Highlight: A helping hand from despair to hope

Is abortion really the desirable choice that women are told it is? Steve Karlen tells us it is one that women agonize over and would rather not choose. We can be someone to provide a helping hand from despair to hope.

Steve is Director of North American Campaigns for 40 Days for Life, a non-profit pro-life organization with the goal of ending abortion. 40 Days for Life has hosted campaigns on every continent except Antarctica, including Latin America, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Hong Kong.

Steve speaks for the voices of women he has encountered through campaigns for life.

“We hear that, of women who have abortions, as many as 80% of them say if one person had reached out a helping hand and encouraged them to choose life, that they would have done so. I think, a lot of times, being that person out on the sidewalk, you are that one person.”

“Every campaign, we get stories about the women who would say they got up, got in the car, went for their abortion appointment, and were praying that there would be somebody to tell them that there was another option for them.

Choosing abortion only reluctantly, women often feel trapped by more coercive forces.

“For all the talk about women’s rights and women’s choice, so many women are choosing abortion out of a sense of despair, out of a sense of hopelessness.

“About two-thirds of them are under significant pressure from somebody else in their life to have an abortion, and so we’re advocates not just for the babies, we’re also advocates for the women.

“I believe that abortion is really not the root of the problem; I think the root of the problem is despair.

“When we can look at a woman in crisis and say, ‘I’m sorry, the best we can do for you is we’re going to take your money and we’re going to take the life of your child,’ I think that is not good enough.

40 Days for Life campaigns offers solutions such as adoption referrals, access to medical care and housing resources to provide women with abortion alternatives. Steve reflects on the lives that have been saved through sidewalk advocacy that may represent many others.

“As exciting as it is to know that more than 12,000 lives have been saved through the simple prayers and witness of people out on sidewalks, we think that’s really just scratching the surface.

“Some of the former abortion workers who have become pro-life have reported that when there are people out praying in front of an abortion facility, the no-show rate for those abortion appointments can go up to as high as 75%.

“We see people changing their minds, and it brings them hope, and so I think it’s that hope that really has the impact on people who are abortion-minded or vulnerable.”

Steve Karlen is Director of North American Campaigns for 40 Days for Life. He previously led local campaigns in Madison, Wisconsin, and successfully organized a volunteer effort to prevent a late-term abortion center from opening near the University of Wisconsin.

A helping hand from despair to hope