As an ordained preacher, Walter Hoye felt compelled to minister to women who were considering abortion following the premature birth of his son.
“He was about 1.9 and as I was literally holding him, I could literally hear God speak to me,” Hoye said in an interview with CBN News. “And that has motivated me to go deeper and further and further into the pro-life movement.”
Hoye decided to become a sidewalk counselor in Oakland, California, to talk women out of ending their pregnancies.
He often held a sign that said “God loves you and your baby. Let us help you.”
He said the response to the message was overwhelming.
“So, I would say, ‘Yes God loves you.’ I’d say ‘Yes God loves you, and your baby.’ And then she would say, ‘Well if it’s true that God loves me and my baby, will you help me?’ And I said ‘yes,’ ” he recalled.
Hoye continued, “And that’s exactly what we did. It didn’t matter whether she needed groceries. It didn’t really matter what she needed, we were going to help her. And we did.”
But in 2009, Hoye, of Issues4Life, was arrested while standing outside the Family Planning Specialist Medical Group. He was accused of harassment and charged with breaking a city ordinance that created an 8-foot buffer zone around people entering abortion clinics.
Abortion advocates said the buffer zones were needed to prevent harassment at abortion clinics.
“They stole a page from the book of Daniel,” said Hoye. “Daniel was guilty of nothing but praying three times a day. I was just simply standing on the sidewalk holding a sign, passing out literature like to a pregnancy care center and having a conversation and consequently they put me in jail over that.”
The new book, Black and Pro-Life in America by journalist Robert W. Artigo, details Hoye’s dramatic days in jail and how he used his time behind bars to lead inmates to Christ.
“We had prayer at midnight like Paul and Silas,” said Hoye.
The book also highlights the disconnect between the African-American community and how the abortion industry specifically targets blacks.
“The abortion issue, the abortion debate is the most controversial subject in the black church today,” said Hoye. “We’ll talk about almost anything but that.”
Meanwhile, Hoye’s conviction was eventually overturned.
He hopes his story serves as a lesson to the abortion industry, to the pro-life movement and to African-Americans.
“We want to make sure that there are pro-lifers out there that realize that they do have the freedom of speech and they can literally stand on the sidewalk and help women going into an abortion clinic and free speech applies to everybody,” he explained.
“It also is a message sent to the black church,” he said. “There are many of us that are pro-life that really understand it’s absolutely wrong and we’re going to be speaking up more and more as time goes by.”