Garden City —Some people say the number 13 is unlucky, but not the volunteers at Birthright of Georgetown. That’s how many babies the group has saved from abortion in the past year.
Birthright volunteer Mary Lou England and other partners of Grand Strand Citizens for Life told moving stories about their work during their annual conference Aug. 20 at St. Michael Church.
Founded in 1984, GSCL(www.grandstrandlife.org) is an interdenominational organization that supports pro-life efforts in Horry and Georgetown counties.
“We are a group who loves life and wants to promote the value and dignity of life from before birth to a natural death and many points in between,” said president John Kost. “That’s the focus of everything we do.”
England and other speakers said the bad economy is causing more women with crisis pregnancies to seek help.
This year, Birthright has already served 279 adult and 71 teen clients, given out more than 200 clothing packages for newborns and 3,300 packs of diapers, and fielded more than 1,000 phone calls.
“We keep experiencing that poverty is getting worse, and we’re taking on about eight new clients a month,” she said. Birthright typically works with a mother through the first year of her baby’s life.
Elissa Viele of Bethany Christian Services said each phone call the agency receives symbolizes a chance to save a life. One woman recently discovered she was pregnant after she was booked into the Horry County jail. Bethany volunteers mentored her during her pregnancy and helped her choose an adoptive family.
“Our work is not about us — it’s about the families we serve,” Viele said. “What a beautiful testament to the grace of God that we could help bring that mother out of a place of no hope. Each child we serve is a child God created and that He wants to find a home for.”
More mothers will choose not to have an abortion if they know they have a support network, said Dale Smith, supervisor for the area’s Nurse-Family Partnership, which helps first-time mothers become better parents, have a healthy pregnancy, set goals and learn ways to improve their lives. The program, run by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, is currently helping 56 mothers and babies.
“A lot of the people we work with have never had anyone care about them before,” Smith said.
Pro-lifers must also focus on the dignity and well-being of those who are close to the end of life, especially with an aging population, said Dennis Wolterding, community education liaison for Mercy Care, which offers hospice and palliative care along the Grand Strand.