Right to Life hosts pro-life dinner on Saturday

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Right to Life President Susannah Julian (right) presented a plaque to Joyce Thomas to thank her for her years dedicated to advocating for the unborn.

Greene County Right to Life hosted its annual pro-life dinner Saturday night.

The event featured an update from Pregnancy Choices, located in Linton, and keynote speaker Monica Siefker, who serves as coordinator for the Bloomington-based 40 Days for Life and Sidewalk Advocates for Life.

Pregnancy Choices Volunteer Michelle Brown said the non-profit organization is based on Vincennes Street in Linton, and offers a variety of resources geared toward teaching abstinence and helping women choose life. In addition, helping young mothers and fathers prepare for the next steps.

Brown said the organization has three abstinence educators, including Pregnancy Choices Director Karen Worland. The educators visit local junior high schools to teach the importance of abstinence.

“We are lucky we live in a community that, for the most part, is full of Christians. The schools are open to us,” Brown said.

Pregnancy Choices offers free pregnancy tests and works to help expectant mothers choose life, she explained. The young mothers and fathers are then invited to attend classes within the program, which includes mentoring for both parents.

The mothers are able to participate in an “earn while you learn program,” which allows them to get items for their child after attending classes.

The state has recently approved the inclusion of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing at the facility. In addition to the testing, the facility counsels those who come in for the testing.

Brown said since Worland took over as director, the facility has seen at least double the number of women coming to Pregnancy Choices. Brown credited Worland for bringing more women into the clinic.

“Karen loves Jesus and wants to share that with these young girls,” Brown said.

Brown added Pregnancy Choices is primarily funded through donations, aside from a very small cut of license plate sales.

Brown reported as of August, the organization has 49 young women in the classes.

Keynote Speaker Monica Siefker noted during her presentation it appears the hard work in Greene County is working.

Siefker leads the 40 Days for Life and Sidewalk Advocates for Life groups, which aims to pray for women who plan to visit the Bloomington Planned Parenthood facility to have an abortion. She said the Bloomington location performs an average of 21 abortions every Thursday.

She said the hard work of Greene County seems evident, based on some digging she had done. In 2013, Siefker said 28 Greene County women went to the Bloomington Planned Parenthood to have an abortion. In 2014, that number dropped to 16, and in 2015 was only 12.

“That’s a huge improvement, thanks to your hard work,” Siefker said.

Siefker said she started by visiting the Planned Parenthood once a month to pray, but someone told her about the 40 Days for Life movement: Which aims to have prayer warriors at the location 24 hours a day for 40 straight days.

Siefker said, “Certain demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting.”

She said the concentrated campaign bears a “public witness to plea to God for mercy” and “to be the face of love and Jesus.”

The Bloomington-based 40 Days for Life movement utilizes volunteers to pray outside of the Planned Parenthood for 12 hours a day, two times a day.

In addition, Siefker has also started to coordinate the Sidewalk Advocates for Life and Chastity, which offers sidewalk counseling to women.

Siefker said the movement is one which many people in Bloomington do not like, including a business neighboring the Planned Parenthood. The “little red building” has seen significant business turnaround, including one who she said told the group they were giving the part of town a bad name.

Siefker said she was happy to announce a pregnancy resource center would go into the building next door, which she described as a “life center” once the funding and staff is put in place.

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