They are not sidewalk counselors but their vigil does have some very concrete results. Just being there makes women more likely to keep their babies. Turn-arounds are not uncommon. I encourage anyone who is thinking of sidewalk counseling to stand vigil* with more experienced members first. Joining 40 Days is an easy way to get connected with other sidewalk counselors. (They can point you in the right direction.)
*Standing vigil doesn't have to involve prayer. To me, it's standing witness to the lives that are lost. Someone should be able to mourn and remember them.
That said, you should always be careful. I have lost count of how many drivers slow down so that they can curse at us more audibly. You get used to it. It was a game for a while, count how many positive comments we got versus the negative ones. It’s an informal poll of your community’s views. However, attacks on pro-lifers are not terribly uncommon. You may have read on Jill Stanek or LifeNews that a bomb fashioned out of a water bottle was thrown at a 40 Days participant in Montana.
In my hometown down in sunny Florida, there were complaints made to the local TV station from a woman who felt intimidated by the prayer vigil. However, when you listen to the interview with her, she also mentions the armed security guard. I agree with her, he’s terrifying (and unnecessary). The 40 Days coordinator they interview is a very sweet woman. What’s interesting to me is that the Planned Parenthood down there normally has blackout sheets around the entrance to the clinic and I don’t see them anywhere in the video.