Column: A practical opportunity for giving the gift of life

by Jan Lewis

Two women approached the throne of King Solomon. They brought with them a beautiful baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid the child before the king.

Each claimed to be the child’s mother and they argued vehemently, neither willing to yield. They asked the king to make a ruling: Whose child will it be?

Solomon, gifted with God’s own wisdom, looked at the two women and then drew his sword. “I will cut the living baby in two, giving half to one and half to the other,” he declared. At that, the child’s own mother broke down crying, pleading with the king to spare the babe and to give it to the other woman.

King Solomon knew that a true mother would go to any extreme to preserve the life of her child. The true mother was willing to give her child away in order for it to have life.

For over 50 years, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas has provided support for the true mothers: The women, who when faced with “a choice,” have lovingly carried a child in their womb and then given that life to another woman to love and nurture.

The support they receive includes help in identifying the family that will raise their child, emergency assistance if they are in need and, most importantly, counseling during the pregnancy and after, to help them deal with the tremendous emotions that such a decision brings.

In recent years, we have been blessed to receive funding support from an unexpected source, the state of Kansas. The Senator Stan Clark Pregnancy Maintenance Initiative has provided grants to nonprofit organizations that offer an array of social services to pregnant women, both during and after the child is born. These funds have allowed Catholic Charities to meet the needs of pregnant women while keeping the costs of adoption affordable for lowerand middle-class families. Unfortunately, despite support from a number of legislators, funding for this initiative was recently cut by the governor to help balance the budget.

What does that mean for Catholic Charities? First of all, 33 percent of our revenue for this beautiful service disappeared with the swipe of a pen. We will have fewer dollars available for the emergency needs of these mothers. We will have less staff available to provide them with the compassionate care that they need. We have to increase the costs to the adoptive families who are already making sacrifices to bring a child into their home.

What can the faith community do to help? Support life in a most tangible way by making a contribution to Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas designated to helping pregnant women bring the gift of life into this world.

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