Society October 23, 2013

In the Trenches Against the Culture of Death: An Interview with Pro-Life Leader Brian Gibson

Brian Gibson trains and organizes the people on the frontlines in the fight to save the unborn: sidewalk counselors. These heroes save thousands of lives every year.

Brantly Millegan
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Brantly Millegan
October 23, 2013
Brian Gibson
Brian Gibson is the Executive Director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, “an interdenominational, Christian organization dedicated to publicly defending the sanctity of human life, and saving lives from abortion, infanticide and euthanasia now through peaceful direct-action and educational projects.” They accomplish this work with “sidewalk counseling”, “prayer vigils and services”, pro-life “publications”, “public witness”, and the maintenance of a “chapel of the innocents.” Gibson, who was physically assaulted last week outside of a Planned Parenthood, spoke to Aleteia about his important work.


Why are you pro-life? Did you have a “conversion” at some point?

I grew up in a large family with a strong pro-life witness from my parents. I have a younger brother who is mentally handicapped. My first memory of being against abortion was when I was in high school and hearing that abortion would eliminate the "problem" of mental retardation. I equated that directly to a desire to kill my brother.


How did Pro-Life Action Ministries get started?

Brs. Michael Gaworski and Paul O'Donnell founded the ministry as a Christian effort to directly intervene to save babies from being killed at the abortion facilities. That was March 1981. I became a volunteer in the summer of 1981 and full-time March 1986.


Why do you do sidewalk counseling? Why do you think it’s an important part of the pro-life movement?

Sidewalk counseling is the effort to intervene directly to save the life of the unborn child about to be killed by abortion. It also is an effort to aid the mothers and fathers from sinning and find quality help for their lives. Thousands of babies are saved from being killed by abortion each year across the country. Nothing else in the pro-life movement has as tangible results of directly saving lives.


How many children have you saved? How do you know?

I have been a part of saving two children by my sidewalk counseling efforts and one from a speaking engagement that I have been able to confirm in more than 30 years involvement. The ministry has documented 2900 (as of today, October 21, 2013) since the start of our work. The criteria for documenting a baby saved is clear and sure knowledge that the woman was going to have an abortion, the use of our literature, words or signage being acknowledged by the woman as reason for changing her mind and clear indicators that she indeed has changed her mind and left the abortion facility.


What techniques work and don’t work for sidewalk counseling?

We do a two hour training session on this for our sidewalk counselors and a two day conference for sidewalk counseling leaders to cover all this. Far too much to answer here. Having stated that, what works best is being able to enter into a peaceful conversation with the abortion client.


Tell us about a recent success story.

I had a baby saved on my birthday on October 9.


Have you seen spiritual warfare manifested explicitly in your work?

Yes. I was recently assaulted by a boyfriend. I have had abortion supporters blaspheme God and mock Him. And much more.


What advice do you have for young pro-lifers joining the movement?

Go pray at abortion facilities. Go at least once a month, but try to go once a week. Be there when sidewalk counseling is taking place, if at all possible. There is nothing more important for the pro-lifer and nothing more important at the abortion facility. Abortion facilities are closing because pro-life people are praying out there. Babies are being saved. Women and men are receiving the truth and coming to Christ. If we can have that effect, why aren't our churches emptying out to the streets?
Brian Gibson is the Executive Director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, “an interdenominational, Christian organization dedicated to publicly defending the sanctity of human life, and saving lives from abortion, infanticide and euthanasia now through peaceful direct-action and educational projects.” They accomplish this work with “sidewalk counseling”, “prayer vigils and services”, pro-life “publications”, “public witness”, and the maintenance of a “chapel of the innocents.” Gibson, who was physically assaulted last week outside of a Planned Parenthood, spoke to Aleteia about his important work.


Why are you pro-life? Did you have a “conversion” at some point?

I grew up in a large family with a strong pro-life witness from my parents. I have a younger brother who is mentally handicapped. My first memory of being against abortion was when I was in high school and hearing that abortion would eliminate the "problem" of mental retardation. I equated that directly to a desire to kill my brother.


How did Pro-Life Action Ministries get started?

Brs. Michael Gaworski and Paul O'Donnell founded the ministry as a Christian effort to directly intervene to save babies from being killed at the abortion facilities. That was March 1981. I became a volunteer in the summer of 1981 and full-time March 1986.


Why do you do sidewalk counseling? Why do you think it’s an important part of the pro-life movement?

Sidewalk counseling is the effort to intervene directly to save the life of the unborn child about to be killed by abortion. It also is an effort to aid the mothers and fathers from sinning and find quality help for their lives. Thousands of babies are saved from being killed by abortion each year across the country. Nothing else in the pro-life movement has as tangible results of directly saving lives.


How many children have you saved? How do you know?

I have been a part of saving two children by my sidewalk counseling efforts and one from a speaking engagement that I have been able to confirm in more than 30 years involvement. The ministry has documented 2900 (as of today, October 21, 2013) since the start of our work. The criteria for documenting a baby saved is clear and sure knowledge that the woman was going to have an abortion, the use of our literature, words or signage being acknowledged by the woman as reason for changing her mind and clear indicators that she indeed has changed her mind and left the abortion facility.


What techniques work and don’t work for sidewalk counseling?

We do a two hour training session on this for our sidewalk counselors and a two day conference for sidewalk counseling leaders to cover all this. Far too much to answer here. Having stated that, what works best is being able to enter into a peaceful conversation with the abortion client.


Tell us about a recent success story.

I had a baby saved on my birthday on October 9.


Have you seen spiritual warfare manifested explicitly in your work?

Yes. I was recently assaulted by a boyfriend. I have had abortion supporters blaspheme God and mock Him. And much more.


What advice do you have for young pro-lifers joining the movement?

Go pray at abortion facilities. Go at least once a month, but try to go once a week. Be there when sidewalk counseling is taking place, if at all possible. There is nothing more important for the pro-lifer and nothing more important at the abortion facility. Abortion facilities are closing because pro-life people are praying out there. Babies are being saved. Women and men are receiving the truth and coming to Christ. If we can have that effect, why aren't our churches emptying out to the streets?
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