(December 2014) — Four days a week before 7:00 a.m., Allegra Edwards is on the sidewalk outside the Whole Woman’s abortion center in Minneapolis ready to help women in choosing life for their children. Allegra’s hour of prayer and sidewalk counseling is preceded by a 90-minute bus and train commute followed by classes at North Central University (across the street from Whole Woman’s). She is a freshman majoring in Intercultural Studies, and more specifically, missions. “I was shocked to learn that Whole Women’s abortion clinic was operating literally right next to the North Central campus,” Allegra said. “Up until that point, I had no real desire or ‘calling’ to sidewalk counsel, but I was stripped of all excuses!”
Getting out on the sidewalk has really helped Allegra understand the great need for sidewalk counselors. “What keeps me coming is the knowledge that if I am not out there, children perish, and women are hurt.”
Allegra has been praying outside abortion centers in the Twin Cities with her mother, Kara, and sister, Daniela, 11, since 2009. They started participating in many of the activities sponsored by Pro-Life Action Ministries. They have also attended many January 22 Marches for Life at the State Capital, organized by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). That is where a Pro-Life Action Ministries’ staff member handed Kara a brochure on sidewalk counseling. “My mom began counseling every Saturday morning at Planned Parenthood,” Allegra said, “and we began to join her on occasion for prayer support. That was my first experience being on the ‘frontlines’ of the pro-life movement.”
Although Allegra said she has yet to participate in a baby saved situation at Whole Women’s, hearing of babies saved from around the metro area is one of the best parts of this volunteer job. She also values being able to practice the art of “speaking the truth in love.” “This is crucial to my personal calling to missions,” she said. “Not a moment on the sidewalk is wasted!” She added that she doesn’t mind the early mornings, especially when she is “rewarded with a beautiful sunrise over Minneapolis.”
For Allegra, the hardest aspect of sidewalk counseling has been the rejection by so many of the women and couples entering the abortion facility. “It is frustrating sometimes to be dismissed so quickly when you are extending truth, hope and love to the women,” she said. Allegra notes that most of her classmates are supportive of what she does and have commended the work of sidewalk counselors, but still have reservations about coming out themselves. “I have tried to emphasize that it doesn’t require any special skills, just a humble heart and a willing attitude!” she said. However, three students have “shadowed” Allegra and other sidewalk counselors and have expressed an interest in sidewalk counseling themselves. “We are thankful for each of them, and are believing for many more!” she exclaimed. “To anyone considering coming out to pray or sidewalk counsel, I say, just do it! It really doesn’t take much and you can save a life! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the end of abortion in our lifetimes? There is no room for abortion apathy in our generation! Get up and do something about it!”
Editor’s note—Pro-Life Action Ministries is available to assist pro-life students with resources, speakers, and help in organizing prayer and witness outside abortion centers (especially if a permit is needed for large groups). If you want to get connected with others your age in the pro-life cause, contact us.