A local hospital system uses the slogan, "Because there is no routine (procedure)," inserting mammogram, cancer, heart disease - etc., as appropriate.
The same could be said of the days at Greater Columbus Right to Life, because it turns out that there is no such thing as a routine crisis, so the ways in which we help are not exactly routine.
Today brought us three different women in need of help. The first woman we met on the sidewalk, we will call Juliana.* Juliana has limited English skills and found herself thrust into the workforce after several years as a stay at home mom after separating from her husband. Then, she got pregnant. With several children at home who she is already struggling to provide for, Juliana went to Founder's, where she met one of our volunteers before her appointment.
Fortunately, our volunteer spoke some basic Spanish, and after the mom decided to walk to the pregnancy help center, I was able to meet them there to help with translations - grateful I'd brushed up on my pro-life Spanish earlier this year!
While I was still in the counseling room helping Juliana to sort through her situation, our volunteers met a second mom who turned away from the clinic. Mom number two, who we will call Katie, was a teenager herself, and she already has one infant at home. Thinking she was not up to the task, she turned to abortion as a way out, but upon meeting our volunteer, she needed help, support, and encouragement, not abortion.
After a grueling few hours of translating, a real translator showed up just in time for Juliana's ultrasound- fortunate, because my knowledge of medical terminology could be better. Still, I had formed a bond with Juliana, so she asked me to go with her for the ultrasound.
By by the time we left and grabbed some lunch, I was learning about the details of what happened earlier at OSU. There were multiple received calls and texts asking if I was ok. All in all, it was a long, exhausting, and certainly not routine kind of day, but it was not yet over.
At 4:45, just as I was battling a serious headache and about to call it quits for the day, we were contacted by a third mom. This young woman, we will call her Malika, had aged out of the foster care system and given birth to twins in the last eight months. Today, she found herself homeless -living in her car, pregnant again, and facing the news that she would not be able to qualify for a residential program helping with the transition from foster care to independence because of her pregnancy. So, we got to work with a referral to a family shelter for tonight and an appointment with a pregnancy help center tomorrow, and tomorrow we will reconnect with her to make sure she gets the resources she needs. No woman should be made to feel like she must choose between the life of her unborn child and having a roof over her babies' heads.
So many women cross our path every day. Each of them is facing a very real problem, often they have problems that we cannot fully grasp. All of them see abortion as a perceived solution for a very real problem. Frequently they refuse our help, many of them talk to us and consider what we are saying, and a few make the immediate decision for life by turning away from the abortion clinic. Whatever the circumstance, we pray for them, and we offer them hope.
There is no routine crisis and no routine day at Greater Columbus Right to Life. There are, however, regular volunteers and regular needs. This year, we have distributed thousands of pieces of literature to women seeking an abortion, their partners, and their support people. We do this because we care, because women and their children deserve better, and because we are compelled by our faith and the moral laws to stand against this supreme injustice.
Today we met and prayed for and helped three women to make a choice for life and to turn away from the clinic. There is no routine day at GCRTL, but there are routine expenses.
Tomorrow (Nov 29th) is #GivingTuesday, a national day that kicks off the year-end giving cycle. Americans have spent billions from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, and we will give millions to charity on Giving Tuesday.
Like many nonprofits, between twenty and twenty-five percent of our budget will be donated between now and the end of the year. We must raise a minimum of $15,000 to continue our work. In fact, that is what I intended to work on today, but Juliana, Katie, and Malika took precedence.
Please, consider the work that we are doing and the women who we are helping. This #GivingTuesday, I would ask that you consider a gift of at least $75 - that is less than $3 each day between now and Christmas. If you cannot donate $75, a gift of just $10 each month will go further than you can imagine. Because while there are no routine days at GCRTL, together we can show the world that life is always precious and it always takes precidence.
Click here to donate online today.
*Names changed to protect confidentiality.
This month’s GCRTL volunteer spotlight is Bonnita! She was recommended for her special efforts by her fellow sidewalk counselors, who strongly admire her prayerful and peaceful presence and her loving heart out on the sidewalk and throughout the community. We caught up with Bonnita and asked her to share why she got involved and what she loves most about being part of our team. Here is what she had to say:
Our Church was looking for a way to defend the unborn and serve the hurting as God commands. Our good sister Ashley paved the way and put us in touch with Greater Columbus Right To Life. Prior to becoming a side-walk counselor, abortion didn't cross my mind often, even though my Pastor had preached against it. I thought of this evil as rare and far off. Since then, I have been shocked to learn 110 babies are murdered every week in Franklin County. May God have mercy upon us and our nation. I was just as shocked at how few Christians showed up each week and how few the faithful are to this essential ministry.
On the sidewalk I witness woman after woman walking into the clinic. It has been surreal. My mind can't process what it's seeing each time I see it. How can this be happening, I wonder? Looking into the eyes of the frightened and the hurting, it seems these women don’t know where to turn while facing the abyss of hopelessness.
