GREENVILLE—The winter sun waned and the sky began to darken, and still they stood in the parking lot. The staff could see them through the front window, a white teenage girl and a black man a few years older. No one went out to approach them. No one went home to supper. They waited.
After longer than an hour, the girl came into the building, alone.
“I think I might be pregnant,” she said in a small voice.
She moved the zipper on her jacket up and down, chewed on a loose strand of her blonde hair and did not look at the volunteer at the desk.
“Let’s find out, shall we?”
The volunteer led her to the back and administered a pregnancy test. It came out positive. She was pregnant.
“My father will kill him.”
With that ominous prediction hanging in the air, the two women began to talk. It turned out that the father of her unborn child was her grandfather’s nurse and her family was racially prejudiced, according to Sheree J. Lynch, director of Birthright of Greenville, where the events took place about a year ago. Lynch told this story to The Miscellany in an interview.
“She was totally freaking out and didn’t want to leave. Like many of our clients, she was thinking only of the negatives about her pregnancy. We helped her to conquer her fear of what bad things might happen and to think about the positives of having a baby. She finally left, hesitantly,” Lynch said.
After a weekend of tension for the volunteer staff at Birthright, the girl’s father and brother came in on Monday to thank the staff for giving her the strength to tell the family. The couple later delivered a baby girl who is doted on by the mother’s family. They are now expecting their second child.
This is but one of many success stories that transpire every week at Birthright. Sometimes the efforts are unsuccessful and babies are lost, but somehow Lynch and her volunteers mostly manage to find the right words and emotional connections to help pregnant women appreciate the life growing inside them.
“All our counseling is confidential and nonjudgmental,” Lynch said. “We try to encourage the woman to ask herself, ‘How do I feel about expecting a baby?’ and to think of the blessings. They’re thinking only of the now instead of the future. Someone needs to tell these frightened people that a pregnancy is a blessing and that if you have an abortion there’s no turning back. We do that.”
Birthright does a lot more and all of it free for the client. They assist hundreds of women annually. The office averages about two-dozen visits a week and the same in phone calls, Lynch said. The operation is fully funded by donations. Their big fundraiser is an annual banquet in March, this year marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of Birthright in Greenville.
Birthright is non-denominational, but Lynch, a parishioner at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville, said the majority of people who donate to the operation are Catholics, as are most of the volunteers.
For more information about Birthright, contact Sheree Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (864) 281-7677.