October is Respect Life Month, a time to reflect on the sanctity of life at all stages, to pray and work to end abortion and euthanasia.
Those on the frontlines of the pro-life movement in South Carolina say no effort to preserve life, no matter how big or small, is wasted.
“One goal of having a Respect Life Month is to provide time for each of us to reflect and discover new ways to lovingly spread the Gospel of Life with clarity and credibility,” said Kathy Schmugge, assistant director of the diocesan Office of Family Life.
“Resist becoming distracted or complacent when human life is threatened and ask God what He is calling you to do,” she added.
People can do their part to support the pro-life effort in many ways, Schmugge said. The simple act of prayer has great power.
“People can participate in Rosaries for Life, pray the rosary as a family,” she said. “Dedicate each decade for a group of people such as the unborn, elderly, disabled, mentally challenged and imprisoned.”
Other ways to participate include volunteering with pro-life organizations or at local crisis pregnancy centers, and writing letters to the editor of local newspapers or political representatives about pro-life issues. Schmugge said some people who enjoy crafts make prayer shawls and crocheted angels for those who attend Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry for post-abortive women.
Bob Lyncheski of Little River has worked in the pro-life movement for more than 37 years.
The simplest action, such as volunteering to fold diapers at a crisis pregnancy center, or donating to a pro-life effort can have a huge effect, he said.
The importance of life is especially vivid for those at crisis pregnancy centers, often the only place where a woman considering abortion can be persuaded to keep her unborn child.
Lenna Fox Neill, CEO of the Piedmont Women’s Center in Greenville, said their effort in recent months has been aided by the donation of a new ultrasound machine funded by the Knights of Columbus. The organization has funded several more of the devices in other parts of the state.
One story stands out in her mind, and shows the importance even a small donation to the Knights’ fundraising campaign can have.
She said an “abortion minded” woman and her twin sister came in for a pregnancy test, and agreed to a free ultrasound so she could see how far along she was.
“Her situation was complicated and she felt abortion was her only way out,” Neill said. “What a beautiful surprise to her when the nurse introduced her to not one but two beautiful 9-week old babies, and their due date was on their grandma’s birthday. She and her sister immediately called their mom and told her their life changing news, and we all cried as she said ‘I can’t abort twins.’”
Lyncheski said Respect Life Month is also an important time to focus not only on the sanctity of life, but how to convey the message to others.
“Mother Teresa said we have to do whatever we do with love, and that’s important in the pro-life movement,” she said. “It’s not easy, because sometimes the people against you are not the nicest people in the world, but you have to be able to say, ‘God loves that person.’ Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s writing a check, standing on a Life Chain, going to a Respect Life rosary … do it with love.”