Day 13: Thanks to warm hearts praying on a chilly sidewalk!

How Planned Parenthood marketing inspires me! (And should inspire you too!)

My Fellow 40 Days for Life Family,

Have you ever taken a moment to look at the “Pledge a Picketer!” graphic in the window of Planned Parenthood? Every so often, it catches my eye and I have different reactions depending upon what section I focus on. Let’s go through each of the reactions I have experienced.

My first reaction when I saw the graphic was to be delighted! They were actually so bothered by our presence that they created a marketing piece! In possibly the most juvenile thought process imaginable, someone in that organization thought; “What if we show those Pro-Lifers that every time they show up, we make money from donations? I bet it will scare them away when they realize that being there actually supports us!”. [High Fives all around]. Let’s even thank them for being there! That will really get them to leave.”  Ummm, no, that was not the effect it had at all. It actually encouraged me to show up, since it confirmed that our presence was working!

When I look at the amount of money they “claim” to have raised from their campaign, I am actually amused. The value currently shown is $202,716.80 and it has been that same value for years now. I actually visited the site and it explains that you pledge a monetary amount per “picketer” and someone will contact you to tell you how many “picketers” were outside for that month. So, are they literally counting us? I wonder how those making a pledge feel when the numbers rise? Would I trust them on those numbers since it raises my donation amount? I would also ask, “if the numbers are rising, is my donation even having the desired effect of discouraging them?” In the end, simple math would suggest that the offset of pledge revenue for picketers can never make up for the loss of revenue they realize when we are present with a strong showing, when considering that the “no-show” rate can be as high as 75% when we are there.

The next section of the graphic that catches my attention (and that I find confusing) is the lower half; with a crowd of silhouettes lined up in seeming solidarity. Is it a representation of us? The ‘picketers’? I guess not, since the sign held up includes the QR code for donations and the flag held by the crowd indicates the ever-stagnant amount they claim to have raised. Of course, overlaid on this section is the ultimate statement in irony. A phrase that shouts, “Together We Stand for All!.”  Seriously? They obviously don’t stand with us, the Pro-Lifers, so the claim of “All” is off by a huge margin. More importantly, they are purposely ignoring what we consider the most important part of “All” – the unprotected and unborn babies that we “Stand For.” They do the literal opposite of standing for them.

Finally, there is one line in the text that I actually find inspiring! It’s the very first sentence:  “The Picketers who stand outside our doors can’t be stopped.” I can’t believe they are saying that part out loud. Inadvertently they are complimenting us on our commitment, our passion and our absolute belief that we must speak on behalf of those that cannot speak for themselves. It is probably the only true statement on their sign…we are unstoppable! God will never let us rest while his children, His creation, are being eradicated and we won’t be stopped until this human rights injustice becomes unthinkable to ALL!

So, the next time you have a few extra moments between prayers down at Planned Parenthood, glance at the sign in the window for an opportunity to be equal parts delighted, amused, confused and inspired!  And if you ever have a doubt about the time this movement is taking, remember we are an unstoppable force for good! 

-Bill S.

Stories from the Sidewalk

Mark, Anthony, and Michael

It was rather nippy today. We are adjusting to the fall weather. This is my first campaign at this early time. Rather quiet and people are still trying to wake up. Several PP staff entering building and one gave me a reassuring glance which surprised me. They are not supposed to do abortions on Mondays, but I am wondering if they are starting to do them. No incidents to report. We offered prayers and said hello to passersby. 


Dave, Marlene, and Fran

It was a beautiful, peaceful but very cold day and, since it is a Federal Holiday it was also quiet.  Early in the shift I stood on one side of PP to pray quietly and Dave and Marlene were on the other.  I saw that a woman had stopped to speak with them and I later learned that she was telling them that she is from the Philadelphia area and she is here visiting her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.  This was an exceptional thing because, as she explained further, her son was conceived when she was just fifteen years old.  Because she was afraid that she would be forced to have an abortion she kept her pregnancy a secret.  She said that she felt in her heart that she was being encouraged by the Holy Spirit to keep her baby and she was being blessed with confidence that everything would work out for them.  Although there were struggles to overcome, everything did work out.  She is very thankful for the many treasured blessings in her life.  She also shared that, because of all that she has been through, she was recently able to use her own experience, along with a resource pamphlet that she obtained from 40 Days for Life, to provide assistance to a young woman who is pregnant and in need of services.  She helped her to get to a shelter and is very hopeful that, because of the resources available, that this young lady will hopefully be able to preserve in the days ahead.  Please keep them in prayer.


I was so thankful for the time spent praying on the sidewalk today.  Ginny and Marie are so faithful as leaders.  Many interesting (and some amazing!) things happened on the sidewalk today, but I wanted to share something about my prayer time.  Occasionally when I’m on the sidewalk, and particularly if I’m praying by myself (which I was today,) I opt for praying from the Liturgy of the Hours.  I spent most of the two hours using “Morning Prayer” as my guide.  While praying, I kept getting the very clear sense that the prayers I was praying were not only relevant for those inside PP, or those who had used their awful “services” today.  The prayers were also for me — and for all of us as well.  We are all sinners.  It was made clear to me that we ALL are in some kind of darkness…. it’s just that the degree of darkness differs amongst us.  Some have their intellects darkened by believing lies about false “choices” regarding their baby, their gender, or their sexual relationships.  But my own intellect has been darkened too.  I suffer and struggle with my own sinfulness too.  And the more I succumb to the influence of sin, the more I contribute to the overall sinfulness of the world, and I am no longer part of the solution, but am very obviously part of the problem.  However, if I want to help in some small way of bringing light to the world instead of darkness, that means I have to change.  I have to be obedient to God.  I have to trust Him.  I have to live my life the way I “say” I do.  By doing this, the darkness can be mitigated, perhaps just a tiny bit.   But that tiny bit matters.  When we each change and grow towards God in those tiny ways, we are contributing to the solution.  May we continue to strive to beg the Lord for help in guiding us out of the darkness and into His own, wonderful light.


Busy afternoon at PP; quite a few leaving with little brown paper bags, sad. If today wasn’t an abortion day, it sure looked like one. Wonderful crew of George, Beverly, Marie and her husband, and Dean kept the prayer vigil going through two chilly hours. Comments were at a minimum with people just hurrying to get out of the wind. 


Kayleigh, Maria, Joanne and Dan

Kayleigh and Maria from Regina Coeli Parish prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet with us and stayed the remainder of the shift. Earlier a girl and guy (I assume they were a couple) approached and asked if they could each have a small baby model and the Little Feet pins. After I gave them each one, they went into PP. Five minutes later they came back out and told us PP was closed and the girl said she wanted some prenatal care. We gave her all the information we could and I directed her to Catholic Charities. They were very appreciative and very nice people and didn’t appear to be looking to abort the child but were only looking for help! After they took the information we gave them and they thanked us they headed towards Catholic Charities. A little later it dawned on me that it was Columbus Day and Catholic Charities may not be open. I pray they find the help they needed!


5 thoughts on “Day 13: Thanks to warm hearts praying on a chilly sidewalk!”

  1. It’s so sad that in their minds this is all about money. They don’t seem to understand that if we save even just one life it doesn’t matter how much money they have; we’ve still done more good than they have evil.

  2. Such an encouraging and insightful meditation, Bill! And great reports from the sidewalk. Thank you all for sharing!

  3. So thankful for all of the saints on the sidewalk outside of PP that are reflecting Christ to every soul that passes by. May the seeds of love you are planting grow in the hearts of those that do not know Jesus as their Savior. I believe babies and lost souls are being saved because of your obedient hearts and actions!

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