HOBART | More than 1,000 people gathered at Avalon Manor for Friday’s 40th annual Lake County Right to Life fundraising banquet, making it the largest anti-abortion event ever held in Northwest Indiana.
“Wow! This is amazing,” said Len Reynolds, president of Lake County Right to Life, as he looked over the room with 105 tables with 10 guests per table.
International anti-abortion speaker and family law attorney Rebecca Kiesling brought her message about children conceived by rape being aborted.
“We need to face this issue. I’m here to encourage people to support adoption,” said Kiesling, a Michigan resident.
“I was conceived by rape. My mother was forced into a car and viciously attacked,” she said. “She went to two back-alley abortionists, but she backed out.”
Kiesling’s mother put Rebecca up for adoption. The two women have reconnected.
“Today we are both thankful for that decision,” said Kiesling who is herself the mother of five children, three who are biological and two who are adopted.
The Rev. Sammie L. Maletta Jr. from St. John the Evangelist Church in St. John was master of ceremonies.
“This is an organization that embraces all different faiths,” Maletta said of Lake County Right to Life. “We have more in common than our differences. It’s edifying to be here.”
Dave Koontz of Warsaw, Ind., vice-president of development for Indiana Right to Life, said Sen. Bill 371 has been passed by the Indiana House and Senate and is ready for Gov. Mike Pence’s signature.
The bill requires facilities performing chemical abortions using RU486 to provide specific information to women considering a chemical abortion 18 hours before the procedure. That information includes scientific information about the risks of chemical abortions, the age of the fetus and photos of gestational development and an ultrasound photo of the unborn baby.
“Abortion clinics say they are pro-choice, but they are not given an informed choice,” Koontz said.
Lynne Scherschel, of Crown Point, a banquet organizer, was presented with the Dr. Kelly Award for her work to organize a training program for sidewalk counselors. The program trains people to talk for eight seconds with women and men standing in line at abortion clinics and convince them not to abort.
“Lake County had the chance to train five sidewalk counselors this year. We trained 18 new counselors,” said Reynolds in presenting the award to Scherschel.
“I was on the fence for being pro-choice,” she told the guests.
“Then I saw my little grandson who was born at 16 to 18 weeks of gestation. He had every little part. And I thought ‘This is what people abort’,” Scherschel said. “We’re here about life. God’s agenda is about life. We need to be on God’s agenda, not our own.”