What You Can Do to Stop Abortions and Save Lives

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"Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Proverbs 24:11

The legislation has been passed, but one day the right to life of pre-born babies will be recognised and protected in South Africa. Yes, the "Choice on Termination of Pregnancy" Bill has been implemented, but the resistance to it is encouraging. A Doctors For Life press statement recently stated that: 'The recent response by medical personnel to the implementation of the 'Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act' confirms the DFL survey that showed that 82.49% of doctors are not willing to perform abortions on demand.

"From all over the country reports are streaming in of nurses and doctors that are refusing to perform abortions. Out of a nursing staff of more than a thousand at the Pretoria Academic Hospital, only ten are prepared to perform abortions. In Kwazulu/Natal the majority of staff are refusing... From the Eastern Cape it is reported that virtually all doctors in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage refused. In a meeting to try and solve the crisis it was decided to postpone the implementation of the act in the Eastern Cape." Doctors For Life News Release (13/2/97)

As with pornography, the problem can be tackled in a number of different ways: Introduce laws that ban pornography; use zoning regulations to limit outlets where it can be sold and persuade retailers not to sell it anpublishers not to print it; and educate the public not to buy and use pornography. As with pornography, the government has pushed through the laws against overwhelming public opinion. However, even though the law favours the pornography industry, Scope has closed, Playboy SA has closed down and Penthouse has dropped in sales per month from 100 000 to 26 000 copies. Playboy's editor Paul Kerton blamed the "anti-pornography lobby" for slashing the magazine's distribution points from 12 000 to 3 000 (Sunday Times 3/11/96)! 

So in the same way, we should not become discouraged and despondent because the government has ignored our written and oral submissions and steamrolled this bill through Parliament. Now, we need to refocus our time and energy on the other things we can do to prevent abortions being committed in this country. If doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and other medical workers will refuse to be involved in abortions; if young people will know that the unborn is fully human and refuse to have abortions to solve the problem of a crisis pregnancy; and if Christians will support women in crisis pregnancies and show that there is a positive, practical and loving alternative to abortion, then although the laws may be on the books, babies will be saved. And in the long term, we must work to get the laws reversed. Our response should not be to give up because we haven't yet succeeded, but to continue to be faithful in the fight to protect unborn babies from abortion. To care enough to confront.

What You Can Do:

Recognise that the unborn baby is fully human and should be treated as such. Each life saved is precious and valuable and worth the effort. I would like to give you some ideas here of simple (and some not so simple) things you can do to stop abortion. These ideas have been adapted from the book: "Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion" by Joseph Scheidler. This is part 1 of a two part series:

"We cannot wait for the 'abortion problem' to be solved for us. Street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, we must fight this necessary battle until legalised abortion is relegated to the barbaric past, along with slavery and cannibalism! This street by street approach is the only method that really works; first, because it puts pressure on politicians, judges, and the media elite in a way that mere talk will never do; and second, because it actually saves babies' lives. We may not be able to shut every abortion clinic in the country, but we can shut the abortion clinic in our neighbourhood. We may not be able to save every baby, but we can save many." Franky Schaefer 

1) Sidewalk Counselling:

· "Sidewalk Counselling is a method of saving babies by talking to their parents in front of the abortion clinic. It is probably the single most valuable activity that a pro-life person can engage in. When pro-lifers counsel in front of an abortion clinic, they are coming between the woman and the abortionist, between the baby who is scheduled to be killed and the abortionist who would do the killing."
· The counsellor can use any number of ways to counsel but should to know something about human nature and must be able to understand the crisis the woman is facing. The counsellor must understand what has driven her to this unnatural, inhuman solution to her crisis pregnancy.
· "In Chicago, in one thirty-day period, half a dozen sidewalk counsellors at only a few clinics were able to stop ninety women from having abortions. Seventeen were stopped in a single morning at a clinic on Michigan Avenue. While a few of these women may have gone back to have their abortions later, more than ninety percent did not return, and they kept in touch with the pro-life counselling centre. All because there were side walk counsellors present."
· Have people praying outside the abortion clinic.
· Also try to talk to all going into the clinic. The woman, the boyfriend, the friend etc.
· Give a cheerful greeting, then offer pro-life literature.
· Do not get discouraged by rejections. You may be called names, people may attempt to push you away. But very often, yours will be the only effort that has been made to save the baby's life. "A peaceful presence and the presentation of a positive alternative to this tragic solution can be a blessing in itself."
· Discuss the development of the pre-born baby.
· Discuss possible physical and emotional complications.
· Follow through, refer or preferably take the mother to a local Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

