What is “Sidewalk”?

Every Saturday, members of Students for Life go to the local abortion clinic to be a peaceful and prayerful presence at the clinic. We go to the Sidewalk in front of the clinic not only for the children whose lives are at risk, but also for their mothers and fathers, who may feel like abortion is their only choice.

We do not go to judge the women and the people that accompany them into the clinic, but we focus on quiet prayer for the women entering the clinic, the unborn whose lives are at risk, the clinic staff, and the volunteer escorts who work at the clinic.

Some of our students who are trained as sidewalk counselors stand on the sidewalk leading up to the clinic and they give out life-saving information to the women entering the clinic in a loving way.

Why go to “Sidewalk”?

We go to the abortion clinic every week to be there for the mothers and fathers going into the clinic, and also to be present for the unborn child who is facing a tragic death if his or her mother goes through with her decision to abort.

Our sidewalk counselors are there to talk to the mothers about other options such as adoption, pregnancy resources, healthcare needs, etc.

Isn’t it hard to go to Sidewalk and witness the tragedy that goes on there?

Sometimes going to sidewalk is very difficult and it can be emotionally draining. You might feel like people are judging you for being there, or that your presence and prayers are not really making a difference.

Despite these challenges, we are hopeful. We trust in God’s love and mercy. The Lord works through the sidewalk counselors and prayers outside of the clinic. We go to be His instruments there, and we entrust our prayers to Him along with any sorrows or struggles we might encounter at the clinic.

When a woman talks to a sidewalk counselor and decides to choose life for her child, we can see the difference that God is making, and the work He is using us to do, even if it seems very small sometimes.

Doesn’t it seem kind of  judgmental to be praying outside of an abortion clinic?

At CUA, we strive to pray and counsel in a loving, compassionate, and non-judgmental way. We recognize the reality that many women who go to the clinic have been pressured by their families, boyfriends or husbands to have an abortion and feel like they don’t have any other options.

While some may say that it is judgmental, or it is “not their place” to pray in front of a clinic, the reality is that abortion is the greatest human rights offense in history and one-third of a college student’s generation is not here because of legalized abortion.

If we do not stand up and make a peaceful, but strong statement for the voiceless, how can we hope to live in a culture of life one day? Going to sidewalk is an active, loving way to participate in the pro-life movement and many lives are saved as a result.

What about the women who go through with their decision to abort their child?

These are the women who need love and compassion the most. The abortion appointments at the clinic usually end between 12 and 1 pm and CUA has students there who pray into the late afternoon each week, and counsel women who are post-abortive.

CUA's Post-abortion counselors give women information about Project Rachel, a post-abortive healing resource for women who experience post-abortive grief and pain. Most importantly, we are there to pray for the grieving women and the souls of their deceased children.

How do I get involved in Sidewalk Ministry?

If you are interested in learning more about sidewalk ministry, please contact the office of Campus Ministry or email cua-campus-ministry@cua.edu

We also encourage you to go on the Students for Life Sidewalk Counseling Retreat in the fall (exact date to be determined). The retreat is at the Precious Blood Monastery in Brooklyn, NY and is led by Msgr. Phillip Reilly, the founder of “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants,” an organization that promotes sidewalk counseling that is done in a loving and compassionate manner. 

 If you have further questions about the retreat, sidewalk prayer and counseling, or Students for Life, please contact:cua-campus-ministry@cua.edu