By Bob Lyncheski | GSCL Executive Board Member
MYRTLE BEACH—Grand Strand Citizens for Life hosted their annual conference and banquet Aug. 11. A large group of enthusiastic, pro-life minded people were supplied with information on the current struggle to protect human life from conception to natural death at the local, state and national level.
The main conference speaker was Scott Klusendorf of Atlanta. Klusendorf is president of Life Training Institute and travels North America teaching pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their views in the public square. He contends that the pro-life message can compete in the marketplace of ideas if properly understood and articulated. He has participated in numerous debates at the collegiate level against opponents such as Nadine Strossen, former president of the ACLU, and Kathy Kneer, president of Planned Parenthood of California.
At the conference, Klusendorf explained some basic steps to properly frame the pro-life debate. He said the main question to ask is: “Who are the unborn and are they human?” Once established that the unborn baby is human, no one has the right to take that life for any reason, he said. He gave a scientific and philosophical defense of the baby’s humanity, which is explained in his new book, “A Case for Life”.
The morning session was held at Christ United Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach with speakers from Bethany Christian Services in Myrtle Beach, Birthright of Georgetown and Catholic Charities of Conway.
Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life and corporate secretary of the National Right to Life Committee, began the morning session. She related facts surrounding the recent passage of South Carolina’s Opt-Out Law, which allows the state to refuse to pay for abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. She also discussed passage of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act that protects children who are born alive under any circumstances, including those who survive an abortion attempt.
Gatling also discussed their efforts to protect senior citizens and disabled citizens from proposed changes in the probate law, which would make it easier to withdraw vital food and water from patients despite their wishes. Copies of a sample pro-life will can be found here.
Elissa Viele, manager of Bethany Christian Services, told the story of an abortion-minded woman who changed her mind after viewing the ultrasound image of her child. This woman later brought a pregnant friend who shared a similar experience. Viele praised the ultrasound program that paid for the service, noting that the first baby was adopted into a loving family.
Mary Lou England of Birthright told participants that the organization saved 197 babies from abortion. Birthright also provides mothers with assistance in the form of diapers and baby clothing for the first six months following the birth of their child. The assistance can be extended to one year if the mother is attending courses designed to help her attain employment, she said.
Daryl Kangerloo, regional coordinator of Catholic Charities Pee Dee office, covered the same ground, adding that she sees hope in the lives of mothers who bring their children to birth because it inspires a desire to become self-sufficient. She explained that only a small percentage of people assisted by Catholic Charities are Catholic and said their clients come from all ages and walks of life. In addition to baby clothes they also supply adult needs.
The conference wrapped up with a fundraising dinner at the Clarion Restaurant. Over 100 people attended and proceeds benefitted Grand Strand Citizens for Life Beautiful Possibilities Fund. John Kost, GSCL president, said the money will be used to send local students to a pro-life training camp or to hold a local training session.
Part of the funds will also be shared with Jeannie and Carter Smith to help them start a local crisis pregnancy center in Myrtle Beach. The Smiths moved to the area for that purpose. They also talked about their faith-directed work, plans to accomplish their goal and how God moved them to this point.