Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 25, 2006
Pro-life outreach touches those headed for abortions
Young women often unaware of alternatives to abortion
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"They've pretty much been directed to have an abortion if they are in a crisis pregnancy and have not been told about the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of an abortion."
- Joanne Byfield
Whatever the reason, no encounter is wasted. "We always try to give them pamphlets," Byfield said.
"We have stuff on fetal development, on the health risks and on post-abortion. So we try to get them to take a package. We don't always succeed. We do sometimes."
Several women have told Back Porch ministry volunteers that they changed their mind after an encounter but there is no way to be certain.
"We don't have a way of knowing if those women who said they had changed their mind actually carried through," lamented Byfield. "They may go home to the boyfriend who tells them, 'Get back there and have (the abortion).' Unless they come back with a baby, we don't know. I mean, what's success?"
Byfield takes comfort for the reason behind the Back Porch ministry - to offer women an alternative to abortion and a place where they can come and talk.
She estimates that about 5,000 women a year have abortions at the clinic. "Most of these girls have never heard of an alternative to abortion," she said. "They've pretty much been directed to have an abortion if they are in a crisis pregnancy and have not been told about the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of an abortion.
"We thought as Christians we really need to be here as an alternative for these women.
"We thought it was important to have a ministry to these women and to be a group that says, 'You don't have to do this; there are alternatives, there are people who love you and will support you to keep your child.'"
For Byfield and other volunteers, success is been able to make a difference in the lives of these women.
"For us (this outreach) is a success if somebody comes here and feels comfortable and asks about fetal development or takes the package with them. So if somebody comes here and actually talks to us that's a success because they would have heard there is an option."
A week ago a man who accompanied his wife to the Morgentaler clinic entered the back porch of the home with his three-year-old daughter looking for a bathroom.
"Are we doing the right thing?" he asked a volunteer, who told him killing a human being is no small thing.
"Are we going to hell?" the man asked.
"God is a forgiving God," the volunteer said, handing him some literature.
He took the material and was seen outside sharing it with his wife. "They went home but we don't know if they came back. We gave them an option."
Moms who have brought their own daughters for an abortion have stopped at the back porch. "I'm concerned that my daughter will go through the same kind of grief I had to go through," one mom lamented.
Byfield and seven others volunteer at the house, along with the part-time office manager Theresa McPike. Those interested in this kind of outreach - speaking to women and men who are considering an abortion - call 780-421-9941.
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