Every human life is a gift to the world, and help is needed to save the lives of the unborn.

Speaking to a large group of pro-life Catholics, Dan Miller, State Director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, offered a sidewalk counseling training session at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Kenosha on Tuesday, May 30.

Praying on the sidewalks in front of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers is crucial for saving babies, he said. Additionally, it is important to reach out in love to those considering abortion or using abortifacients, such as the abortion pill or other types of birth control.

Miller said that the efforts of Pro-Life Wisconsin volunteers have saved the lives of 1,900 babies by logging more than 6,000 hours in front of centers that provide abortions.

“You have to become a good pro-life apologist,” said Miller. “There is the principle of double effect. A mother has the right to protect her own person, and today a mother can have a heart transplant while pregnant, and usually the baby is just fine, but if the baby dies, the intent was not to kill the baby. If a mother has cancer or a tubal pregnancy, and you try to get rid of the cancer or dislodge and move the baby and the baby dies, the secondary effect is losing the baby. We have to be able to defend our position that we are 100 percent pro-life. There are two lives, and if the baby dies, it is a secondary effect; the baby was not targeted, and it is not an abortion.”

Miller explained that many people have misconceptions about those who pray outside abortion facilities, thinking they yell at women or behave in other aggressive ways. In reality, they reach out in love and begin conversations because they truly want to help the mother and save the baby, he said.

“It is a peaceful effort to direct abortion- and contraception-oriented women and men towards healthy options,” Miller said. “We are the last line of defense outside the abortion facility.”

Miller suggested the following to anyone who would consider approaching others entering a facility known to offer abortions:

  • Identify who you are;
  • Draw people to find peace through Jesus;
  • Slow down and talk about keeping the baby;
  • Provide literature and explain the available help to the mother;
  • Focus on mom, baby, and God;
  • Grow in holiness and encourage them to choose life;
  • Love each person you encounter while counseling; and
  • Empower the woman to leave the facility.

Miller shared an experience about an especially grueling day in 2011. It was cold, his feet were wet, and he was having a bad day. No one was listening or would take any literature, and he was the only person on the sidewalk that day.

“It was a Tuesday, and I said ‘Lord, I want to go home.’ However, it was made clear to me that I wasn’t going anywhere,” he said. “It was four days before my birthday, and I wanted to relax, have some ‘me time,’ and watch TV. I was still convalescing from a leg injury and was feeling sorry for myself.”

He saw a couple come around the corner, and he prayed a quick prayer in Latin as they headed toward the door of Affiliated Medical Center.

“I had a Holy Spirit moment and said, ‘God bless you both,’” Miller said. “They turned around like I had three heads, and then I said, ‘Wait! God bless all three of you.’ I thought I had them, but they went into the building. I was devastated and kicking myself for not mentioning the baby. Inside, the woman was crying and asked the abortionist if the abortion would hurt her baby. He didn’t know what to say other than it wouldn’t hurt because he wasn’t allowed to say, ‘baby,’ as that is a four-letter word at an abortion center.”

At the clinic, the woman was given the abortion pill, but later changed her mind and got the abortion pill reversal. She named Miller and his wife as godparents because she believed Miller was an angel sent by God to be a voice for her baby.

In addition to tactics for sidewalk counseling, Miller went over the rights of those who pray and counsel outside abortion facilities, such as the First Amendment right to free speech.

“You have the right to protest in public places, and it is very helpful to wear a body camera. In case something happens, you have proof,” he said. “You can record on a public sidewalk or right of way. If you see electrical wires above you, you are in a right of way. If you are on a sidewalk, you are in the public right of way. The right of way can also extend 25 feet from the center of the road.”

If a woman does change her mind, offer to take her to the nearest pregnancy help center by providing a cab, or walking over with her if it is close, and post the good news on social media, Miller suggested.

For more information and literature on sidewalk counseling, go to prolifewi.org, call 262-796-1111 or email info@ProLifeWI.org.

Dan Miller, State Director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, shared tips with Catholics gathered at St. Therese of Lisieux in Kenosha on how to approach women and men who are entering facilities that provide abortions. (Photo by Karen Mahoney)