In this #asiaforlife podcast, Joe shares more about personal experiences in the Bronx. The discussion includes:
—Pro-life ministry in the Bronx
—40 Days for Life and how it’s strengthened the global pro-life movement, as well as our public image
—The need for churches to respond to the culture of death in their communities
Today I’m going to talk about the Bronx, which has a reputation for being the poorest and most dangerous place in New York City. The Bronx has 1.5 million people, and according to researchers, Bronx county has the worst quality of life anywhere in the entire state of New York.
Obviously, it’s a very difficult place to live. And that means it’s a crucial area for churches to operate, as well as pro-life ministries.
Pro-life ministry in the Bronx
And the pro-life movement does have a presence there. There are pro-life prayer initiatives, there are sidewalk counseling ministries outside abortion clinics, and there are pregnancy resource centers. There’s even a Sisters of Life convent in the Bronx, where young Catholic nuns commit their lives to ending abortion.
There are good people in the Bronx. But, in all of New York, it’s still the roughest place to live and raise a family. So when a woman gets pregnant—when a couple is unexpectedly expecting—they’re probably going to turn to abortion, unless they’ve received love and affirmation and a pro-life message, either from their family or their church.
One reason that the abortion rate is so extremely high in the Bronx is Planned Parenthood. They do a lot of advertising, and as far as I know, Planned Parenthood has a good reputation there. They actually started in New York City, and that’s where their national and international headquarters are located.
Women’s March NYC, 2018
When I arrived to New York, I visited a pregnancy resource center right across from the Planned Parenthood in the Bronx. A guy from Spain met me. He’s one of many interns learning to do pro-life ministry in one of the roughest places in America.
That center in the Bronx is just one of the 3,000 pro-life pregnancy resource centers in America. But it’s definitely unique.
The director wanted office space as close as possible to the Bronx Planned Parenthood, and so they found a location just across the street. But their pro-life office is connected to a giant tattoo shop. When you’re standing outside the building, or walking upstairs to the office, it’s a very stark contrast, between the dark tattoo art, and the much gentler pro-life advertising.
It’s not easy for them, and there is no convenient or comfortable way to do pro-life ministry in the Bronx. But they’re doing it anyway, and they’ve helped tens of thousands of women to choose life in New York City.
There’s a lot more I could say about that, but I’ll just encourage you to look up your local pro-life pregnancy resource center. And support them! They’re literally standing in the gap between life and death in your city.
40 Days for Life and abortion in the Bronx
I also want to talk about my last day in New York City. I just happened to be there during the first morning of the international 40 Days for Life campaign. I’m a big fan of 40 Days for Life, because they have helped to revitalize the reputation of the pro-life movement. They are absolutely dedicated to using only peaceful and legal methods. During their campaigns, they have drawn over 1,000,000 people from 19,000 churches around the world to pray on the sidewalks outside abortion centers. This has made the entire movement stronger and more self-confident, just knowing that we are in fact a peaceful and love-filled movement–regardless of how the media generally characterises pro-life people.
I actually led the 40 Days for Life campaign in Hong Kong for 2 years, and even though I can’t lead it anymore–mainly for health reasons–I am hoping it will continue in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.
Anyway, I signed up on the 40 Days for Life website to pray at the Bronx at 10am. I was the only one praying there during that hour, but I’m really glad I went. Standing in that place reminded me how much hopelessness there is for so many women, if their most attractive choice is abortion.
That clinic is not run by Planned Parenthood, and there’s not much information online. There’s no sign in front, except for the street number. There’s a lot of rust outside the entrance. And outside the side exit door, the sign is completely weather-worn. It’s in awful condition.
If the building in this photo were not an abortion business, it would certainly get fined, and probably get shut down by the health department. (Ironically, right before I went to pray here, I saw a ticket on the front door of the house where I was staying. My host got a $100 fine, because some passersby had dropped trash on the sidewalk in front of his house.)
It looked like a dirty clinic in a third-world country–except that there are other medical clinics on the same block, and they all look clean and professional. So, this is just another example of a dirty American abortion clinic, which the local health department will quietly ignore, because the government of New York claims to “support women’s health”.
I took this photo while praying in front of an abortion clinic in the Bronx, during my last morning in New York City. And yes, that bus ad says “EVIL”.
I was praying there for an hour, and nothing really happened. I’m not even sure if anyone went inside for an abortion. At one point, a nurse stepped outside and video recorded me on her phone for a minute. (This was only a scare tactic. I’m certain I wasn’t breaking any law.)
I prayed for the churches in the Bronx, that they would make a stand for life, and help end their community’s epidemic of abortion.
And later, I emailed the director of the 40 Days for Life campaign in the Bronx, and she told me that she actually used to live in Hong Kong! She had worked for many years with disabled orphans in China. Now she’s in the Bronx, and she’s continuing to save lives there! That reminds me, I really want to invite her to talk on the podcast.
That’s all for this episode. Thanks for listening. And just in closing, I’ll let you know that the Bronx Planned Parenthood is planning to expand. So pray for the Bronx, and maybe even consider going to the Bronx, to volunteer with one of the pro-life ministries there.