At this point, you have certainly seen and been impacted by the Mecklenburg County stay-at-home order that went into effect Thursday morning. There is also a statewide stay-at-home order in effect Monday at 5pm. This is a confusing and unsettling time for all of us and we understand that government authorities have some difficult decisions to make to help protect their citizens from the spread of the coronavirus.
Some well-meaning people have questioned our continuing outreach at the local abortion centers citing the stay-at-home order and the obvious need to not be a part of spreading this virus. I can assure you that Cities4Life is seeking to abide by all of the CDC recommendations as well as the stay-at-home orders that have been issued.
In conversations with our attorneys, we believe we have very solid legal ground to stand on. The stay-at-home orders do allow for certain criteria that have been deemed essential under the order. Sadly, the abortion centers fit in one of those categories but Cities4Life, as well as our close partner H.E.L.P. Pregnancy Center, certainly fit within those criteria.
Our presence on the sidewalks is not a protest against these stay-at-home orders or even a protest against abortion. Our calling as a ministry is not to fight the powers-that-be but to bring the Gospel along with practical help and resources to those going into the local abortion center. Women, like Rita* and her daughter, Karen*, often feel like abortion is their only option.
We met Rita last Saturday at the abortion center sidewalk who had had multiple abortions. She said the first one she was forced to have by her mother. She didn’t believe in abortion, knew it was murder, and never envisioned herself seeking an abortion.
As she went through that terrible experience and deeply grieved, she swore she would never be back. Again. However, she went home to the same worldview, the same mindset, the same poor choices, and the same lack of understanding of God‘s protective Commandments.
She continued to spiral downward with depression, terrible choices, and no idea how to get out of the cycle.
When we met Rita Saturday, she was there with her pregnant daughter, Karen, who was scheduled for her first abortion. Karen had essentially the same story. A worldview not based on God’s word, terrible choices, a conscience that knew abortion was murder and was wrong, but wanting to get herself out of the mess she had made and feeling she had no other choice.
Our counselor spoke with Rita as well as Karen. They talked about how Rita’s life had been one disaster after another and now she looked back upon four abortions with horror and shame. She described it as a heavy burden. And yet, she was doing little to prevent her daughter from following the same path.
Our C4L counselor spoke to the two for an hour car-side. In that conversation, they both began to transform and see that God‘s Commandments were indeed wise and protective. They both agreed that the biggest disasters in their lives had been when they broke those Commandments.
Ultimately, Karen began to cry as the counselor talked about how God had such a great plan and purpose for her and she could be a woman of integrity and character and God-honoring choices. She still resisted the idea of choosing life, but the sorrow and conflict in her heart were palpable.
“I am not saying all this to harm you or hurt you,” the counselor said, “I am saying all this to help you make a choice that will prevent you from continuing on a path of destruction. Will you come on the mobile ultrasound RV and see your baby before you make this choice?” Karen nodded as she cried.
She had an ultrasound on board the Monroe Help Pregnancy Center RV parked on the curb. Through the expert sonography skills of our fantastic nurse, she saw her child’s beating heart. She saw the parts of her baby and learned about her child’s development and gestational age. She heard the wealth of resources we could offer to help her. Karen and Rita both heard a clear Gospel presentation.
She chose LIFE. As Karen stepped off the RV, she told the counselor, “I am excited about my baby.” Her mother hugged her and said, “Let’s go look online for things for my first grandchild.”
Late that night, she texted the C4L counselor: “Thank you for saving my child.“
Had Cities4Life not been out there despite the stay-at-home order, which does permit religious organizations to offer help to vulnerable people, that family and that baby would’ve been another sad statistic of death and destruction. Had she aborted, every indication was she would follow the same torturous path that her mother had followed and now deeply regretted. Her mother told our counselor, “If people like you had been out there telling me then, what you’re telling my daughter now, I think I would have made different choices.”
Our prayer is that cycle has been broken, and now our ongoing help, discipleship, and intervention will be provided. Karen is why we don’t stay home. Stories like this are why we follow God’s command to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. This is why we do not protest but proclaim life and help in the essential work of Cities4Life ministry on the sidewalks of abortion centers.
We ask for your prayers. Please pray that our counselors will be able to continue this life-saving work unhindered. And please pray for Rita and Karen as well as the three other women who chose life last Saturday because Cities4Life was there.
May God be glorified!!!
*names changed for privacy