Rosary in hand, Jim Crowley walks the walk in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Walnut Creek.

He sticks to the rules. As a retired San Francisco Police lieutenant, he knows them well.

Crowley, retired after 30 years from the San Francisco force and 10 years in security management, spends Fridays in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic, where surgical abortions are performed on Fridays. He has company from his parish, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Walnut Creek.

Through Nov. 5, he will be among the participants in 40 Days for Life, in which vigil will be kept, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the public right-of-way in front of the Planned Parenthood office.

The retired police lieutenant always calls the Walnut Creek police in advance of the 40 Days events, to let them know the event will be “peaceful and prayerful.”

He said he is heartened to see young people becoming more involved in the prolife movement, and has been supported in the work by his fellow Knights of Columbus.

Standing vigil at Planned Parenthood, Crowley witnesses great sadness.

“It’s very sad to see all these young women,” Crowley said. Sometimes, he sees “a family, which appears to be Mother, Father, two little kids, Mom’s pregnant, they’re going in.”

“It’s sad,” he said. “You hate to see things like that.”

In addition to the power of prayer, Crowley and his companions offer help, in the form of a brochure from Birthright. The brochure directs people to services that they might not otherwise know existed, not far from where they are standing.

His prolife work dates back to the 1980s, when Operation Rescue was active in San Francisco. On his way back to the station after investigating a homicide, he walked by the “cage” where people arrested during a protest were being held.

“Inspector Crowley,” a voice called out.

It belonged to an evangelical pastor he knew. “He introduced me to a Catholic priest,” Crowley said. “I saw nuns in there. I was just stunned. They told me they were part of Operation Rescue.”

Crowley, active in Cops for Christ, “bought every book on Operation Rescue.”

He also had a column in the monthly Police Officers Association newsletter.

“The next month, instead of the normal evangelization article, I started writing about the prolife issue,” Crowley said.

It caused “a commotion,” he said. “I was very naïve at that time.”

Among the complaints: that he was anti-woman.

“At the time, I was 25 years’ married, had three daughters and a granddaughter,” he said. “It’s ironic that a homicide inspector was being attacked for protecting life.”

Full story at Catholic Voice Oakland.