This photo is of a 3 week old baby girl, saved at the very gates of an abortion centre where she was once scheduled to have her little life snuffed out. Fortunately the man in the photo met her parents as part of a ’40 Days for Life’ campaign and helped to get them the support they needed to continue with the pregnancy and beyond. He speaks here to other people who consider themselves to be pro-life and challenges them with these words:

Abortion . . . such a loaded word. No one likes to think about it, no one likes to talk about it but the reality is our children are dying before they get to see the face of their mother. We can actively do something, we can be present for them.

The heavy weight of the media and our own fear creates huge temptations to stay away from abortion centres. “I can just stay at home and pray” “I’ll make women feel guilty”, “what use is it anyway?”, “what if I don’t know what to say?” thoughts like this went through my mind as I first witnessed outside an abortion facility . . . but mustering as much courage as I could, and following the example of others, I braved it. It was ok. I began to see with my own eyes the desperate need for prayer and acts of love outside this place. With a tender offer of a leaflet began many a conversation with women and their partners. When someone said no or walked by then I fully respected their wishes, some have come back to talk following our respectfulness. Being a man, I’m sure many would say I have no place being there but if you think about it – do men not have an obligation to stand up for their sisters and children in society? Too many men have let women down. I have let women down in various ways in my life. Outside the abortion facility, women can see that men care for them as their brothers. We also get to talk with other men, many of whom are confused as to whether they are doing the right thing supporting the abortion. Fear pervades. Hope is far from their hearts. But we can bring new hope, both in practical ways and through encouragement. We are not just pro-birth but pro-life. Men and women can access help before and after birth due to charities such as The Good Counsel Network and Life. Those who suffer after an abortion can be directed to where they can find healing from organisations like Rachel’s Vineyard. We can signpost this help and give them a fresh perspective. This was the case with a father I met outside an abortion centre at a recent 40 days for life campaign. The family had planned to terminate their child’s life, but with support and options of practical help their baby girl was born in July (shown in the photo).

And prayer. How easily we forget the spiritual reality. There is a spirit world operating around us. Again, our human nature plays this down. We can go about our lives without the thought of the spiritual, apart from when we perhaps go to church. The secular world makes such an impression on us, even if we think of ourselves as not worldly. Stand up comedians mock religion as unintelligent or unprogressive. Crude dark satire replaces hope. Sensuality is kindled into a haze of pleasure seeking and the young are turned in on themselves with ever increasing social media platforms. Not decrying all new technology and wholesome secular creativity, but there is big money behind most of it and greed has no time for the spiritual health of the nation.

Why do I say all this? Because we need to put aside these voices of fear and ‘what ifs’ and step out in faith. Be bold. We bring ourselves as an offering, for the love of women, men and children. Prayer at home is needed, but prayer at the abortion centre is efficacious because powers and dominions reside there and souls of women and children are passing by. Let us pray over this place with the breath of our lungs and declare it for God.

But we must love. We must love those we meet, before anything. Let us be careful of point proving or frustrations. How Jesus loved the woman he stepped out to meet at the well. He spoke truth to her heart and looked at her with love. She knew what love was that day.

O Jesus, save us from the spirit of timidity and give us the power of love and self control.
Deacon David Donaghue
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