Why should I do Sidewalk Counseling when there’s no turnaround?

I have been involved in sidewalk counseling for over three years now and haven’t had a single ‘save’. So, why should you be there at the abortion clinic trying to offer help when there is no visible sign of change of heart encountered personally? I mean, when there is no turnaround, when there is not a single sign of a child’s life has been saved because you were there? These are few questions that I encountered, continue to encounter and happen to share with some of my friends doing the same work. These questions might sound silly and could also be answered in simple ways but it’s never enough for those in similar position. I always found them to be unsettling. But lately I’ve been looking deeper into what I experience standing at these places where babies die every day.

I do sidewalk counseling at one of the most busiest abortion clinics in United States. They’re open seven days a week, from 7 am – 10 pm. Even on Christmas day and New Years day. Below are some of my experiences which bring reassurance every time the same question raises in my head. Why should I be here in front of this clinic when I don’t get a turnaround, when I don’t get to save the life of a child?

Monsignor Reilly of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants introduced me to this place. I did what he asked me to do. “Stay there and give this material to the mothers as they come, tell them either their friend or someone in need would find help in this information and give them the rosary.” As much as I was terrified at being in front of an abortion clinic, I was beyond terror in the idea of handing out rosaries in the public. I did it anyway. At the end of each day I kept telling him : I’m not sure if am called to do this, am not good at speaking to people, am an introvert and I like it that way, this is out of my comfort zone and most of all my ultimate card is ” I don’t get any turnarounds” which i thought was a sign to me that I wasn’t meant to do Sidewalk Counseling. Every time I came up with any of these excuses he used to say, “Don’t say that, you do not know how many lives your’e saving. People don’t really come back and say but there are hearts transformed and babies saved.” This wasn’t enough for me. But I continued doing what I was doing for months and all of a sudden these things started happening to me. When I began to ponder on those incidents, I began to find my answers. May be these might be of help to you in your sidewalk journey.

