Burke-Sivers reminded the audience that since 1973 legalized abortion has had a lethal effect on the African-American community, taking more lives than AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and violent crime combined.
“Every week more Black children die in American abortion facilities than were killed in the entire Vietnam War. Abortion kills more Black people—every four days—than the Ku Klux Klan killed in 150 years,” Burke-Sivers stated.
Noting that it’s the Goliaths in our lives that cause us great fear, Burke-Sivers told those gathered in the Khorassan Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza that if we are to build a culture of life, it means facing Goliath head on.
Vitae’s work to reach women with unintended pregnancies and connect them with life-affirming Pregnancy Help Centers (PHCs) are the “rocks” that are being slung at the giant abortion industry today. Zip Rzeppa, Vitae’s market director shared the results Vitae is having in connecting women with options that include more than just abortion.
“Since Vitae moved its digital marketing and media strategies in-house, more than 10,000 women saw a Vitae ad and responded to a center—in the first four months of 2018. Thus, we are on pace to directly lead well over 30,000 women this year to seek and to find the help they need,” Rzeppa noted.
He also pointed out that abortion providers like Planned Parenthood could lose out on an estimated $7.5 million in revenue from the abortions they won’t get to perform this year due to Vitae’s messaging strategies.
Rzeppa shared that with Vitae’s collaborating efforts with PHCs in the greater St. Louis area, Vitae helped connect 1,200 women to these area centers in the last year.
“Our team doesn’t guess at what works. No, Vitae’s team works directly with more than 350 Pregnancy Help Centers, customizing digital marketing strategies, based on our renowned research, to make sure we get the messaging exactly right,” Rzeppa stated.
“Did you know that Planned Parenthood spends $190 million annually on advertising and marketing? And yet, when Vitae’s marketing team goes head-to-head with them on the Search Engines, you know who wins? Not Planned Parenthood! Time after time, the first listings on the web are Pregnancy Help Centers, thanks to Vitae’s great team, and your financial support,” Rzeppa noted.
Burke-Sivers, an international speaker and Catholic deacon from Portland, Oregon, said, “there is no question that Vitae’s research-based messaging, cutting-edge media, and education initiatives about the value and sanctity of human life will help restore life as a core value and belief in our American culture.”
The author and radio host shared a personal account about a woman he encountered after a Saturday evening Mass. She had just come from Planned Parenthood in Portland, had fled because they wouldn’t talk to her about anything but abortion.
Her experience that day at Planned Parenthood mirrored what Vitae’s research indicates: an unpleasant gauntlet of anxiety, fear, anger and issues of judgement while in the waiting room. Additionally, they encounter the issue of not being given options.
“That was her experience. After filling out the form, she had to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait until she finally saw a counselor. When she walked in, she wanted to know what her options were. She was not given any options and was told, ‘You made a mistake. You’re young. You can fix that mistake right now and get on with the rest of your life.'” Burke-Sivers stated.
“Your research states that Planned Parenthood counselors exacerbate her fears. Well, that’s exactly what happened to her. She wanted to know about adoption, but they wouldn’t give her any information. She got up and walked out,” Burke-Sivers said.
The woman was alone and scared and just wanted to find a church where she could pray. She did a Google search for a church and found one close by. Not realizing Mass was going on after she sat down, she stayed and was touched by the words in Deacon Burke-Sivers homily. A conversation after Mass set the Deacon in action, and within the hour the young woman was being seen by a doctor and shown her baby boy on an ultrasound.
“They told me it wasn’t a person. They told me it was a blob of cells,” the young woman said to the doctor and the Deacon in disbelief. “Who told you that?” the doctor asked. “Planned Parenthood,” she replied. Not only was the young woman in her twenties given free medical care by the doctor, Deacon Burke-Sivers connected her with a local PHC that was able to get her housing with a foster family.
“What would happen if the Vitae Foundation didn’t exist? What would happen to so many young women, so many babies, who have a sense of loss and hopelessness. Let us rejoice in our hope, be confident in our prayer and generous in our support,” the Deacon concluded.