An eye-opening short film from Sidewalk Advocates for Life reveals the new challenges that sidewalk counselors are facing as pregnant mothers from pro-life states travel across state lines to abort their unborn babies.
Since Dobbs v. Jackson, pro-life advocates said they are encountering more mothers who feel intense pressure to abort their unborn babies because an abortion fund has already paid for it.
“By the time they’ve made the commitment to that drive, that flight … it is so much harder to get them to pause,” said Lauren Muzyka, president and CEO of Sidewalk Advocates for Life. “It’s that psychology of influence, commitment and consistency.”
The 14-minute documentary follows Muzyka as she speaks with pro-life leaders in Texas and New Mexico, the new “ground zero” in the abortion battle. Watch it here.
Mark Cavaliere, executive director of the Southwest Coalition for Life in New Mexico, told her how their sidewalk counselors used to help four to five mothers choose life every day in Las Cruces and Santa Teresa.
“Now, there’s a different level of desperation,” Cavaliere said. “The women that we’re seeing have invested so much. Often times they have gotten a plane ticket and they’ve flown across the state. They’ve gotten hotel rooms and rented rental cars, and by the time they show up at the abortion facility they say they’ve got to catch a plane back in a few hours.”
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More women are traveling from Texas than ever before because New Mexico does not have any restrictions on abortion, he said. One day, they saw a long line of women on the sidewalk outside one abortion facility – all of them from Texas, Cavaliere said.
“We’ve really just been feeling overwhelmed and overrun by what is this predatory abortion industry that is flocking to this area where abortion still remains completely unrestricted and unregulated,” he said.
Muzyka’s organization has peaceful, loving sidewalk counselors outside 239 abortion and abortion referral facilities across the U.S., and they also are seeing more women who feel pressured and desperate because of the money that the abortion industry is offering to abort their unborn babies.
After Texas banned abortions last summer, she said Houston sidewalk advocates found out that Planned Parenthood was providing $300 gift cards to persuade women to cross state lines for abortions. Fortunately, they were able to offer ultrasounds and life-affirming resources to the women, and many chose life for their babies, she said.
But when women decide to take the money and cross state lines, Muzyka said sidewalk counselors are finding it much harder to reach them.
Pregnancy center staff and volunteers are witnessing the same thing, said Dominique Davis, president and CEO of Project Defending Life, a New Mexico pregnancy center that provides information and support to pregnant and parenting moms.
“By the time they get here, they’re even more committed to obtaining this abortion because the abortion facilities, the referral centers in Texas have already given them a gift card,” Davis said. “[They] feel more pressured to obtain the abortion because it’s already been paid for.”
Yet, Muzyka said all hope is not lost. Many sidewalk counselors also have noticed pregnant mothers in pro-life states are more open to life-affirming resources – when pro-lifers are there to reach out to them.
That is why sidewalk counseling and projects like 40 Days for Life are still vitally important in states where abortions are restricted or banned, she said.
“People need you in abortion-restricted communities to be on the ground, to be there for the women of your community at your local Planned Parenthood abortion referral facility … to reach women before they are tempted to make a commitment to going across state lines and taking the life of their child,” Muzyka continued.
She encouraged pro-life advocates to keep witnessing outside abortion facilities because they are making a difference, and she urged more to get involved.
“We can be there with life-affirming resources to help them … before they’re tempted to cross state lines and take the life of their child,” Muzyka said. “It’s so much easier. We’ve seen it on the ground firsthand that women are actually [choosing life] because abortion is not readily available.”