Knowing that people from our church and GCRTL will be there for many of these women makes me thankful. The relief they seek can’t be found in that dreadful building. Seeing them come talk to us or leave the clinic, fills my heart to almost bursting with God’s love and hope. Not really knowing the perfect things to say, by faith we open our mouths and God speaks through us of His truth and mercy. When the women are gone we pray and hope they will come back to talk with us. Being able to be part of a mother’s tearful decision to turn away from her appointment to end her baby’s life is so amazing! Thanks be to God for allowing us to witness His great work. He is so good to allow us to be there for them in their time of suffering. I thank God they are not alone.
May God help us to use the Word in defense of unborn children so we might “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter” (Prov. 24:11).
I would invite you to please join us. Look into the eyes of death and speak the words of life, like Jesus did for us. You might be surprised how much difference you can make if you simply show up and see what God can do.
“For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).
My pastor is so good to remind all of us that if it wasn't for the Grace of God we might be walking into this “House of Death” as well. We were all dead in our trespasses and sins before God transformed our hearts. Praise be to God. “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4).
Bonnita is a member of Foundation Church, which is located in Mt. Sterling. She often joins members of her church, who have committed to prayer at the clinic once a month, and regularly comes on other days as well. In her free time, Bonnita especially loves spending time with her nieces and nephews, gardening, and caring for others in her church, family, and community. Please keep Bonnita, and all of our volunteers, in your prayers. THANK YOU Bonnita!!
Kermit the Frog once said, “It ain’t easy being green.” Well, similarly, it isn’t easy being pro-life. I’m not talking about the stereotypes or the counter-cultural perception that many have (despite the evidence that a majority of Americans are strongly pro-life); I’m talking about the emotions we in the pro-life movement feel when we see the casual disregard for human life around us. We all feel it, I think, in varying degrees and in varying ways. The Gosnell trial brought it out. The images of a newborn baby in China, stuck in the pipes of her building after being flushed down the toilet alive brought it to mind. The call of a woman considering abortion and the pain of a woman or man struggling post-abortion – each brings out this emotion. I’m sure that the emotions are as unique as the person experiencing them, but over and over again we experience heartache over the senseless loss of life. It isn’t easy being pro-life. It is one reason that we begin to count the small victories.
Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.” That is wise advice, coming from a woman who experienced more than her share of the heartache of human existence. It is good to remember that pro-life victories are often victories of one.
The Greater Columbus community had one such victory this week, and I’d like to share it with you. In my post-lunch perusal of Facebook (not to be confused with my lunchtime perusal of Facebook), I came upon a status update from Abby Johnson, a woman who has become a household name in the pro-life community. Abby was a former abortion-clinic worker who walked away from the abortion clinic and is now a powerful voice in defense of the unborn. She started an organization called, “And Then There Were None” (ATTWN). ATTWN is a national organization dedicated to helping abortion clinic workers walk away from their jobs and towards new lives. ATTWN helps with living expenses, job-search help, healing, and more. The sidewalk counselors trained by Greater Columbus Right to Life frequently share ATTWN information with clinic workers, letting them know, “When you are ready to leave, there will be help.” We frequently pray for abortion clinic workers to turn away from the mills and towards life, ATTWN takes the fruits of those prayers into its arms.
Suffice it to say, Abby Johnson is pretty darn cool. If you’ve not read her book, I would encourage you to borrow/buy/download it today. Abby’s status update said:
A former abortion worker from Columbus, Ohio has contacted ATTWN! She is a single mom of two young kids. Although she is willing to gain new employment anywhere, she has extensive experience as a medical and legal interpreter/translator (she speaks both English and Spanish fluently) and also has experience as a drug abuse/domestic violence counselor. If you have any information about job leads or opportunities for this woman, PLEASE EMAIL our operations director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, to be clear – I do not know who this woman is. It does not matter. I do not know how she heard about ATTWN. It does not matter. I do not know if her path ever crossed with a GCRTL Sidewalk Counselor, a 40 Days for Life participant, a respect life coordinator who works with us, or even one of our volunteers. It does not matter. What matters is that this is a pro-life Victory of One, and we are celebrating the victory, sharing the request for job leads, and asking that you all pray for this woman and her former coworkers. Likewise, if you know an abortion worker, please share with them that groups like ATTWN are there for them when they are ready to leave, and GCRTL will do everything in our power to help them, too.
This is not the only Victory of One that we’ve seen in recent weeks, and I am incredibly joyful that we are seeing more and more of them. In May, our Sidewalk Counselors and Prayer Partners turned four women away from the abortion clinics and into the loving arms of pregnancy resource centers. We partnered with Created Equal to bring pro-life apologetics training to more than 50, many of them new to the team. We are holding our next Sidewalk Counseling training THIS Saturday (June 8th) – with a few spots left, it isn’t too late to sign up.
So as you go on with your week or kick off your weekend, remember that there is great joy in Victories of One, and with your help we will keep celebrating them.
