Practicing social distancing guidelines, Pastor Anthony Mathenia of Christ Church in Radford, Virginia is continuing to lead sidewalk counseling groups during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Reaching out to women and girls entering the abortion clinic, the group’s ministry recently led to the rescue of a teen girl carrying twins.
The girl had been brought to the clinic by her mother, and though at first she slammed her car door in the counselor’s faces, the teen eventually stopped and prayed with a counselor. She and her mother drove away from the abortion facility after being encouraged to pursue other options, returning only to ask for the group’s help. The pair was given information about a local pregnancy center, and the teen expressed gratitude to the counselors for their kindness. She then revealed that she had been planning to abort twins, but because of them, she had decided to keep the two babies.
Recently, pro-life sidewalk counselors have been facing legal consequences for ministering outside abortion clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite following social distancing requirements, counselors have been arrested or fined for witnessing in public. In the meantime, abortion clinics continue to operate uninterrupted during the crisis. The facilities are using personal protective equipment that is in scarce supply, placing further strain on overburdened medical centers when abortion patients suffer complications and require emergency care.
Mathenia was careful to seek legal advice from Liberty Counsel prior to continuing his group’s sidewalk advocacy. This was done to ensure no arrests could be made, and all guidelines were properly followed to avoid any penalties.
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman said of the right to preach outside of clinics, “Despite government restrictions, the church must continue to exercise religious freedom and minister to people.”