2) The Picket and Demonstration

· "During one full year in Chicago, a senior citizen picketed a State Street abortion clinic every day, despite rain, heat or freezing temperatures, and literally closed the clinic. The old gentleman, Philip de Filipo, is dead now - but the clinic remains closed. Despite jeers from passers-by as well as threats by the clinic owners and their attorneys, Phil continued passing out literature, talking to clients and carrying a picket sign telling of the value of unborn human life. He remained at his post until the clinic closed a few days before he died."
· Pickets must be well-planned, well-organised, and above all, orderly. Signs should be carefully checked before hand. Examples: Abortion Kills Babies, Abortion is Murder, Don't Abort Your Baby, Give Life a Chance, Life Yes - Abortion No, Adoption - Loving Option. Large single-subject photographs of live babies or aborted babies are useful. Anything crude, insulting or off the subject should be rejected.
· Black lettering on a white background is best. Use paints rather than markers or crayons which tend to smudge when wet. Laminating signs makes them more durable.
· Mounting signs on sticks not only increases their visibility, but makes them easy to carry.
· Write the same message on each side.
· Appoint marshals who should wear a distinctive badge, armband or shirt.
· Carrying signs, praying, chanting informative slogans, and singing are proper activities during the picket.
· Generally, simple slogans, songs and prayers, led alternatively with occasional periods of complete silence will occupy the group.
· Obtain permission from the city council.
· Promptness is vital to a good picket. All directions and directives must be clear.
· Delegate responsibilities, appoint a press spokeswoman.
· Take down demonstrators' names, addresses and phone numbers: It provides a list of reliable people to call in future, it gives you names and addresses of those you may want to send thank-you letters and press clippings, and it also gives picketers the feeling that their participation is worthwhile and that they are not taken for granted.
· It is imperative to have counsellors present at every abortion clinic picket.
· Every Christian who values life should be able to spend at least two hours a month at a prayer vigil, or a picket line, handing out literature, or doing sidewalk counselling in front of an abortion clinic.
· When the demonstration ends, there should be an announcement of some specific action to be taken. "Go from here to counsel at clinics", "Go home and write a letter to protest abortion" etc.

3) Literature Distribution

· An essential form of communication.
· Print your own, or you can obtain already printed literature from Africa Christian Action, Christians For Truth or Pro-Life.
· Select distribution points: train stations, bus stops, shopping centres, schools. Go to churches on Sunday morning and hand them out to the congregation. It's advisable to have a team of four to eight leafleters. Do not let them spread out too much, it helps people accept a leaflet if they realise they will have to face several other people handing out the same leaflet.
· Always be courteous. Greet people as you offer them a leaflet. Smile even if they tear the leaflet up and throw it back at you. Be not only cheerful, but assertive. Comment on the contents of the leaflet.
· Afterwards gather to discuss peoples' reactions and pray.

4) Advertise Pro-Life Slogans and Ministries

· Renting billboards for pro-life ads is one option. Give the phone number of a crisis pregnancy centre where women can receive pre and post-abortion counselling or where they can receive legal advice after a botched abortion.
· Use bumper stickers, stamps, labels, buttons, "Precious Feet", etc.
· Acknowledge the names of donors/sponsors in the ad or printed leaflets.

