Christopher Slattery is founder and director of Helpers of God's Precious Infants, an expectant-mother care facility operating in the South Bronx area of New York. The center claims to save about 45% of the babies that mothers would otherwise have aborted. That means more than 340 children are saved each year. Recently, he spoke with Register Radio News correspondent Rich Rinaldi.
Rich Rinaldi: How do you help women who are pregnant and living under very difficult circumstances?
Christopher Slattery: I think the whole heart of the pro-life movement has to be focused on serving in a Christian manner the mothers who are expecting under difficult circumstances, and explaining what an abortion choice will mean for them and their babies, and what the alternatives offer them. Too many mothers are just given to confusion. [Theirs] are very real problems. Many of us listeners and myself, if I were in the same circumstances, [could] fall and make the same mistakes they and their boyfriends make.
We have many people who are poor, who have broken homes. … I am not trying to justify their abortions, but without the help of family and Christians, and people who care, their mistake in getting pregnant just can't be overcome without someone to show them the way, to offer them help and hope.
It must be very difficult under those circumstances to see the solution without guidance and counseling, and working it through.
Absolutely. I have a young girl who is considering an abortion. She wants this abortion very badly and she has already come in twice. I am making a third attempt to offer her hope. I will be putting her in touch with a pro-life doctor in a few minutes to make a last effort. Every day, in our three counseling centers, we are seeing 12 to 15 women and of those, probably eight or nine are seriously considering or planning an abortion. [We have the] ability to see these women face to face, show them videotapes, give printed material, show them pictures of both beautiful developing babies and aborted babies. [We are given] a privilege and a special opportunity to tenderly deal with them, offer Christ's love and [help] them to choose life.
Luisa, pictured with baby Sean, turned to a shelter operated by lay Catholic women after she was abandoned by her parents and boyfriend and pressured to have an abortion.Their support enabled her to keep the baby and earn her college degree.
The success rate of the counselors in this center is very impressive.
Yes. It's because many people have an ugly view of the pro-life movement. We don't position our- selves as pro-lifers, we don't put crosses on our doors, we don't have Christian posters on our walls; we keep a secular atmosphere. But in the private, one-to-one conversations, we talk about hope, the hope in Jesus Christ. We talk about the help that we can specifically arrange, and how free prenatal care can be available to them and help to solve some of their personal family problems. We've done all kinds of creative things to help save babies' lives …
We once hired, at a cost of $10,000, a full-time attendant for a mother who had a very severe bad back, and who had a handicapped child who had to be taken care of. This woman couldn't take care of her handicapped child. During the pregnancy, we helped her with the child so that she could have her next baby.
We hired a Russian couple who are artists and who were considering an abortion. We offered them employment in Christian art, if they would release the baby for adoption.
After a person has come to the center, do you continue to follow up with the family and any problems they may have had?
Some are quite content after an educational session to go their merry way and solve their own problems through their husbands, boyfriends and families. Not everyone wants follow-up help, but those that do, we make every effort to give it to them. We stay in touch, especially at holidays. We [give] 150 frozen turkeys with all the fixings for dinner and tons of gifts.
For the moms and their kids, we have a Christmas party. It's an effort to put all these things together. It costs us a lot. We don't get any city or state or federal funding. We raise all the money from donations — Catholics, primarily, and [other] Christians.
We've been blessed to do this work and we want to expand it. We think it's the best way to save children. We need more prayers, to pray specifically for expectant-mother care in New York City. Please pray so that we will get the graces to win the souls, convert them to the truth and love of Jesus Christ.
How can people get in touch with you, Chris?
They can call us on a toll free number that we have: (888) PROMOMS.
Rich Rinaldi is director of Register Radio News.