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Seminar for Sidewalk Counselors

by John Ensor at A Womanís Concern
January 30, 2001

General sidewalk counseling points

Convey love/empathy to the woman in sidewalk counseling. If you canít, you donít belong on the street. People have no ears for the truth if they donít detect love in the speaker.

Remember that most people do not make decisions intellectually, but emotionally.

The Abortion Determined (AD) woman (women heading to a clinic are almost always AD) is thinking of herself. Not being hurt by the abortion is very important to them.

Be in missionary mode when sidewalk counseling. Talk to them on their terms. Find out where they are and lead them to the next step.

Services offered by AWC

  • Free pregnancy testing. Most abortion clinics charge a fee.
  • Free consultation with a doctor. Most women have not talked with a doctor prior to their abortion and will not see a doctor in the clinic until they go to the table. AWC can set up an appointment with their on-staff doctor.

"If you havenít had a chance to see a doctor, we can provide you with a free consultation."

  • Free ultra-sound testing. Done in Dorchester and in Revere. They are especially intended for AV (abortion-vulnerable) and AD (abortion-determined) women. Test results can be sent electronically to a remote doctor for a signed diagnosis, avoiding the need for an on-site doctor.

On the sidewalk, emphasize that the woman has 1) a right to an ultra-sound and 2) a right to see the ultrasound. She should know how far along she is, according to the ultra-sound, so that the clinic does not overcharge her.

To the AV or AD woman, the test is suggested: "If youíre going to have an abortion we recommend an ultra-sound in order:

    1. to ascertain that you are really pregnant;
    2. to determine the how many weeks pregnant you are so that youíll know the cost of the abortion; and
    3. to determine that you have an intact uterine pregnancy, i.e., that you are not on the verge of a miscarriage.

We donít say to the woman, "Just look at the ultra-sound and you wonít have an abortion!" I.e., we donít manipulate, we l; P.O. Box 870037    Milton Village, MA 02187-0037
William Cotter, President
   E-mail the Boston Rescuer              

iend. Normally, a woman going in for an abortion doesnít ask questions of the clinic. If she does insist on her rights, they might think that she is a plant and refuse to give her an abortion.

Know about the different abortifacients / contraceptives offered at clinics and their risks. For example, Planned Parenthoodís information line has a 5-minute recording (!) about the "morning after pill," which gives a litany of the dangers of this pill.

Some points to convey in counseling:

  • "Make sure you demand your rights. You have a right to an ultra-sound, to see the ultra-sound, a medical consultation with a doctor and to know the doctorís name."
  • "You donít want to subject yourself to sub-standard medical care. Abortion is a surgical procedure." Note: licensed clinics are highly regulated. Private practices (such as Repro) are unregulated.
  • "Before consenting to an abortion, make sure you have an intact uterine pregnancy, rather than an ectopic pregnancy or an un-viable pregnancy. Thirty per cent (30%) of all first pregnancies end in miscarriage. You donít want to have an abortion if youíre going to have a miscarriageóthis is why you need to see the ultrasound."
  • If a woman says she doesnít believe in abortion, tell her, "In that case, youíre about to abort yourself, your values and your faith."
  • The #1 reason a woman has an abortion is to please a man in her life. It might be a husband, a father, or a boyfriend. Speak to the man. Tell him to make sure the woman is protected and to make sure her rights are protected. Tell him that they have a right to know the doctorís name and if the clinic does not give it to them, they should come out and talk to us. Tell him that she has a right to see the ultrasound in order to be certain that she has a viable pregnancy.
  • Mentoring and emotional support. Women with unplanned pregnancies see their pregnancy and subsequent newborn baby as the end of their life. Tell the woman, "We can help you develop a parenting plan. Give us 24 hours."
  • Know about the referral network for medical care, housing, and other social services. Donít be Santa Claus and oversell the help which is available. Housing, especially, is very hard to come by. But people do need hope; unfortunately, they think that abortion offers it.

  Operation Rescue: Boston    P.O. Box 870037    Milton Village, MA 02187-0037
William Cotter, President
E-mail the Boston Rescuer