Contributors Life matters

Sidewalk witness finds God at work in many ways

Debra Niesen is the archdiocesan consultant for the pro-life office.

by Debra Niesen

My two high school age sons and I spent a beautiful Saturday morning at the recent “40 Days for Life” campaign in front of the Center for Women’s Health abortion facility in Overland Park.

St. James Academy had “adopted” the day and dozens came together in prayer for the protection of the unborn and to give hope and support to women in a crisis pregnancy. God was truly working through those present that day and throughout the campaign.

We saw a friend of mine who had invited another friend to come along. Both were participating for the first time and were pleased to see the large, joyful group holding signs with positive messages valuing both woman and child.

The vast majority of honks and shouts from cars passing by were in support of us. There was an occasional negative comment or gesture, but it only inspired the group to pray specifically for that person.

I later learned that my friend’s friend was a young woman who only weeks before discovered she was unexpectedly pregnant. While she had always been pro-life, she admitted to my friend that given her situation — unmarried with a modest income and no nearby family — she felt tempted to succumb to the pressure from her “pro-choice” friends to “take care of the problem.”

Thankfully, my friend brought her to Advice & Aid for help and she is choosing life for her child! While this young woman has great courage and faith, the road for her remains challenging.

Coming to the sidewalk that Saturday and experiencing the prayers of the group only strengthened her decision and resolve. Little did the others on the sidewalk know the impact they were having.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the sidewalk, a group of high school young men were approached by a man who calmly told them that he was involved in an abortion years ago when he learned his unborn child had a severe medical condition and would likely not survive long after birth.

Witnessing the man’s suffering from the decision of that abortion and discussing the value of that child’s life was certainly a difficult yet valuable moment for all involved. God only knows if the man’s heart was moved by the witness of these young men, but he put them together for a reason.

The highlight of this campaign came early in the 40 days, on a day that the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park had adopted.

Annie, one of the campaign leaders, noticed a woman outside who seemed conflicted about entering the facility. Annie had the courage to beckon her over and invited the woman to have breakfast, and ultimately go to Advice & Aid with her.

After seeing her baby’s sonogram images, the mom chose life. God willing, the mom will stay connected to get the support she and her baby need.

Thank you to everyone who let God work through you to protect life in big and small ways on the sidewalk. Join us again next spring!

About the author

Debra Niesen

Leave a Comment