Educating Hearts and Minds

Oct. 28 -Nov. 3, 04
Educating Hearts and Minds
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Friends For Life Continues to Support Life and Work to End Abortion

Friends For Life will hold a breakfast buffet on Nov. 6 in an effort to raise community awareness of the organization. Friends For Life was established in 1975 with the purpose of educating people about the truth of abortion. Their message is that each and every human being deserves respect and a chance for life. They are working to educate others about safeguarding the life of every human being from conception to natural death. “We are the largest pro-life educational resource organization in Central New York,” said co-president Tom Scibetta. Friends For Life is trying to change the hearts and minds of people.

It is a volunteer organization, entirely financed by private donations. Several individuals contribute specifically to the cost of billboard and television advertising. Volunteer Patty Conover got involved with Friends For Life when she attended a breakfast in 1992 and heard Dr. Joel Brind speak about the link between abortion and breast cancer. While asking for the name of a good pediatrician, she learned more about Friends For Life and decided to devote some of her time to volunteering. “It’s such a wonderful organization, with such a dedicated group of volunteers,” said Conover.

The goal of Friends For Life is to educate people so that abortion becomes unthinkable. “We believe that the facts about abortion have become distorted and in many cases, omitted,” said co-president Dorothy Scibetta. For instance, the media often show the most extreme examples of protestors. Sometimes a protestor will be shown carrying a blood-covered baby mannequin. The reason for abortion is often distorted in the news media. Rape and incest account for only one to two percent of abortions, while 98 percent are performed for convenience. Friends For Life believe that sometimes the cause of death from the abortion procedure is reported in a distorted way. Certain medical terms will be used to cover up death from abortion. It might be reported that a woman died from severe hemorrhaging or from an infection. Complications arise in one out of five abortions. Quite often, reports of a woman being beaten by her boyfriend or husband because she refuses to have an abortion are omitted from the reports. The fact that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer has not been highly publicized. Another fact that is not well known is that the childhood vaccines rubella and chicken pox are derived from aborted fetuses. More information about the vaccines can be found on the web site www.cogforlife.org.

“The lack of knowledge hurts us more than anything else,” said Scibetta. Alan and Mary Badger, along with Patty Conover, bring the pro-life message to as many people as possible. They present the message through the “Making Abortion Unthinkable” program. This program focuses on teaching pro-life people how to speak effectively about abortion. “We are focusing this program on our volunteers as well as the youth of our area. We know that a very important step in this battle to protect innocent life is to keep the movement going,” said Conover. The program teaches the art of pro-life persuasion. “People become tongue-tied when asked to talk about the pro-life message,” said Badger. Consisting of five sessions, the program teaches people not to be distracted by the customary arguments against pro-life. “We pride ourselves on the fact that our presentations are medically and scientifically factual,” said Scibetta.

Friends For Life has had 700 informational commercial spots on television during the past year. In one spot entitled “The Candle,” a candle is shown being lit and at the same time the stages of fetal development are being described. At the end of the commercial, the candle goes out with the message “Get the facts – abortion is forever.” The Friends For Life newsletter is published five – six times a year and is sent to over 1,000 subscribers.

Another way by which Friends For Life tries to educate is through the use of billboards. They put up two billboards this year. One reads: “Is the single most avoidable risk factor for breast cancer elective abortion?” The other billboard has a picture of a pre-born baby and the American flag with the slogan: “ I have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but….” The organization sponsors two public functions yearly. It hosts a breakfast and a luncheon in which a speaker is featured. Cynthia Falise will be the featured speaker at the yearly breakfast on Nov. 6 at 9 a.m. The event will take place at Barbagello’s Restaurant. The topic of Falise’s presentation will be “Who Is Missing From the Table of Life?” Falise serves as the director of the Respect Life Office of the Syracuse Diocese, Ruth Ministry, Project Rachel and the Catholic Advocacy Network.

Friends For Life’s future will be filled with working to educate as well as to inspire people to action. For more information on Friends For Life, visit the website at www.friendsforlifeinc.org or call the office at (315) 468-6798.

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