Stephen Kokx

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70-year-old sidewalk counselor asks ‘baby waste’ truck driver to pray with her

Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
Emily Rabbit
Protesters from a 40 Days for Life event at the clinic in 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, July 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — There’s a scene in the movie Unplanned where a group of pro-life advocates ask the drivers of a “medical waste” truck if they would allow them to pray over the aborted babies they were taking from the abortion clinic.

It’s a powerful part of the film that reminds viewers that abortion is an ugly business that involves not just the mother, but others as well.

Emily Rabbitt is a 70-year-old a sidewalk counselor living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the second largest city in the state. She has been doing sidewalk counseling since moving there in 1995. She typically prays outside the Heritage Clinic For Women every Friday and every third Wednesday of the month in the mornings, when "Dr." Tom Gordon performs abortions inside.

On July 17, Rabbitt experienced almost word for word the scene depicted in Unplanned.

Around 11:30 a.m. a truck with the words “Bio-MED” on its side pulled into the parking lot behind the abortion center. Bio-Med is a “medical waste” transporter based in Detroit, which is about 2 1/2 hours away. Stericycle, Rabbitt told LifeSite in a phone interview, used to be the company that serviced this particular abortuary.

Rabbitt and a friend were standing outside the abortion center when the van pulled up. She asked the men who emerged from the vehicle if they were aware they were picking up aborted babies. One of them, perhaps having had his conscience pricked by the question, responded, “I have no choice. I have to. I have a son in private school. I have to do this.”

Moments later, the men went inside with a trolley cart. One of them came out to smoke a cigarette while the other was still inside, presumably to wrap up paperwork. He emerged moments later with what Rabbitt called five “very large containers” 2 1/2 feet wide stacked on top of each other. 

While the other sidewalk counselor wept, Rabbitt, who told LifeSite she was “in pain” over what she was witnessing, asked the men, “Sir, can we pray with you before you go?” The men shook their heads no. Undeterred, Rabbitt asked, “Do you know you’re driving a hearse? Can you make sure they get a good funeral?” The men simply drove off.

Rabbit, a grandmother who used to live in North Dakota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is part of a dedicated group of sidewalker counselors at the abortion center. She informed LifeSite that she also prays regularly outside the local Planned Parenthood clinic, where the abortion pill RU-486 is handed out “like candy.” 

Laura Alexandria is the head of Grand Rapids Right to Life. She spoke with LifeSite about the incident and the need to stop viewing aborted babies as garbage.

“One of our concerns is that aborted baby bodies are considered ‘medical waste.’ And that’s very unfortunate and that’s heartbreaking,” Alexandria said. “We really need to understand that what is being carried away and incinerated are tiny little unique humans.”

Rabbitt said pro-lifers in Grand Rapids are hopeful someone will offer the driver of the Bio-MED van a job that doesn’t involve hauling away aborted babies. 

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Stephen Kokx

Stephen Kokx is LifeSite's Assistant Director of Digital Marketing. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace and Justice. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and