5) Letters to The Editor

· A letter to the editor in any publication is both a valuable source of information to the public and a free, effective way to correct media mistakes (of which there are many).
· Letters have a greater chance of being accepted if they are concise, courteous, to the point, brief and, if possible, fax or E-mail it and then it should also be posted. Where possible, type them, using double spacing.
· Letters should be mailed as soon as possible, while the subject is still timely.
· Refer to something that appeared in their newspaper.
· Editors like to receive letters from out of town.
· Also send letters to major news magazines like Time and Newsweek. Be very brief and to the point.
· Always include your name, address and phone number.
· "Seldom does a day go by without some biased or incorrect editorial, story, syndicated column, cartoon or letter to the editor appearing in print. If we do not write letters to set the record straight, the confusion will remain. The unborn can only speak through our voices, pens and typewriters. We are their voices, and we must keep speaking for them."

6) How to Get on Radio Talk Shows

· Listen to the radio phone in programmes.
· Phone in as often as possible. Ask them to invite you to debate the issue or allow you to present the other side.
· Always be available. Never turn down an invitation to go on radio or television or do an interview - if you cannot do it, or do not feel competent, accept the opportunity saying that you will find the appropriate person to do the interview. Whether you have to do the interview by phone or go to the studios, accept the offer. Whether it is a local community radio station or the SABC, accept the offer. You are going to talk to somebody, and possibly you will convert someone to the pro-life cause.
· Don't worry about a hostile host, he can gain sympathy for you by his bias.
· If you are discussing a specific subject, such as abortion, do not let anyone steer you off the subject and into other areas, no matter how persistent he may be.
· Pour on the facts during the entire time you are on air. Always go into depth on why your answer is yes or no. Give examples and clear, graphic proof of why abortion is illogical and why the defence of human life is logical.
· Talk about your own experiences.
· Always try to keep a sense of humour.
· Pick up leads from what your opposition says.
· Insist on accuracy throughout the discussion. If they talk about 'eliminating', 'removing' or 'interrupting' the pregnancy, call it instead 'killing a new human life.' Never accept and use their terms.

7) Use Pro-Life Stickers, Literature, Stencils

· Some stickers suggest alternatives to abortion: "Adoption, Loving Option." Others make a straightforward statement: "Abortion Kills Babies" or ask a simple question: "Does Your Doctor Kill Babies?"
· All pro-lifers should have a pro-life bumper sticker on their car.
· Wear and distribute the "Precious Feet" (a lapel pin of a life size 10 week old pre-born baby's feet). It's a silent witness, but often gives you the opportunity to explain.
· Carry colourful, interesting pro-life literature and leave in your doctor's offices, at the dentist's or at the hair dresser.
· Bumper stickers encourage pro-lifers and inform the public from telephone poles, lamp poles, electricity boxes, dust bins and construction fences.
· Place pro-life stickers or rubber stamps on your envelopes

8) Challenge Your Medical Aid on its Abortion Policy

· Our new legislation states that abortion will be "scale of benefits" in a medical aid. This means that the medical aids will have to make policy decisions on abortion. It also means that we could be paying for abortions with our medical aids contributions.
· We need to write to our medical aids challenging them to make life-affirming decisions by refusing to pay for abortions. We need to do this before the medical aids start receiving claims for abortion payments.

9) Use Pictures and Signs

· "A picture speaks a thousand words".
· "It is only appropriate that pro-life activists, whose subject, the unborn, cannot be seen, educate through the use of pictures, photographs and drawings in order for others to understand the plight of the unseen victim."
· Colour blow up photos are very effective. Indicate on the pictures the stage of foetal development that is represented and the stage of the pregnancy.
· Use pictures in your pickets. People cannot resist looking at them. Put them in your window if you have a ground floor office. Use them even on radio talk shows. Describe them. Show them to the host. If he calls them emotional and disgusting, agree with him. Abortion is emotional and disgusting. It isn't right and it shouldn't be legal.
· Pictures are very effective on leaflets and posters.