Columbus Abortion Facility Going Out of Business: Capital Care Network Closing Columbus Abortion Facility
Greater Columbus Right to Life learned today that the Capital Care Women's Center (CCWC) abortion facility will likely close their Columbus abortion facility located at 4818 Indianola Avenue. After a noticeable decline in business over the past year or so, it appears that the abortion facility can no longer afford to remain in open.
CCWC is affiliated with the Capital Care Women's Network, an affiliation of abortion facilities in Akron, Columbus, Lima and Toledo, Ohio, and Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Capital Care Network is informing potential clients that they are only scheduling appointment through Wednesday, June 6. After that date they are referring clients to the Founder's Women's Health abortion facility at 1243 East Broad Street.
"One closed, three to go," said Ruth Yorston, Greater Columbus Right to Life Executive Director, referring to the number of abortion facilities in Columbus. "The pro-life movement's efforts to educate people on the unalterable consequence of abortion - the death of the pre-born child, and the dangers of abortion - the physical risks to the mother and emotional health risks to the mother and father, have led to the decline in business that appears to be forcing CCWC to close their doors."
Yorston continued, saying that "the closing of this abortion facility is also a result of pro-life volunteers praying for and sidewalk counseling CCWC's clients that they deserve better than abortion. Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, women need support and assistance that affirms them and supports them through and beyond their pregnancy. What we don't need are people telling us that we're incapable of leading meaningful and fulfilled lives while being pregnant and giving birth to a child. That attitude demeans women and paves the way for them to choose the path of ending the life of their child - a path from which there is no return."
Earlier this year Greater Columbus Right to Life launched a sidewalk counselor training program designed to increase the number of sidewalk counselors at Columbus abortion facilities. Nearly 50 men and women attended the workshop to learn how to bring a message of love and hope to women and men standing on abortion's precipice. We are now working to engage these counselors and more who will follow them through our training in the life-saving work that is helping to close the Capital Care Women's Center abortion facility.
"Our hope is that this wonderful news will motivate even more to join us in our efforts to bring an end to abortion in Franklin County. While this is certainly a victory, we cannot yet say 'mission accomplished!' The number of abortion facilities in our community appears to be decreasing by 25%, but still nearly one out of every five abortions committed in the State of Ohio occur in the City of Columbus. It appears that there will now be three facilities in Columbus performing abortions five days a week and that the Founders abortion
facility will receive increased business due to CCWC's closing."
The Greater Columbus pro-life community must increase our education and advocacy work to support women facing difficult circumstances while they nurture the child developing within. "Greater Columbus Right to Life is committed to staying the course until we see the day that women in unplanned pregnancies receive the assistance they need to chose life and health for themselves and their children and the last abortion facility in our city closes its doors. With the support and involvement of local pro-life people we look forward to not only decreasing the number of abortion facilities but the number of abortions as well", said Yorston.
Click here to partner with Greater Columbus Right to Life by volunteering or making a tax-deductable donation to our Educational Foundation.
Saturday morning my husband and I went to the Founders abortion facility on East Broad to sidewalk counsel with Tricia and her prayer partners from St. Patrick Parish. You never know who you'll get to meet on the sidewalk. Saturday as I stood in the alleyway behind Founders I had a breif chat with one of the abortion workers.
"I used to in a clinic like this one," I said. "I don't work there anymore."
"I guess not, since you're standing back there!" she said.
I introduced myself and asked her name. "Nancy," she told me.
Oh how I remember those days working at the abortion facility, mistrusting everyone on the "outside" and expecting the worst from them at any moment. I wonder where I'd be today if it weren't for those "crazy pro-lifers" on the sidewalk. They didn't know my name, but I'm sure that they prayed for my anyway.
Well, I know Nancy's name now, and I'm praying for her. I hope you will, too. Along with Nancy, will you please pray for these other men and women we spoke with on Saturday morning?
A young woman who came by herself. She entered the abortion facility and came out about 20 minutes later and left. She was crying when she left and Tricia was able to share with her that we were there because we love her and want to help her. Tricia gave her some information about Women's Care Center, the pregnancy resource center just a few blocks down the street and offered to go to the center with her. "I need to think about it," she said. She left alone, but with the message of hope and love and information about a place she can turn to for help. Please pray that she takes the message to heart and goes to Women's Care Center.
A young couple who I spoke with before they went into the abortion facility. "I have to go, I have an appointment." She was clearly upset and looked like she was about to break down. She received the information I offered her, but she wouldn't stay and talk with me. She and young man with her went into Founders. Please pray for this young couple as the crisis they were hoping to avoid with the abortion will only give way to more and new crisis in the days and years to come.
The Columbus police office, Officer Smith, who is one of two officers hired to provide off-duty security on Saturdays. We spoke about security issues at the facility and about his thoughts on abortion. We spoke in detail about abortion and the "exception" case of rape. Please pray for Officer Smith that he will remember and think about this conversation. I look forward to continuing this conversation with him in the weeks to come.