Pro-life Awareness Campaign in Jacksonville, Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (www.forerunner.com) – An awareness campaign is an effective strategy that pro-lifers in central Florida and other parts of the country have used for many years. In its most basic form, an awareness campaign is a residential picket letting an abortionist’s neighbors and friends know what he or she does for a living. Beyond picketing, there are literally hundreds of other ways to create awareness. Mailing letters, appearing at the abortionist’s “legitimate” places of business, posting videos and writing internet articles are just some of the legal, peaceful methods of exposure.
FSU Noles For Life leader Matt Ferro confronts Jacksonville abortionist Todd Joseph Rasner.
The Ephesians 5:11 mandate states: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Our goal is to let everyone around an abortionist’s daily life know that he kills babies for a living. We also call Christians to lovingly yet firmly confront this sin of child murder and to pray for the abortionists’ conversion as well as those in the pro-abortion community who support them.
In the 1990s, I lived across the street from a notorious abortion clinic in Melbourne, Florida. Some of the local pro-life group used to participate in these awareness campaigns. At first, I thought these were a bit too much – going to the vicinity of abortionists’ and clinic workers’ homes and sometimes upsetting neighbors with large posters of aborted babies.
Shouldn’t we concentrate on the abortion mill itself, which is where the shedding of innocent blood actually occurs?
Then I read from the horse’s mouth that this was one of the most effective “tactics” that the pro-lifers used. Abortion clinic owner Patricia Baird-Windle claimed in her memoir that 24 abortionists quit in as many years that she was in business because they could not bear the exposure by local pro-life activists.
I am not one who places a lot of importance on pro-life “strategies” or “tactics.” What we ought to be concerned about is whether our actions are scripturally based and done out of love. The Bible commands us to love our neighbor as our self. To answer the question of whether exposing an abortionist is a “loving” act of ministry, a few pertinent questions can be asked.
If you had the opportunity to sit down and talk to an abortionist for almost an hour and share the Gospel with him, would you do it?
If your gynecologist was doing abortions in a city three hours away twice a month and I knew about it, would you want me to tell you?
If you are a Bible-believing Christian and you were unknowingly renting a house from an OB-GYN who also kills children for money, would you want to know who you are writing a rent check to each month?
If you are a Christian who donates money to Baptist charities, would you want to know that the Florida Baptist Hospital has an abortionist on staff?
All this and more was accomplished at this week’s awareness campaign in Jacksonville, Florida.
We went to Jacksonville on Monday, December 23, 2013, with a small cadre of Christians to gently and lovingly make this known to Todd Joseph Rasner’s patients, a tenant at a home he owns and to patients at the Florida Baptist Medical Center where he has staff privileges.
According to Florida State University student and Noles For Life president, Matt Ferro, Todd Rasner has been driving three hours from Jacksonville to Tallahassee every other Sunday to do abortions at the city’s only surgical abortion center, North Florida Women’s Health. (“Noles” is the abbreviated form of FSU’s mascot, the Seminoles.)
We will continue the awareness campaign until Todd Rasner quits doing abortions. Beyond the impact that is seen in the video, I enjoy doing these campaigns because I am always amazed and surprised by God’s presence. It is easy as a Christian to become “functionally agnostic.” This can occur as we know the Word of God, but do not often do the will of God, which is the work of spreading the Gospel’s Truth to every area of human life.
Every campaign is different and never repetitious or boring. This one was significant in that we each had to travel several hours. We began with just four people. We had tried to get some of the Jacksonville pro-life ministries involved, but had no immediate success. On the day of the campaign, however, one of the pro-life activists in the city drove by and spent about 30 minutes with us on the sidewalk.
Since the local pro-life group did not know about Todd Rasner, we are assuming that he does not want to be known to his Jacksonville patients as an abortionist at any of the four local abortion centers. Therefore, he drives three hours to another city. when he performs abortions. He has been, in effect, hiding in plain sight for many years. Our contention is that many abortionists who also maintain “legitimate” OB-GYN practices fear the exposure that such awareness campaigns bring them.
This was the first campaign in which the abortionist himself responded by spending almost an hour with Noles For Life leader Matt Ferro in his office. The highlights of this conversation consisted of Rasner explaining that what we are doing will not affect his OB-GYN business and that each of the doctors on staff with him have also performed abortions. Earlier, one of his patients had said that if what we were saying was true, she would quit coming to Rasner’s practice.
The abortionist Todd Rasner himself responded by spending almost an hour with Noles For Life leader Matt Ferro in his office.
Rasner also tried to rationalize that he would never perform second term or late term abortions. He claimed that the only reason he was helping North Florida Women’s Health is that he is afraid that a less scrupulous abortionist might take over if he decided to leave.
According to Matt Ferro, Rasner mentioned Orlando abortionist James Pendergraft by name as one of the “sicker ones” he fears might take over in his absence. Nevertheless, he claimed that this arrangement is probably short term. He might soon stop traveling to Tallahassee. Ferro made it clear that he wanted to help him make that decision sooner than later.
From there we traveled about ten minutes to a home owned by Todd Rasner. Within a few minutes of arriving, the tenant who was renting his house pulled into the gated community. The look of shock on her face was apparent. She told us that she has always opposed abortion and is an outspoken Christian witness.
The look of shock on her face was apparent.
Our job being done, we left her with information and moved on to the Florida Baptist Medical Center where Rasner has staff privileges. There two hospital security guards told us that they personally agreed with what we were doing, but we needed to stay on public property, which then oddly shrunk after a visit from a second security guard.
At the end of the day, we realized that our little Gideon band of just five people had accomplished more than what we’ve done with larger groups at other campaigns. This is due to the grace of God, who alone deserves all the praise, honor and glory!