Jessica Hughes, 30, is a paralegal student living outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. She’s the Communications Coordinator for Concerned Women of America, a social media director for her church, and a sidewalk counselor through Cities4Life-Charlotte. She was raised in a Christian family and was taught that all life is valuable. After her 25th birthday, her mother shocked her by confessing an abortion she had in her teen years. Jessica listened as her mom shared her shame and regret from that decision. A few months after opening up about her abortion, Jessica’s mother passed away. Jessica was then moved to action. Her mother’s story has compelled her to reach out to women at the busiest abortion facility in the Southeast since 2012, because when she sees a woman walk towards an abortion facility, she sees her own mother. She told Live Action News:
That’s why I go to the sidewalks. For my sibling. For my mother. For my grandmother who drove her to the clinic. To be a voice for siblings that mourn, and all those affected by abortion that is often the forgotten victim. There was no one there to tell my mom and grandmother about fetal development. There was no one there to tell them about post-abortion regret. No one was there. I see a piece of my mom in every woman that enters the doors of an abortion clinic….
The organization Jessica volunteers with, Cities4Life, works to “transform the culture of death brought about by abortion to a culture of LIFE in our cities as we work to mobilize the Body of Christ to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” They do this by ministering on the sidewalks of abortion facilities, sharing the Gospel, providing free ultrasounds, and offering tangible resources to abortion-minded women and their families.
Jessica shared some of her experiences on the sidewalk with Live Action News:
While ministering at the abortion clinic, a car pulled in, but didn’t stop to talk to me. After about one or two hours later, she stopped when she was leaving. She told me she couldn’t have an abortion. I asked her if she would park across the street so we could talk more. She got out of her car holding her 3-month-old baby. I talked to Linda* about the resources we have and offered a baby shower. She declined all the resources. She said she was there because she had a baby three months ago and was now pregnant again. I prayed with her and she started to cry happy tears. All Linda needed was encouragement and reassurance. We exchanged phone numbers and still keep in touch. Her baby girl is due this March and we have plans to meet up for lunch after things settle down for her.
Tasha* was another pregnant woman Jessica was able to help. Jessica said:
Tasha and her mom arrived at the abortion clinic while Donna was on the mic speaking the truth about abortion. Tasha went in the clinic and went straight to the bathroom, crying hysterically. She couldn’t bring herself to check-in. She called her mom who was waiting for her in the parking lot. Her mom went to the clinic bathroom and told Tasha, “Let’s get out of here!” Tasha, still crying, and her mom, left the clinic immediately, but stopped to tell us she didn’t have an abortion! Tasha and her mom were praising Jesus! We gave Tasha a baby shower and treated her to lunch. She had a baby girl at the end of February!
Jessica’s aid to mothers doesn’t stop at the sidewalk. Her friend Sheryl has a ministry called Truth & Mercy Pro-life Ministries that gives baby showers to moms in need. Jessica was able to assist her with a baby shower for a mom that chose life at the facility where she ministers.
Jessica is also the co-founder of Baskets & Blankets, a ministry that gives gift baskets out to women who choose life. In addition, Cities4Life helps mothers with job placement, housing, furniture for their homes, mentors and more.
Jessica admits to still getting nervous while out on the sidewalk but she says she knows God is with her. Her advice to those considering sidewalk counseling is, “Step out in faith. Connect with someone that has been going to the sidewalks for a while and maybe just observe them at first. If God can use my introverted, socially awkward self, He can use you, too! All you have to do is be available. As it says in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
*names changed for privacy