds of life. There, children laugh, play and learn. It is a place so full of energy that visiting is like plugging yourself into a health-outlet so that you leave more fully alive than when you came.

But not fifty feet away, quite the opposite is happening. Next door, at America’s number one abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, reign the sounds and sights of tears, brokenness, silence and death. There, many children are being denied the opportunity to ever know life outside the womb while children just across the way are experiencing the goodness it can contain.

And so one morning each week, after crafts and fishy-crackers we all board the Nichols mobile and head across the way ‘for a walk’ (that’s all my little progeny really understand at this point). The beauty is that my kids don’t cease being kids on that sidewalk.

I try to imagine the viewpoint from the staff inside the clinic as they sit ‘protected’ by a bullet proof facade, security cameras and metal detectors while just outside their windows stand those very threatening ‘conservatives’ with their strollers and children who are busy playing Ring around the Rosy, hop scotch, tag, sharing snacks, and waving ecstatically to the police who come circle the block at the clinic’s request.

Little else rivals the very compelling irony of this picture: where the so-called champions of ‘quality of life’ have become the purveyors of death, while the supposed opponents of ‘women’s rights’, who happen to mostly be women, along with their children, are busy doing all the living right outside their doorstep.

I tell you, the ‘different sides of the line’ caricature, perpetuated by the media, of the heroic staff of Planned Parenthood sitting harangued by those bully right wingers falls apart once you are actually there. What you see speaks for itself: outside their clinic, children are living, and inside they are dying.

The parking lot alone presents an eerie portrait. It is full of people (mostly minorities) sitting solitary in their cars presumably just waiting for someone to come out of the clinic. It’s quite the opposite of what happens at a hospital, isn’t it? Family and friends generally remain in the hospital waiting rooms to support you during things like surgeries and child birth. Not so at Planned Parenthood. The “support” is only as close as the distance between the building and the parked car (in many cases it’s just a drop-off and pick-up arrangement). Occasionally someone will get out of their vehicle to come talk with us, but for the most part, they stay put.

But they can still hear the kids. It would be hard not to.

There are strong opinions widely circulated about this but I consider bringing the kids to the sidewalk a good, Christian witness, and that’s why I bring them. The rare individual will still verbally abuse us despite their presence, but, this may be a reaction to how the kids, just by being there, drives home the reality of what happens to unborn children behind the high walls of Planned Parenthood. The juxtaposition of their beautiful innocence against the walls of an organization founded on racism and blood money is one that society needs to see and really spend some time contemplating. It is their presence on the sidewalk which reminds us how we all started, and hopefully, how we can be again.


  1. Wow, this is a fascinating post. Great observations. I just discovered your blog and have added it to my feed reader -- I look forward to reading more!

  2. Thank you, Jennifer! I must tell you I enjoy your posts immensely! GB!

  3. Thank you for your beautiful word pictures. Yes, the contrast between life and death is so stark.

  4. I'm bothered by this comment: "It is full of people (mostly minorities) sitting solitary in their cars presumably just waiting for someone to come out of the clinic. It’s quite the opposite of what happens at a hospital, isn’t it?"

    In the same thought you observe and misinterpret one the main reasons PP operates: to provide standard, preventative care to people who cannot afford (or don't have insurance enabling them) to go to a hospital or doctor's office.

  5. Carol, were or are you aware that the reason PP was set up, according to its own founder Margaret Sanger, was to 'eliminate the darker races.' As a minority myself, the observation of a disproportionate number of minorities in the parking lot on abortion days (the only days we go out to pray) is incredibly tragic and sad. We know that those who sit and wait for someone are there because a friend/family member/ girlfriend is procuring an abortion (they tell us as much themselves.) The greater question which needs to be asked is why services to the poor must be provided at PP centers which, at their founding, were also established to diminish their numbers. I personally am disturbed by the fact that the original eugenics goals of Margaret Sanger in establishing PP are actually being realized week after week. And so I respectfully disagree with your comment: I've not misinterpreted the main reason PP operates: I think I'm completely aware of it as per the founder herself and first hand observations of a consistent reality. GB

  6. Great post! So thought provoking. And I wonder why Carol never got back to you….?

  7. Thanks very much, Leila! I wonder that too...those quotes of Sanger's sure are disturbing.

  8. Wow! thanks for your words and your works.


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