Portland, Maine – A restaurant owner in Maine is using free food as part of a devised plan to assemble area residents in protest against a number of pro-life women that minister to abortion-minded mothers outside of the local Planned Parenthood.
Mike Fink of Mike’s Restaurant in Portland states that he is staging a protest next Friday because he opposes the presence of the women and their children at the abortion facility, which is located next door to his business.
“Normally, we do not get involved in religious or political debate because it is a waste of time,” Fink wrote in a recent newspaper advertisement. “However, these people have become a problem. These protesters bring their young children and use them to push their views and beliefs without any regard of local businesses or the long-term mental health of their own children.”
Fink then issued an offer to those that will join him in protesting the pro-life group.
“Help us on Friday, January 4, 2013 by holding a sign or making a presence against these insane, stupid people, and get a free coffee and breakfast sandwich,” the ad states, with the offer in all caps.
Christian News Network spoke with two of the women that minister outside of Planned Parenthood in Portland, and learned that both of them are post-abortive mothers who state that they just want to reach out to other women who are where they once were.
“I was a model in Japan, so you can understand the life that I led,” said Donna Hebert, now homeschooling mother of six. “With that lifestyles comes very bad decisions. At fifteen years of age, I did get pregnant.”
Hebert says that she was coerced by her boyfriend and his family to obtain an abortion, and “felt very helpless” about the situation. Over the six years that followed, Hebert had three more abortions.
“When I was 21, I got saved,” she explained, noting that she also married that same year and moved to America. “I was 22 when I gave birth to my son. … I was counting his fingers and toes, and it hit me really hard what I had done.”
Leslie Sneddon, now homeschooling mother of two, said that she also had four abortions.
“Prior to my conversion as a born again Christian, I was pro-abortion,” she said. “I was a feminist, and I was highly promiscuous. And with that sort of lifestyle, I ended up choosing death for four of my children.”
Sneddon explained that her journey from death to life began twelve years ago during a religious service as she saw a man wearing a pin with little feet on it.
“I was struck with terror, and I did not want to ask what was on the lapel of his jacket,” Sneddon said. “I went home just completely undone. I couldn’t sleep. I tossed all night. I cried. I was likened to David soaking his pillow from repentance.”
She then began attending March for Life events, and during that same year, found out that she was pregnant. By 2004, Sneddon was sharing her testimony publicly and soon became involved with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, of which she serves as executive director for the Maine and New England branches.
This past summer, after the women discovered that Planned Parenthood of Portland was performing abortions, they decided to reach out to other women like themselves.
“One early Friday morning in July, I headed out by myself,” Hebert explained. “I sat on the bench and prayed.”
Hebert’s adopted 8-year-old son from Ethiopia offers a passerby a pro-life tract.
Hebert, who adopted a child from Ethiopia this year, has since decided to bring her eight-year-old son with her as a testament to the abortion-minded mothers.
“I thought it would be good to have him out there with the sign that [says] ‘Adoption is the loving option,’” she explained.
Two of her other children, ages 18 and 11, also accompany her during the outreach.
Sneddon has joined Hebert every week as well, and what began as two women grew into a group of a number of supporters, including several men who take turns open-air preaching.
“We have a grandmother coming out and she sings,” Sneddon also noted.
“We pray, we sing hymns [and] when a woman goes in for an abortion, we plead with her,” Hebert explained.
While Fink, who also owns Guitar Grave next to Planned Parenthood, wrote in his advertisement that the women have “taken to yelling at women entering the Planned Parenthood office,” Hebert and Sneddon state that their outreach is being mischaracterized.
“[We call out], ‘Please, there are other choices! You don’t have to do this! We can help you!,’” Hebert explained. “I am able to cry out and tell them that I regret my abortion.”
“That’s what they consider ‘screaming,’” she said. “We have a split second window to reach out to these women.”
The women also stated that they have had resistance since they first began ministering six months ago, including a “cash mob” that was organized to raise money for Planned Parenthood. They are aware of Fink’s dislike of their outreach.
“One day, he opened up the door and purposefully played South Park (a cartoon on MTV) — an episode where it blasphemes God,” Hebert explained.
Leslie Sneddon talks to a man who stops to observe the outreach.
“I have a couple of Silent No More signs that say, ‘I regret my abortion,’ but with somebody involved in that kind of darkness, I don’t even think that would register for him,” Sneddon said.
Fink’s newspaper advertisement, however, called the women “rude, loud [and] self-righteous anti-abortion protesters [who] harass young women…”
Hebert and Sneddon said that they just want to reach women with the Gospel and promote a culture of life.
“I want Christ to use me to seek and save the lost,” Sneddon said. “I feel the brokenness of not having six children instead of the two that I’m thankful I do have. … We’ve been birthed with this [ministry], and I just want to be faithful to the Lord.”
“Our goal is to see Maine abortion-free,” Hebert explained. “We know it can happen.”
They stated that they would like to see others support them, and even join with them, in the stand for life — including on January 4th.
“Just like the Christians and conservatives came out in droves around the United States [for Chick-fil-A], why can’t we have the same response from the Body of Christ [for pro-life causes]?” Sneddon asked.
“People will say, ‘Yeah, I believe in the sanctity of life,’ but then why wouldn’t you go out and [stand for life]?” Hebert said.
“A pastor could come out on a Friday and spend an hour with us,” she added, hoping that clergy will bring their congregations out on the streets with them. “If the pastors aren’t involved, the people won’t get involved.”
“If you come to the abortion clinic, if you just take the step of going there, God has got a plan for you. Just be obedient to Him and show up,” Sneddon added. “It might be standing on the side of the road with a sign. It might be singing with Grammie.”
“We’re praying that God will send more laborers into the field.”