Portland, Maine — Through the efforts of a local restaurant owner, dozens of abortion advocates in Maine flocked to Planned Parenthood of Portland this morning to stand against a group of pro-life women and their families, which seek to minister to abortion-minded mothers outside of the facility each week.
As previously reported, Mike Fink of Mike’s Restaurant staged the protest 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.”
He then offered free breakfast to anyone that would protest the Christians.
“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,” Fink’s ad stated, with the offer in all caps.
Donna Hebert and Leslie Sneddon, both homeschooling mothers who had abortions themselves before coming to Christ years ago, have been ministering outside of the Planned Parenthood in Portland since June of last year. As the weeks and months have passed, an increasing number of Christians have been joining them — some to hold signs, some to preach, and others like to sing hymns on the sidewalk and pray.
Today, however, the women had extra support as a number of families came to be with them in light of the scheduled protest. Hebert estimates that there were approximately 45 people standing for life outside of Planned Parenthood this morning, with an estimated 80 individuals expressing their support for abortion. Pro-life Christians came from as far away as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York to be counted among those that believe that every life is precious, no matter how small.
“Most of the people that came for the [pro-abortion] side were college-aged kids,” Hebert told Christian News Network. “They did a lot of chanting.”
Hebert and some of the youth that were present explained that the Planned Parenthood advocates repeated mantras such as “Support Planned Parenthood; healthcare is a right,” and “Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.”
“There were very obscene signs and gestures,” she said. “A lot of four-letter word signs, which we will not repeat.”
According to photographs of the protest, some of the milder signs contained sayings such as “I love Planned Parenthood and my God is okay with that,” “Planned Parenthood saves lives” and “Pro-child, pro-family, pro-choice.”
Fink, who also owns Guitar Grave next door to Planned Parenthood, uploaded a video of the protest following the event that provided a sample of the pro-abortion signs and chants.
On the pro-life side, some of the signs read, “Whatever you need to choose life, we are here for you. Please let us help!” and “We are here to help your son or daughter.” Others held signs pertaining to adoption, and a few displayed pictures depicting a baby in utero or the reality of abortion.
John Speed, pastor of Christ is King Baptist Church in Syracuse, New York, drove to Maine with his wife and four children to join the Christians in standing for life. He and another pastor, Jeremy Hiltz of Windsor Memorial Baptist Church, located approximately an hour outside of Portland, took turns open air preaching on the sidewalk.
“The first sermon I did was from Deuteronomy 27:24-25,” Speed explained, which prohibits mankind from taking a reward to slay an innocent person. “I tried to tie that in with what the abortionists are doing. They’re taking money to slay innocent people.”
He said that he also pleaded with those that came to support abortion.
“I was like, ‘Look, you’re here supporting this,” Speed outlined. “Turn to Christ and live.”
He stated that many of the abortion advocates did not want to hear the message.
“When we started preaching, that’s when they started chanting to drown out the preaching,” Speed explained, who has been ministering outside of his local Planned Parenthood for over a year. “They just want to be God. They want to make life decisions based on what’s convenient for them.”
He shared a story of one man that he spoke with on the sidewalk.
“The first guy that I talked to was a Jewish man. He was making the case that abortion is a constitutional right, and therefore, what we were doing was illegal,” Speed told Christian News Network. “I asked him if he lived in Nazi, Germany if he would turn himself in. I tried to point out that a state law does not make it right. … If God and the state disagree, we have to go with God and what He says.”
When asked how Hebert will proceed in light of today’s protest, she stated that it does not detour her from continuing to reach out to abortion-minded mothers that visit the facility.
“None of this has changed our mind or our vision,” she stated. “We’re going to be there to offer help to these women and to help them choose life.”
Hebert said that she wished that someone had been there for her when she obtained her first abortion at fifteen.
“My testimony is that I was a young girl that would have been informed [if someone had been there],” she conveyed. “If someone had been standing there, my child would be alive today.”
Hebert stated that she has no animosity toward those that came out to protest her today, including the event organizer who offered free breakfast to those that opposed her and the other Christians.
“I pray for them,” she said. “I pray for Mike.”