10) Promises and Pressure

· This pressure is not a threat. It merely lets people know that you and other pro-lifers will not have dealings with anyone who supports abortion in any way at all.
· A system of graduated pressure is used. First, talk to the appropriate person in management. Then get people to phone or write. Finally, go to the press, picket and use pressure. We should not start with pressure, but rather with diplomacy. We conclude with pressure.
· Tell your doctor (Business men, advertising agencies etc.) that if he gives abortion referrals or does anything to promote abortion, you will have to go elsewhere.
· Pressure must include a promise, based on a kind of personal regret. "We really have no choice in this matter. If you insist on supporting abortion, we simply cannot continue doing business with you. And we will have to tell our friends about your unfortunate abortion involvement. It is too bad things turned out this way; we are sorry."
· Let your adversary know what your intentions are, but without promising that you are going to carry them out. Let them know, for instance, that it is your intention to close their clinic. Say, "We intend to close this clinic" or "We will do everything in our power to close this clinic." But a straightforward threat, "We are going to close this clinic," may not be possible to carry out.
· Do not make threats, especially any that could be construed to suggest that you might use violence. We will not counter violence (which abortion is) with violence.

11) Overcome Fear with Conviction

Graduates and staff of the first Summit Leadership Training Course in South Africa, January 1997, Pietermaritzburg.

· "Some people in the pro-life movement are afraid. They are afraid of the movement itself and of what it portends. They are afraid of the activists and of being identified with fanatics. The are afraid that their reputation might be damaged. They are even afraid of what they might have to do in the fight against abortion, even though they know that what they are doing is right... Pro-life activists have found that the best remedy for paralysing fear is the development of a strong conviction that what you are doing is absolutely the right thing to be doing. This conviction must be based on the reality of moral absolutes. When you are going into an abortion clinic to talk with clinic personnel, the doctor, the proprietor, or the women wanting abortions, you must be absolutely certain that what you are doing is a good thing. You must be convinced that it is better to do it than not to do it. You must be convinced that good will come from it, and that lives will be saved. Your intention must always be to save lives. With a strong conviction and with the motive of saving lives, fear will not prevent you doing what must be done... The fear we have of being ridiculed and losing respect can be overcome by knowing that we are right. God sees all things in their proper light and we need to pray that He will direct all our actions... We should not be afraid to be led by a zeal for God's law."

12) Be a Prayer Warrior

· "The way to stop abortion is to pray as though everything depends on God and to work as though everything depends on you. The power of prayer and the need for prayer cannot be stressed enough. Prayer is something that everyone can do to stop abortion."
· Pray for the perseverance of pro-life activists. It helps them cope with the abuse, rejection, threats and the ignorance, selfishness, and disregard for life that makes their jobs so difficult.
· Pray for the wisdom of God's Holy Spirit. For unity among the staff members of pro-life ministries, for their marriages and families of all staff and volunteers.
· Pray for the mothers, that their hearts would be open to receive counsel and the love and forgiveness of God.
· Pray for the abortionists, that they will come to realise the value of the lives they terminate.
· Pray for the protection of the unborn babies, threatened with imminent death.

13) Whatever You Do, Do it with Love

· "Even though some of the things pro-life activists do to stop abortion may seem hostile, we must never lose sight of the fact that what we are trying to do is save lives, while helping preserve women's mental, physical and spiritual health. We can only do these things if we love the people we confront... 'We want you to do the right thing. But since you don't know what is right, we will make you look at abortion in its ugly reality. If you can't learn through persuasion, we will use pressure.'... We do not want the abortionists to be punished in Hell for eternity. Yet we believe there is reward and punishment after this life, that good will be rewarded and evil punished... Throughout history, it has been those who really love who try to convert people from evil to good... We do it [direct action against abortion] to bear witness to society, and to the abortionists, that there is a better way to solve problems than by killing children... We can base our activities on our hatred of abortion, but not on hatred of the abortionists. Scripture admonishes us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us."

Foreword to:
"Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion" by Joseph Scheidler, Tan Books and Publishers Inc, Rockford, Illinois. 1993
Ibid, p19
Ibid, p19
Ibid, p20
Ibid p29
Ibid, p60
Ibid, p196 
Ibid, p327-328 
Ibid, p356
Ibid, p359-361

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