  1. Yesterday a man kept starring at me in an anticipation of having a conversation. After 10 minutes he came up and asked, “what’s happening here?” I told him that this was an abortion clinic which performs abortions up to 6 months. I could the see shock in his eyes. He kept shaking his head in disbelief saying “they’re playing God, this is life” and so on. We kept talking about the place and the help offered to the mothers etc. He said he was recently baptized and going through a difficult time himself with questions about the purpose of life and meaning of his existence and that he was being tempted to commit suicide. He kept giving himself reassurance as he shared his battle with thoughts of suicide. I could see how depressed and broken one must be to try to find help and hope that with a simple sign of God (I was holding bunch of Rosaries in my hand ) that they try to do the right thing. I reminded him to hold on and that times of rest is on the way and that he’s precious in God’s eyes. His eyes welled up. He said he will try to remind himself about that. I was present in front of the clinic that day just for him to know that God loves him and that his life matters.
  2. I happen to speak with a young woman the same day as I offered her the brochure along with the rosary. She never knew this place performed abortions too. I told her how as she sat in the waiting room some babies get to live and some get to die. She was shocked because she was there for her general check up. I encouraged her to find some other place. On her way back she came to me and asked how I do this work because she wanted to help. I gave her the number of Sisters of Life to get started. I was present in front of the clinic that day to show her that she can be a witness to life. Who knows, she might begin Sidewalk counseling some day or become a prolife warrior herself.
  3.  Last month I was in my usual spot. I should confess it was a slow day for me. I didn’t handout much brochures or approach many people. It was one of my low days. As I was about to leave with a empty and indifferent heart a woman came close to me and asked what I was doing. I explained myself and she said “I don’t believe in abortions, but I can’t say to someone else, you know there are women who get raped”. Uhh rape! really! I’ll try my best to handle this I told myself. I agree with you partly I said, but the child didn’t rape her right, would you say the child is a victim or perpetrator? She looked at me and suddenly turned her gaze away saying, true- but let me tell you, her “true” wasn’t loud enough. I spoke with her for next 10 minutes all of a sudden she began to cry. She said she was the 9th child to her mother, her mom had her and her sisters when the father left her, she brought them all up by herself and she could never see anymore more stronger than her mom. I reminded her of women’s strength and love is stronger than death. She thanked me and she wants to meet her mom right away and thank her for having her. She said “I could have easily ended up as an abortion myself, i should go and meet my mom it’s her birthday this week”. I was there that day at the clinic just for this to happen.
  4. A couple were rushing past by me after parking their car. The husband got curious at the bunch of rosaries and asked me if it was for sale. I told him “It’s free, but could you please say a prayer for the mothers and the babies inside please, this is an abortion clinic.” He was shocked, called his wife, she was ahead of him so he shouted, “honey this is an abortion clinic”. May be this is why the clinic gets mad at me. lol. She came back, they both took a rosary and promised to pray. I was there at the clinic so people would know human beings are killed and that the modern day gulags, Dachau and Ravenbrucks are among us even today. Not outside the city but right in the middle of the city.
  5. I handed out a brochure to a woman who came of the clinic with my usual explanation. She said “Oh no, am not doing abortion, am trying to have baby”. I tried to bring her to senses as how could babies get to live and get killed at the same place. She pulled her phone out and showed the picture of her 17 year old son who she had even when the father of the child left her. “thank you so much for doing this” she said. I encouraged her to find some other place for her prenatal care. She knew what it was to have a child when the father has abandoned, she showed me how important it is that someone is in front of abortion clinics to remind moms that they can do it. Hopefully she finds another prenatal provider.
  6. A Muslim woman stopped and asked me what I was doing. She stopped by looking at my nose ring thinking if I was a bengali or bangladeshi. I told her am neither. She thought I was an evangelist. I told her I give rosaries to people since a lot of them need a sign of God which gives them hope, I don’t force it on people and explained her about the place and the work. She sounded strong in her position against abortion and promised to pray. We had such a good conversation even though we were from different religion. I was there that day and found out no matter the difference of religion people can see the objective truth. May be someday sidewalk counseling will become a reality in India.
  7. A man who works for the city and maintains the sidewalk has been observing me for couple of days. He came up and asked me if I was evangelizing and what church I go to. I explained to him about the real purpose (may be I was evangelizing indirectly, lol, who knows) He asked for a rosary and promised to pray. He prayed with me for few minutes before leaving and encouraged me to continue my work. I was there showing people what this place is about, what’s going on inside and collecting prayers. Those who know the power of prayer can see what can happen and what is possible.

I haven’t had a turnaround. I do not know if a mother changed her heart and chose life for her baby. But each day that I am at this place people stop to thank me for what I do, remind me that they’re glad somebody is there, get to know that it’s a place where children are put to death, promise to pray for this evil to end etc. These are far more visible signs for me to be there and do what I have been doing.

Monsignor once said “at the Calvary Jesus was put to death, the disciples went back discouraged and consumed by fear and despair, but the reality is He rose again on the third day. This place is modern day Calvary. You cannot leave the babies die alone. You have to be there to show them that they’re being loved. they’re innocent and go to God but the mother who comes out, comes to know the truth of abortion and for her we’ll be a sign of God’s unconditional love. Since she has seen the truth about abortion, she’ll think about you the next time.We’re there not simply to save bodies but to save souls.”

If you’re someone in similar position as I am remember, when you’re there in front of the clinic you’re there for the babies as you would be for Jesus on the Cross in Calvary. The children will know that you were there for them, fought for them, prayed for them and no child should be left to die alone and unloved.

Letter to Bishops in India

Your Excellency,                                                                                                       May 30, 2018

Greetings!

I’m writing to you for a very urgent cause and on behalf of poor lay brothers, sisters and families under your apostolic leadership, who in the poverty of our being, need you in this gravest hour of our times.

My name is Carmel Nisha Pius Franco. I’m the daughter of The Archdiocese of Madras- Mylapore, Chennai involved in service of the weakest and vulnerable of our society – the unborn, the sick, the dying. Those whose voice is often unheard or silenced deliberately.

