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 | Joey Reistroffer

Life Victories Are Possible With Work and Prayer

Sometimes the tiniest of lives will never get the opportunity to alter the course of human events. Abortion will do that.

It also will alter the lives of those who choose it. These mothers will never get the chance to love the babies they gave up. These fathers never will get to see their sons and daughters grow and make an impact on their communities.

Respect Life Committee members in parishes across the state know that many of these mothers are alone, isolated, pressured and under severe emotional distress when they make the decision to abort. They see many women in horrible life situations that do not bode well for a baby and another mouth to feed, so they pitch in to help moms, both before and after their babies are born.

Valerie Baronkin, respect life coordinator for the Greenville Deanery, said committee leaders organize prayer groups and sidewalk counselors at the abortion clinic on Grove Road in Greenville. They pray that these mothers will choose life.

“We are doing 40 days (of prayer) right now, and we have not stopped for COVID,” Valerie said, adding that the Upstate churches are planning another 40 Days for Life vigil at the abortion clinic through Oct. 31. “We’d like to encourage other people to join us.”

Margaret St. Germain, coordinator at Jesus Our Risen Savior Church in Spartanburg, said the pro-life ministry drives her. Saving the unborn is her quest, first in Connecticut and for the past 20 years in  South Carolina.

“I guess you can say I’ve been involved my entire adult life,” she said.

She helped organize a letter-writing campaign to state senators to pass the heartbeat bill. “It was passed in South Carolina, praise the Lord, but it’s stuck in court now.” The legislation prohibits abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Margaret also spearheads baby-bottle fundraisers and leads parish campaigns to collect gently used or new baby items and maternity clothes. She said it is vital to help new mothers during their pregnancies and after, so she is excited about Walking With Moms in Need, which supports pregnancy centers. Program organizers find and share resources to help stabilize women who are struggling after the birth of a child.

Heather Hayes, respect life coordinator at St. Paul Church in Spartanburg, said Walking With Moms in Need helps new mothers get through a crisis, offering a shoulder to lean on as well as assistance with paying bills. “They just need a friend,” she said, and this program offers that and more.

Walking With Moms in Need offers money for ultrasounds, financial planning, help getting jobs and bringing women to doctor’s appointments. Valerie recalled one “abortion-minded” woman who needed assistance finding work and organizing a budget. The woman received both to get back on her feet.

“She became self-sufficient, and now she is looking into getting a better house,” she said. Best of all, “She has had her baby.”

That was one victory for life.

Another occurred this past June when Valerie met a homeless woman considering an abortion at the Grove Road clinic.

“She said, ‘How can I have this baby; I am living in my car.’ I said,  ‘I can help’ and we exchanged information. She called a few days later, and we put her in St. Clare’s Home,” Valerie said.

The facility is a maternity home in Greenville County for expectant mothers who need shelter and security.

Another victory.

Meanwhile Margaret and Heather are keeping the pro-life movement literally out front in their parishes. They coordinated to buy crosses, which are displayed on church grounds in October, to remind passersby of the devastation caused by abortion.

Prayers from parishioners, however, are working.

“This year 43 babies have been saved,” Valerie said. “Our presence is making a difference” at the abortion clinic. “There is no bigger joy than hearing a mom say she is keeping her baby.”

Margaret, Heather, Valerie and other respect life coordinators are planning life chains and awareness programs across the state this month. Prayer, they say, is crucial.

“I do think people are more pro-life because they can see the slippery slope,” Valerie said, but, she added, “We all have work to do. We can see rosaries in the cars of people pulling into the abortion clinic.”

Each tiny soul lost will never get the opportunity to embrace life, love and impact the course of  human events.

The battle for life continues.