Saving Lives ... One Conversation at a Time
| Leora Mazurovsky |
I remember the anticipation and excitement which consumed me in the early days of my first pregnancy. Like many girls, my earliest dreams and aspirations were centered around motherhood. I wanted to be a "mommy" to as many as I could - 12 was a number which fascinated me for many years until I realized just how much work was involved! At last, after many years of babysitting younger siblings, I was about to personally experience the great adventure of raising a child of my own.
The moment I knew I was truly pregnant was a joyous one for both me and my husband. Unfortunately, the words "you are pregnant," are not always received with happy expectation. For various reasons, many women are unprepared to bring a child into their lives. Abortion can often seem a convenient way out of what appears to be an impossible situation.
Sadly, modern Israel is a country in which abortion is a very viable option, considered by many to be just another method of birth control. Created out of the ashes of the Holocaust as a refuge for Jews and their descendants, Israel now allows and even encourages the destruction of the youngest and most vulnerable portion of its population. In the 25 years since abortion was legalized in Israel approximately 1.5 million babies have been murdered. In 2002, 19,796 unborn babies were aborted. For every 1,000 babies that lived, 142 were killed (12.4%). The lies and the deceptions begin at an early age.
Help in a Homey Office
Tucked away in the Tents of Mercy warehouse in the industrial neighborhood of Kiryat Yam, is the unexpectedly homey little office of Be'Ad Chaim, seeking to undo these lies and to save the lives of the unborn. Be'Ad Chaim (in Hebrew "for life") is an Israeli network of pro-life counseling centers. With framed pictures of babies on the wall, a sofa, comfortable chairs and a television in the corner, this could almost be someone's living room. However, the 3-D models of pre-born babies in utero and piles of booklets and brochures about abortion and sexually transmitted diseases reveal the true purpose of this room ... to affirm and save life.
Svyetlana is the counselor welcoming those who come seeking help and information. In Russian the word "svyet" means light. Svyetlana (Svyeta for short) couldn't have a more fitting name. She is truly a light bearer, bringing light and hope into sad and difficult situations she encounters. Her sweet smile and caring heart make her the perfect woman for the job, a job that takes place one conversation at a time.
Doctor Decides not to Abort
Svyeta's first life-saving conversation came with an older married couple, already blessed with two grown daughters. The pregnancy was an unwelcome surprise, particularly for the wife. She was a doctor who was hoping to become accredited in Israel and to begin working. A baby would change all that. They spoke openly with Svyeta who described the new life that was theirs to cherish and care for. The meeting ended without a final decision. Some time passed and they called to tell her they were going to keep the baby. After the baby was born (another girl!) the mother spoke to Svyeta on several occasions, each time saying how different and wonderful it was to be mature parents and affirming how grateful they were that Svyeta had encouraged them to have the baby.
Israeli High-School Girls Seek Answers on Sex and Pregnancy
Recently Svyeta met with two Israeli girls in the 10th grade. They found the number for the counseling center in a teenage Yellow Pages and called with questions about sex and pregnancy. During the meeting one girl explained that her boyfriend was pressuring her to sleep with him. All of their friends spoke only of sex, and guys and were constantly mocking anyone who was not sexually active. To be 14 or 15 and a virgin was unacceptable. Neither of the girls felt that they could discuss these issues with their families, and the school counselors would only recommend abortion.
Though Svyeta felt insecure about her Hebrew, the meeting went smoothly with many questions. In fact, so many medical questions were asked that she set up another meeting and invited Claudine.
Claudine is a medical doctor and a founding member of Tents of Mercy. In addition, she is an integral part of the Israeli Pro-Life movement and was instrumental in establishing the Be'Ad Chaim office in the Tents of Mercy warehouse.
At the second meeting two more girls came along. After they finished the second session one said that she would wait to sleep with her boyfriend, and another said that she would never have an abortion.
The sad fact is that these girls are very much in the minority. It is vital to pray for these young women, who can get abortions in Israel without permission from their parents.
Single Soldiers and Married Couples
After high school the next step is the army. Away from parental supervision and "all grown ups," many young people find themselves reaping the consequences of their "grown up" behavior. The army provides free abortions to enlisted women, thus reinforcing the concept that abortion is simply another method of birth control.
In one case the mother of a young lady phoned Svyeta because her 19 year old soldier daughter was pregnant. The father was also a young soldier. The mother knew that abortion was an option, but wanted her daughter to keep the baby. She was afraid that the boyfriend would push for an abortion and so she asked Svyeta to call the young man to find out what his feelings were! Svyeta took the number and called, not knowing what to expect. The young man answered while on duty aboard a ship. They had a long and serious conversation which was many times unintelligible due to the ship's noise in the background. Svyeta never met this couple face to face, but heard later that they are keeping the baby and are planning to marry.
Reluctance to have a baby is not unique even when the couple is married. Approximately half of the people who come to Svyeta are married and in their 30's. Their reasons for not wanting the pregnancy are usually economic. Either they are unemployed or both working and still struggling to make ends meet. Many are immigrants with no family nearby to give them the necessary assistance.
One such couple was ready to abort their baby, a second child. The wife asked Svyeta to call her husband who was strongly in favor of an abortion. Svyeta and the Be'Ad Chaim group prayed and the wife said "perhaps there will be a miracle." Not too long after, they called and announced that they were pregnant with twins and were keeping the babies because the husband couldn't condone aborting two!
Russian Jews and Arab Israelis
Be'Ad Chaim regularly runs advertisements in Russian and Hebrew language publications. They offer confidential counseling and free pregnancy tests. As a result, Svyeta receives calls from many different sectors of the population along the north coast and the Haifa Bay area.
"An Arab woman who wanted an abortion came to see me," recalls Svyeta. "She had three children, was having marital problems and was reluctant to have yet another child. I showed her our movie and she saw how the baby moved and that he had a heartbeat. She cried and said 'I thought the baby was only alive after four months!' She kept the baby and named him Ahmed."
You Can Help !
The abortion rate in Israel continues to rise. Half-page ads for abortions and abundant internet sites appeal to women to discard their unborn child. More than half of the people who contact us choose abortion. Your prayers and financial support of Tents of Mercy's pro-life ministry will make a difference in impacting the grass roots of Israeli society on an issue that is holy to the Lord.
Here are Svyeta's Prayer Requests:
|Ways to reach youth with accurate information about abortion (since it is not possible to get into the public schools).|
|Initiatives through flyers, seminars, a free video, or slides to educate the public about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, pregnancy development and abortions.|
|New Contacts - an increase in women turning to the center, multiplied decisions FOR LIFE.|
For more information about Pro-Life in Israel contact: "Be'ad Chaim" at www.beadchaim.org
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