I’m a pro-life activist from a very humble background, traveling between U.S. and India, involved in the cause for life through writing, speaking, activism, counseling women near abortion clinics, helping pregnancy centers etc. However, it is not on my account that I write to Your Excellency but only in the worthy name of Jesus Christ and our beloved Mother to bring to your attention the urgent need of your people.

India is under attack. It has always been the focus of proponents of Eugenics and population control. While some of the problems highlighted by the propaganda machinery seem legitimate they often have hidden agendas and inhumane solutions to human problems. The prime example is the state-sponsored murder of unborn children as a solution to poverty reduction. Rather than eradicating poverty, it began to eradicate children by violent and extreme methods of abortion. Rather than finding a cure for genetic abnormalities, it began eliminating children with disabilities in the womb. Rather than enhancing the dignity of women, it turns women against their own children and families brainwashing them to think that motherhood is a burden and always an obstacle to empowerment. Rather than teaching families in the path of Responsible Parenthood (Humanae Vitae no.10) it pushes artificial contraceptives (they are mostly abortifacients) erasing the sacredness of  ‘marital act’ and God’s purpose for human sexuality. The prophecy of Blessed Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humane Vitae is actually happening around the globe and especially in our country India.

These activities are not accidental occurrences or random events. They are well-planned actions of few people executed in a systematic fashion in India as well as other poor and developing nations. They push these policies through various UN organizations like WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA. They collaborate with huge non-profit corporates like Bill and Melinda Gates, Ford Foundation, George Soro’s Open Foundation, McArthur Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes International.  They influence, fund and push many of our government policies in collaboration with other local NGO’s. They create and spread false alarms and panic over country’s problems in order to gain blind acceptance or even celebration of evils like abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, embryo experimentation, cloning, egg freezing, surrogacy, sperm/egg harvesting, unethical artificial reproductive technologies, organ trafficking etc

16 Million Abortions in one year

While these policies encountered strong opposition in many western countries, it was quite easily adopted and implemented aggressively in India. One good example would be the legalization of Abortion in our country. August 10, 1971, India legalized abortion two years before the United States of America, one of the most liberal countries in the world. While there have always been some elements of Culture of Death in India- the normalization and celebration of evil through state sponsorship shows signs of dangerous and troubling times.

As Your Excellency might already know that there is an organized effort in India to lift the current ban on abortion from 20 weeks to 24 / 26 weeks and with a hidden agenda in the policy to even make it on-demand. Recently Passive Euthanasia was legalized in India. It laid down the foundation for active euthanasia. Many Indian research institutions have been conducting experiments on embryos. Organ trade has killed more people under the disguise of ‘brain dead’. Our children are sexualized through government’s RKSK program and are taught to ask for contraceptives and abortion without parental knowledge and consent. With the widespread prevalence of IVF clinics, children formed outside the womb are discarded at an enormous rate. Human life and dignity are targeted and exploited both inside and outside the womb in our country.

A recent research study conducted by Guttmacher Institute and IIPS institute in Mumbai found that almost 16 million abortions were performed in India in 2015. 16 million innocent children murdered in just one year. We do not know yet how many lives are lost to abortion since 1971 or how many are killed through euthanasia or how many embryos are left to die or purposely killed by selective reduction in the sprawling IVF clinics of our country.

This holocaust compels me to beg your attention. Your Excellency, we must do something. We cannot say ‘I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper’ (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae no.08)

In my capacity of working with C-FAM (the primary organization that defends life, Holy See and the family at United Nations), being trained by Monsignor Dr. Philip Reilly (the founder and director of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants who has traveled to 6 continents and have worked with hundreds of Bishops in U.S, Europe and elsewhere in conducting powerful prolife witness), being a coworker with Sisters of Life-( a contemplative active religious community whose charism is the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life), most importantly in my capacity of working to build a culture of life in India, I see and realize from my experience that the countries/communities that are vigorously prolife when Catholics and their Catholic Bishops led the charge. A clear example of this can be seen in America where Bishops are unapologetically Pro-life and encourage priests and people to do likewise. They conduct prayer vigils outside abortion clinics, they support local projects that help women in crisis pregnancy, they head healing retreats for men and women hurt by abortion, they instruct people on crucial decisions like end of life care. Among the pro-life apostolate, the most important act of them is having a National day of remembrance with the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of Mass for the anniversary of the legalization of abortion in their country. This helped me as a Catholic to bring to my attention and provides an opportunity to speak against the evil and strike a conversation with the faithful on its deadly effects.

