By NANCY CZABALA
“Clearly, as God’s possessions, children have a right to be born — a birthright. We should keep in mind that God has a great destiny in store for every child he creates.”
— Louise Summerhill, founder of Birthright and author of The Story of Birthright: The Alternative to Abortion.
CHARLESTON — Birthright of Charleston is stepping up efforts in the coastal area. A recent workshop, held at the Charleston County Library last Saturday, served to inform and attract new volunteers to the worthy cause. Lucy Norton, director of Birthright of Charleston, welcomed the small, but enthusiastic crowd, and introduced Terry Weaver, USA director of Birthright International.
Weaver, who resides in Atlanta and is a mother of seven, made the trip to explain the importance of Birthright. She began, “Anyone with any background in science knows when life begins.” Through- out her presentation she stressed that it is the decision of the mother whether or not to keep her child.
Birthright counselors provide facts and friendship. “We try to be the arms of Christ,” said Weaver.
“We don’t show abortion videos, because we don’t want to scare the girls,” she said. “We’re also not specific to right to life, natural family planning or chastity issues, and we don’t offer post-abortion counseling, which takes a different type of training than Birthright volunteers have.”
Women who seek the help of Birthright will gain knowledge to help them make a decision.
Michael P. O’Connell, family law attorney, spoke to the group about legal issues surrounding adoption in South Carolina. He touched on some of the major issues surrounding adoption, the rights of the mother and what adopted parents can do to protect themselves.
Dr. Ralph F. Principe, OB-GYN, discussed fetal development. After declaring, “Life begins at conception,” he went on to explain, “how we as individuals become human beings.” Principe discussed problems that may arise during development, and how, if desired and possible, they may be detected.
The state director of Bethany Christian Services, Joanne E. King, spoke on adoption and counseling from her work with the licensed adoption agency. She said, “A reputable agency will not pressure into adoption, but rather present a parenting or adoption plan.” Bethany Christian Services tries to dispel myths about adoption that may be seen on television, such as it is actually rare for birth mothers to come back looking for the child.
“We work with a woman to help her find what she’s comfortable with,” said King.
The final speaker, Brother Tony Quinn, summed up a day of discussing a serious issue with some humor and some excellent tips on counseling. The Christian brother is pastoral associate at St. John’s Church in North Charleston.
Brother Quinn said to avoid “should”, don’t preach, be genuine and don’t dwell on the negative. He told attendees that as a counselor, “You are the gift of hope.”
There are several areas in which volunteers can lend their services, including counseling, fund raising, getting information to community and schools, collecting maternity clothing/baby supplies, praying, professional service, housing and transportation.