Make a difference on abortion locally, speaker says

TAYLORS — Parishioners should be given local abortion statistics so they understand how many babies are being aborted in their area, Father Peter West told pro-life coordinators Feb. 12.

“You have to tell them that we have to do something about it in our local community,” said Father West, a priest associate of Priests for Life. He spoke to a group of parish pro-life coordinators from the Upstate at a luncheon Feb. 12 at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors.

Father Steven L. Brovey, the church pastor and dean of the Piedmont Deanery, organized the luncheon. Father West also spoke at the Feb. 11-12 Masses at Prince of Peace.

Father West gave the coordinators ideas on how to motivate people, including spiritually adopting a baby and educating Catholics on the stages an unborn child goes through before birth.

He said it is important for pastors to continue preaching about abortion so that people realize that each human being “is made in a likeness of God.”

“Only God can take a human life,” he said.

People must realize that the church’s teaching on life issues comes from the Scriptures, he said.

Father West also addressed the issue of reaching out to African-Americans. He said Priests for Life is working with Alveta King, niece of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to find ways to reach out to African-Americans. King is not Catholic but is active in the pro-life movement.

“Alveta King says that the graphic images of abortion often make more of an impact with the black community,” he said. “…We have to make people realize that abortion is the premier social justice issue of our day.”

Valerie Baronkin, Respect Life coordinator for the Piedmont Deanery, told Father West that one of the problems in the Upstate is that there is no home for unwed mothers.

She said she recently received a telephone call from a young pregnant woman whose parents made her move out of their house. She said it was difficult to advise her where to go.

Father West provided Baronkin and the others names of people who they could talk to about setting up such a home in the area.

Afterward, Baronkin said that Father West offered many good ideas and inspired the group members in their efforts at the parish level.

Parishes in the Upstate do a good job of reaching out to people by supporting Birthright, a Greenville crisis pregnancy help center, Baronkin said.

She said she liked Father West’s suggestion to provide parishioners with local statistics.

“Getting those kinds of figures out and educating the parishioners that way is probably a good idea so that people can see what’s going on,” she said.

Baronkin said she would like to get more people involved in praying outside the abortion clinic in Greenville.

Such involvement does change lives, she said.

“A lot of the women are scared and frightened,” she said. “We just stand there and pray. If people want to come out and talk to us, we are available. We have had women come out of the abortion clinic and say, ‘Thank you for being here, your presence has changed my mind.’”