Government Commends Pro-Lifer
Blogged by James Preece on 22nd October 2012
Imagine a country where the government Ministry of Health commends priests for their work in reducing the number of abortions. Where psycologist in the prenatal hospital recommends that women seeking an abortion speak to a priest first.
Sounds like a really Catholic country... Malta? Poland?
An Orthodox priest in the Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) region of Russia has been commended by the Russian Ministry of Health for his work in reducing the number of abortions in his district. His personal efforts in counseling and helping women to keep their babies has reduced the abortion rate in the Volgograd region by 25 percent over the past five years.
Father Alexis Tarasov began his life saving work in his own parish in the town of Voljsk, where he said he spent hours talking with women who were considering abortion. He expanded his pro-life work with visits to the local hospital. Then, he and other like-minded priests, established a crisis pregnancy center.
With the support of his diocese, he approached the local authorities for help to expand the project.
“The program was approved in 2002 by the administration of Voljsk,” said Father Alexis. “Then the idea developed to create a regional center, with the support of the administration of Volgograd.”
The result was the creation of the Center for the Protection of Motherhood and Childhood, under the supervision the Archangel Raphael Orthodox Medical Society.
According to the Department of Health, more than 2,000 Volgograd women have chosen to abandon their original intention to have an abortion since that time.
Father Alexis explained that the focus of his project is simple: to provide women with trained and sympathetic listeners who will hear their concerns, give them full information on the abortion procedure and its potential effects on her own health and well-being, and offered them the material help they need.
“Quite often, the only thing needed to dissuade a mother from this terrible decision is simply to talk to someone with an open heart,” Father Alexis said.
Natalia Ermishkina, 31, is one of the women that Father Alexis dissuaded from abortion. The young mother said she had lost her room in subsidized housing after being abandoned by the man who promised to marry her and raise their child. Out of desperation, Natalia decided to get rid of the child.
“The psychologist in prenatal listened to me and advised me to speak to Father Alexis,” said Natalia. “I went to him and I do not regret it. I gave birth to Alexandra, and the Center helped me with housing and clothes for the child. I have a daughter, and now begin to believe in and look forward to a better life.”
“Today, all women seeking abortions are sent by gynecologists for consultation with the psychologist working at each prenatal hospital,” said Nikolai Zarkin, head physician of Volgograd’s Central Maternity Hospital № 2.
Zarkin said after these consultations, 20 percent of women refuse abortion and give birth to their children.
Father Alexis has organized help for mothers after their children are born by providing legal aid as well as clothing at the Center for the Protection of Motherhood and Childhood, and looks forward to providing more housing.
“Wherever possible, we strive to help women in need. There is now an acute need for the establishment of more homes for moms who need housing. It is essential to build homes and equip them so that women can live with their children until their housing problem is resolved,” said Father Alexis. “But it is difficult without help from the authorities and, without benefactors, we can not do it.”
Pravoslavie News reports that Father Alexis has been given an award by the World Congress of Families for his many years of pro-life work.
A lot of people have been praying for the conversion of Russia... I don't think we've come quite that far, but it is interesting to note that while the "Christian" west manufactures a culture of death, it is in Russia of all places that the state is finally beginning to recognise that perhaps abortion is not such a good thing after all.
It was also in Russia that the international pro-life movement began the epic Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage to consecrate the great cause of protecting civilisation of life and love to Our Lady of Czestochowa. We cannot hope to turn things around on our own, but the Mother of God can do anything.
So if you want to see the government of the United Kingdom handing out awards to priests who work to stop abortion - it might be a good idea to get yourself along to the Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage, to entrust to Our Lady the great cause of the protecting the civilisation of life and love. It will probably be the most important piece of pro-life work you ever do.