Marchers Sunday, Friday seek to build case for life

PHOTO BY MARYANN KROMER Father Kishore Kottana (front, left) and Father Joseph Szybka lead a March for Life Sunday from St. Joseph Church to St. Joseph Cemetery. About 70 people participated.

 

The National March for Life in Washington, D.C., is slated for Friday, and Sunday, local anti-abortion groups staged their own marches closer to home. All are intended to call for an end to legal abortions in the United States.

Sunday afternoon, about 70 people gathered for a prayer service at St. Joseph Catholic Church, followed by a walk to the monument for the unborn in the parish cemetery. Pro-life advocates from Bascom and Fostoria sponsored the 16th annual march from St. Patrick Church to Bascom United Methodist Church. Mild temperatures drew about 100 walkers. More participants joined them for activities at BUM.

The keynote address came from Clarissa Lapinski, coordinator for Project Rachel, a ministry to those negatively affected by abortion. Lapinski told the crowd she had an abortion 23 years ago at age 16. She was a high school junior with hopes of attending college. Pregnancy was not on her radar.

Lapinski went to a pregnancy resource center, where a test verified her pregnancy. At that time, ultrasound was not available. Lapinski told her friends about her condition, expecting support, but did not get much sympathy. The boyfriend was hesitant to become a father, and she was terrified to tell her parents.

Although abortion seemed her only option at the time, Lapinski was afraid to have one. Instead, she tried to accomplish a miscarriage by excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs. After four months, nothing happened.

“Now, I was completely convinced I could not have this child. Because of everything I had done, the child would not be a healthy one. So I scheduled an appointment for my abortion,” Lapinski said.

A court order was needed for permission, because she was a minor. The judge granted one in exchange for a promise from Lapinski she would not have a return trip to the courtroom.

The boyfriend went along the day of the procedure. Lapinski said the medical personnel were strangers to her. Fear and medication blurred her memories of that day, but she did remember a young woman in the room with her “to just be there and hold my hand.” The teen focused on that woman.

“I still pray for her to this day,” Lapinski said. “The look in her eyes was (one of) pain … pain for me.”

Walking out of the clinic, Lapinski had a sense of relief, but she felt alone. Her relationship with God had been severed, she thought. Since then, Lapinski has spoken to many other women who feared abortion but felt relief in their decision.

When Lapinski became pregnant a second time, her mother took her to the doctor. This time, the baby was born, and Lapinski married the father. They had two more children before the marriage became troubled. Counseling kept them together, and a fourth child was conceived; however, the problems continued.

“I knew something was wrong,” Lapinski said.

Through prayer, she realized the abortion had left deep wounds that had not healed. When Lapinski learned about Project Rachel, an arm of Catholic Charities, she attended a 6-month Bible study and a one-day retreat. Eventually, inner peace replaced the guilt and regret.

About eight years ago, someone invited Lapinski to share her experiences. She has continued to do so, hoping to help others. More than a year ago, she became the coordinator for Project Rachel. In 2016, about two dozen women attended the ministry’s three retreats.

Women are not the only ones who can be harmed by abortion. In February, the ministry is to have its first retreat for men. More information is available by calling (419) 583-6817 or email clapinski@toledo

diocese.org.

Lapinski was able to save her marriage and give birth to a fifth child, now age 2. She feels God used her abortion to bring her back to him and to reach out to others. In conclusion, Lapinski told the crowd to have compassionate for those who are “pro-choice,” because they probably are hurting in some way.

Also speaking briefly was Linda Theis of Findlay, a co-founder and president of Ohio Pro Life Action. She explained the organization also encompasses

end-of-life issues and emphasizes the importance of traditional marriage. The website is www.ohiopro

lifeaction.com.

In an update on legislative action in Ohio, Theis mentioned the “Heartbeat Bill,” which limits abortions to the time before the fetus’ heartbeat is detected. The bill is being challenged and may need to be resubmitted to Ohio lawmakers.

Theis expressed hope for the pro-life cause under the new U.S. president and youth who are devoted to ending abortion. She urged the various groups to collaborate and persevere in their efforts.

“I would urge all of you to continue,” Theis said.

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