CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Heading to an Illinois abortion mill last Saturday, Ariane Fisher did not know she would be confronted by Chicago's mayor.
Fisher joined Warren Dorman, Veronica Price and two other pro-life advocates outside the Chicago abortion facility Family Planning Associates to pray and counsel abortion-minded mothers.
Mindful of current social distancing requirements, the crew made sure they were at least six feet away from each other at all times, and were observing the "bubble zone" ordinance. This rule seeks to prevent anyone from coming within eight feet of other individuals, without their consent, to hand them leaflets or engage in counseling.
Suddenly, a black SUV drove up and stopped near Fisher. The people within the car were not there for an abortion, Fisher recounts:
We were at the clinic for about two hours, observing the social distancing laws. At some point, a big black Cadillac SUV drove up. The window went down and Lori Lightfoot started yelling at Veronica and me, that we were not allowed to be there in front of the clinic. We were more than eight feet from the door, as well as more than 6 feet from each other. The funny part is that she was not wearing a mask, nor was she personally social distancing. She was sitting directly next to several security guards.
Fisher, who wore a face mask and carefully observed virus protocol, added: "It was a little ironic she wasn't wearing a mask at the time. She came to us personally and started very loudly directing us that we weren't allowed to be socially distancing and praying outside of the abortion facility."
The group of pro-lifers, however, came prepared. "I have the ordinance printed out here with me so I offered it to her, and then she drove away," she said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a self-proclaimed lesbian, has been in the spotlight lately for venturing outside for a haircut amid Illinois' stay-at-home order. "I'm the public face of this city," she said later, attempting to justify her excursion.
Price told Church Militant that after Lightfoot left, she and Fisher prayed for the mayor. "I gave her a warm smile as I wanted her to feel Jesus' love," she said, "for He tells us to 'love our enemies.'"
"It's wrong that mayor Lightfoot has a pro-abortion stance," Price continued, "but I pray her encounter with us showed pro-lifers seeking to end abortion are also offering hope and help to all at the clinic, especially the babies."
Pro-life witness Dorman told Church Militant, "Our Chicago police, for the most part, have been very nice."
"In fact," he said, "the leader of the 'escorts' is quoted as saying she has stopped calling the cops because they never do anything to us."
Dorman has been praying in front of abortion mills for decades.
"All of us who come [to the abortion mill] are grassroots Christians ... Most who come, I would say, are Catholic but Protestants come too," he told Church Militant.
As far as Lightfoot's quick stop-and-go appearance, he indicated he was a little too far away to hear the altercation. "All present were practicing social distancing and I was about 60 feet or more away from the mill entrance," he said.
Reflecting on the encounter, Fisher told Church Militant that "Mayor Lori Lightfoot ... raised her voice and yelled, although that could have been due to the noise of the adjacent highway." The mayor told them they had to be across the street, but when Fisher offered to show her the ordinance, Lightfoot's car took off.
"When she left, I just couldn't stop laughing," Fisher recalled. "While it's good that she's trying to keep the city safe, she was driving around in a $50 thousand-dollar truck while so many are out of work, not socially distancing, not wearing a mask and totally misquoting the law."
Fisher added a final detail about Family Planning Associates that sticks in her mind:
A few weeks ago I was [there] when there were no escorts present. There was a car parked in front with a couple who were arguing. I was able to speak with both of them. At one point, the woman started beating her boyfriend. He didn't hit her back, but I stayed nearby to make sure ... The clinic director came out, stared out at them, saw me within a few feet of the car, shrugged and went back into the building. ... It was the patient [of the abortion mill] ... who was abusing her boyfriend [but] the director saw this, went back into the building and called the police on me! She mentioned nothing of the domestic abuse. … The woman who had been abusing her boyfriend got out of the car before the police came and walked into the clinic to abort their child.
Illinois is not the only state that deems abortion "necessary" in the midst of the pandemic. Across the nation, pro-lifers praying outside abortion mills have met with police harassment and other challenges.
For Divine Mercy Sunday, Church Militant's Susan Vance and Joe Gallagher spearheaded an effort for Resistance groups to assemble in prayer near local abortion facilities. Resistance members from more than 60 chapters around the country gathered outside the mills at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.) to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet because, Vance later explained, "The abortion mills aren't taking a break."