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A Word from Woody. . .
"Interview with Leaders in a Pro-life Ministry "
The statistics are alarming. In the U.S. alone there are 1.3
million abortions per year on average. That means since 1973 when
abortion became legal, our society has lost the chance to know
53,300,000 people. Of this shocking number, 90% of the abortions
were for reasons other than rape, incest, and health of the mother.
Who will address this atrocity?
Praise God for the Woman’s New Life Center. This pro-life outreach
is strategically located in Metairie next door to a private abortion
provider. I had the chance to interview two women who work at the
Center, the Lead Therapist Elizabeth Wilson, LCSW, and the Associate
Director Shannon Eaton, RN.
How long have you been
with the Center?
Elizabeth: I have been here since
2008, so about 6 years.
Shannon: I’ve been here since 2009.
What got you started in the pro-life position?
E: I’ve always been pro-life, even in graduate school I
knew it would be matched with something to a greater purpose. I
practiced social work in secular settings and Catholic Charities.
Then I connected with someone at a fund raiser—Susan, the founder of
Woman’s New Life Center-- and then I was asked if I would consider
being a counselor. I love the approach—based on reaching out to the
woman, not just the pregnancy, but issues surrounding the pregnancy.
It is important to me that we are walking with women down this path
of suffering and trauma, and not here to say, “Whatever works to
make you happy”. A pregnant woman who comes to us is grasping
for relief, so we try to reach her to where she does not make a
decision in a state of crisis.
S: I always thought abortion was
wrong. I was praying in front of an abortion provider with my
church, and I met Susan. I liked the Creighton Model System—a method
of fertility awareness, then I was a nurse here and then Associate
Tell me about your faith.
attend St. Ann’s Church in Metairie—born and raised Catholic.
S: I’m Catholic.
What is the situation with abortion in the U.S. at
E: I would almost equate it to
contraception. It used to be that having sex and a baby were
synonymous. But now sex is divorced from an openness to life. If the
contraceptives fail, now a decision [for abortion] is available that
previously they would not have considered. Almost half of all
abortions are with African-American women, and they are about 10% of
the American population.
S: It is shocking the number of
women who come in here. We ask what their plans had been to prevent
pregnancy, and they weren’t using contraception. If abortion were
not legal, I’m sure the women would be more aware of using
What is the situation with abortion in the New
Orleans area at this time?
S: Pray for the troubling
situation with the proposed Planned Parenthood clinic on Napleon
Ave. and Claiborne—17,000 sq. feet. Thankfully, the state has passed
a law saying the doctors have to have admitting privileges. We
need to teach our children to value life, especially with the
culture of violence in New Orleans.
E: Unfortunately, a judge has
allowed a stay with pending applications [for admitting privileges].
This is a culture of violence with permission.
What does the New Life Women’s Center do?
E: The counselor greets them, engages with the woman to
identify her needs. If she is looking for an abortion, we say
in a compassionate way we don’t refer for abortions but tell them
what our services are, offered at no charge. We are very
person-to-person, not forcing them to watch a film on abortion, etc.
They have the freedom to chose what they think is best. We do a
little assessment to understand what they are going through,
reflective listening, empathy, and can branch out to counseling
methods. Sometimes it is a crisis, so we are trying to get
them to place of calm. We tell them they are in a safe place. We
inform them of their options based on their values. We offer a free
ultra sound if they meet the medical criteria. We are never
condemning and never condoning. We reach out to women and men. We
also counsel on the phone, people we may never see.
Elizabeth, what message do girls need to hear today about
E: Look at the definition of abortion—the
actual procedure. What is the purpose of it? Look at it as whether
it is morally right or wrong. I go back to basics of right and
wrong. You need to look at it for the wrong of what it is, not at
the complicated life situation where the pregnancy is. Can you ever
imagine that you would end a person’s heartbeat?
What message do women need to hear today about
E: To be able to see your value and the
dignity that you have. Hopefully your value is strong enough, and
fortified by those around you, and thus you would value your own
child. Pay attention to your voice—not the voice of fear or
condemnation, but the voice of your conscience.
What message do men need to hear today about
E: It is difficult to see the pain of
women and men. A lot of times men get away from their protective
nature with women. Women can become for them a utility and thus they
end up treating themselves as a utility and to de-value their
manhood. Abortion hurts men too, especially later. A lot of time it
is traumatizing for them afterward. There was once here a young man
and woman, and they differed on the decision of the pregnancy. She
wanted to keep it and he did not. He was coming from wounded place
that started from childhood. You could see the coping mechanisms he
used. He was super controlling and he wanted to avoid the
possibility of basically passing on to his offspring what he went
through. He didn’t want to pass on his own experience. At times a
man can be unable to provide for the woman and the child. It is so
painful to see someone in that situation, and he had no one to talk
to – no father-type figure. Hopefully the pregnancy is an awakening
to no longer do further harm. The choice for life makes the
pregnancy and the life of their child meaningful.
like to thank Elizabeth and Shannon for the taking the time to share
their insights, and especially for the important work they are
doing. Let’s keep the Woman’s New Life Center in our prayers. I
encourage you to come to our Church Family Night on October 8th
where we’ll learn more from a representative from the Center about
Yours in the Lord of Life,