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Church service marks sanctity of human life

May 17, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - About 50 people held lighted candles and sat in silence in the darkened sanctuary of Otterbein United Brethren in Christ Church "to remember and honor the 44 million lives lost to abortion since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Roe v. Wade in January 1973," a local pregnancy ministry group said.

Pregnancy Ministries Inc. held its second annual Sanctity of Human Life Candlelight Memorial Service Sunday evening. Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is in January, but the service was postponed twice due to poor weather.

According to statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the public education arm of Planned Parenthood, 1.3 million American women terminate their pregnancies each year. Forty-five percent of all abortions are repeat abortions.

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Pat Wingert, director of the Waynesboro, Pa., center of Pregnancy Ministries, said the focus of the event was on post-abortion healing.

"I know there are women who are suffering from post-abortion syndrome and are not able to admit they had abortions. That's why we have this service every year," she said.

"There are a lot of physical and emotional issues that have to be addressed with post-abortion syndrome. Women don't realize they are suffering from this," she said.

The Rev. Charles Jessen, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro, said that "life and its value are written in the human heart, in the very fiber of the human being. That's why post-abortion women will always have to struggle with what they've done against themselves, their child and human nature."

He stressed that finding forgiveness and healing is possible.

"Pregnancy Ministries and other groups go to the root of the problem and deal with the pain with the forgiving message of Christ," he said.

Jessen noted that more teens than adults are against abortion.

"Seventy-two percent of teens age 13 through 17 believe abortion is morally wrong," he said.

"One-third of teens believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances; only 17 percent of adults believe that. The generation behind us will be kinder and gentler to their pre-born children," he said.

Linda Barr, executive director of Pregnancy Ministries, read an excerpt from the book, "They Lied to Us," by Victoria Koloff, which told the story of a woman who suffered from post-abortion syndrome for 24 years without knowing the cause of her problems.

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