Mass and National Day of Remembrance for the Unborn

As our beloved Pope St. John Paul II reminds us in Evangelium Vitae (no.96-100), we are called to defend life and build a culture of life through concrete measures all of which begins with the formation of conscience and the renewal of this culture. Growing up under the protection of our Catholic tradition, on solemn days of remembrance, I always had pondered about the cause. It gave me and many of fellow brothers and sisters an opportunity to remember, to pray and commit ourselves to the cause. Your Excellency, with the tragedy of abortion and evils of the culture of death happening in our midst, we should have a ‘Day of Remembrance for the unborn children killed by legalized abortion in India’. It should be on August 10th the anniversary of legal abortion in the country (August 10, 1973). On this day of solemn remembrance, Mass should be offered across the dioceses for the reparation of grave sins committed against human life and the dignity of the human person through abortion in our country.

As Pope John Paul II says: ‘whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself.’ It is only fitting that these crimes which are orchestrated by the power of the evil one can only be dealt with the most supernatural weapon at our disposal- The Eucharist. ‘Behind every murder is the evil one’ (Evangelium Vitae 08) and so is behind every abortion the power of evil displayed. Fr. John Harden (Servant of God) said ‘There is no stopping of Abortion without the Eucharist’.

Remembering the day of the legalization of Abortion

When human life is not respected inside the womb, it will not be treated with dignity and reverence outside the womb. It is meaningless to try and solve other problems and human rights abuses of people without addressing the issue of abortion. “If we accept that a Mother can kill her own child, what is left for us to kill each other?” – St. Teresa of Calcutta Legalization of murder, justification of this intrinsically evil act and celebration of this human sacrifice marks with clarity the destruction of the society. The legalization of abortion opened the doors for Euthanasia and other dangerous evils Ever since the legalization of abortion all evil that was once unthinkable became justifiable.

Your Excellency! I beg you, we must act now and act with diligence. It is already too late.

Abortion is happening in Christian homes, in Catholic households in India. Your Excellency must have encountered this in your ministry to God’s people in your respective diocese. But we are beyond abortion at this stage. Catholic couples are taking refuge to abortifacients, unethical artificial reproductive technologies and becoming complicit in the attack against human life. Manipulating embryos as a commodity to be designed, ordered and purchased to one’s own liking. Elders are deserted, sick are treated as a burden and on the mask of false compassion put to death.

Dearest father, am sure you would agree with me that before doing any programs or campaigns in dealing with this ‘Culture of Death’ in India first of all, we need the help of God. Because these are not simply social evils as the secular world looks at them. These are not ‘developmental issues’ or ‘political issues’ it is most of all a spiritual battle. The battle between good and evil. We need the help of God. With the Mass on the Day of remembrance, we would have recourse to God, reparation of sins and reaching the conscience of people.

“A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.” – Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 100* 

I beg Your Excellency for the sake of your people and on behalf of the 400 million innocent unborn children murdered so far in our Indian soil through abortion to offer in your diocese Solemn Mass on August 10th remembering the mass murder of unborn children and making it as a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children..

I have attached some supporting documents that might help in this special task along with my contact information. I make myself available at your service to help parishes under your care in any way I can through all possible means in this task if Your Excellency wishes and permits.

Also, I wish to acknowledge the fact of my unworthiness. I dared to approach you only as a daughter would approach her father in times of anguish and need, for the sake of and on behalf of our people who are unable to speak for themselves and whose silent screams should not be left unheard. I would like to thank Your Excellency for the time and submit hopefully to Your grace and God’s providence.

 

Respectfully Yours in Christ,

Carmel Nisha Pius Franco