Farewell to a Pro-Life Hero

Florida’s most notorious abortion clinic is located at 1103 Lucerne Terrace in downtown Orlando. On the sidewalk directly in front of this clinic, the Orlando Women’s Center, there are two prominent marks in the concrete. They are signs of an extraordinary story. 

The concrete was worn away by the feet of John Barros, who for nearly two decades stood outside this clinic as a sidewalk counselor, preaching and calling out to the women going inside. He would offer them help and beg them to change their minds about getting an abortion. He showed up day after day, in all weather, despite his own health struggles. Visiting the clinic one day, I saw small indents next to the worn patches on the sidewalk—I later learned they were from John’s crutches, which he required ever since getting back surgery. On February 15, John died after a struggle with cancer. His earthly labors have ended; others will pick up the torch, but Barros was a once-in-a-generation giant.

Many have walked past him into the clinic as he called to them; thousands have aborted their babies while hearing his voice. But year after year, about thirty women a month changed their minds. It is impossible to know precisely how many babies were saved, but a safe estimate is well over 3,000. When I attended his church one Sunday while on a pro-life tour of Florida campuses, I spotted him sitting near the front in a pew filled with young women, many of them cradling babies and lugging car seats. He had met them at the abortion clinic and invited them to St. Andrew’s Chapel. His church authorized him to offer the women whatever they needed, from rent money to diapers.

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