Bill Draghi is one of the unsung heroes of the pro-life movement. He is a retired math teacher/computer programmer, married with five children and grandchildren. Six years after his retirement, Bill was inspired to do sidewalk counseling at the American Women’s Services abortion clinic located at 228 Main St. in Woodbridge, NJ.
He was so taken by his experience during a “40 Days For Life” commitment that he decided to continue to do sidewalk counseling all year round. Bill is at this clinic virtually every day despite any and all weather conditions. He is present there in the bitterest cold winter days and during the hottest humid sultry days of summer. His schedule coincides with all the hours that this clinic is opened.
When the forces of evil are there doing their work of killing the unborn, Bill is there with his three sandwich-sized pro-life signs, praying. Two of them are on each of his left and right flanks fastened with cords around his neck and a third at his back. One says, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” another “Choose Life – Let Your Baby Live” and the third reads, “Adoption Not Abortion.” Bill holds a fourth larger sign about 36” by 54” with his extended left hand. This larger one is framed with PVC piping and rests on the sidewalk. One side shows a photo of a three month old baby, and faces the heavy traveled Main St. road in Woodbridge, while the other side faces the abortion clinic and shows a picture of an 8 week old unborn child and has the words inscribed on it, “Heartbeat at 22 Days”. Bill also holds a rather large crucifix in his right hand which is about 14 inches high and gets heavier to hold with time so he rests it on the top of the PVC frame.
This clinic is not really conducive for close contact with the women and men entering the building. When facing this abortion mill there is a driveway entrance on the left. Virtually all must enter the driveway and park in the rear parking lot. There is a side entrance to the building which is used for entry. The only legal access for sidewalk counselors at this location to interface with those seeking an abortion is to shout out to those going into the abortion mill. Bill usually cries out, “Please save your baby. No one has to kill their baby. There is help for you and your baby ma’am.”
Bill has been present there for the past six years as a witness that it is wrong to kill the unborn. I try to be with Bill for an hour or so each week, usually on a Friday or Saturday. He is a remarkable man. I sense in Bill a saintly and humble soul. We pray together and talk about various topics dealing mostly with pro-life issues. Bill actually keeps a record of how many women enter this abortion clinic and how many changed their minds about having an abortion.
He indicated to me that about 70 to 80 go in there for an abortion each week. He estimates that about half going in for an abortion are Black, one third are Caucasian and the remainder are Hispanics and Indians who are about evenly divided. When I asked him about the number of babies saved through his counseling he humbly answers, “I can only count as saves those women who come up to tell me they have changed their minds about having an abortion and they usually say it is because of me being there and seeing my signs or they and/or their escorts give me a thumbs up.” So in the six years of prayer and sacrifice that Bill has made being at that abortion mill day after day, year after year enduring brutal winters and hot humid summers, he can claim that 150 babies were saved.
About three months ago Bill told me this inspiring story. Earlier that very day a car parked in front of the clinic, a woman came out and opened the door on the rear passenger side to take a little boy out of the car. This mother told Bill that, “I was going in there to abort my child a little over four years ago. You were there like you are now telling me to save my baby. I was so moved that I changed my mind and left. Here is my four year old son. I wanted you to know this and thank you.” I asked Bill what was the boy’s name, Bill responded with a beaming smile. “Manuel, and he is a good looking kid.”
I have been blessed to meet this saintly pro-life hero and have a deep and abiding respect for him and have asked Bill to pray for me. “For the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)