What Can You Do to Change the World? These People Are…

What Can You Do to Change the World? These People Are…

porn harms 3by Erin Weist

A few months ago we wrote about the World Congress of Families that convened in Salt Lake City, Utah and focused on issues that affect families and family relationships.  I was fortunate enough to attend several of the lectures and am thrilled that they are now available online.  There are so many worthwhile reports (available on the WCF website or YouTube channel) but I wanted to share a few from individuals who started with a simple act and grew into changing the world.  


Two videos in particular were presented by groups fighting against the plague of pornography.  Accompanied by shocking statistics, heart-breaking testimonies and horrifying accounts, they shine a light on the dangers of pornography in our society. First, The Porn Pandemic covers a documentary shown by Sharon Slater, the President of  Family Watch International.  This documentary attests to the societal dangers of pornography, that it is not just a personal vice but a genuine safety issue for women on both sides of the lens.  Two other experts testify on scientific studies about pornography, their experiences, research, and work to change the conversation.  

Underground railroadThe second video regarding pornography was given by founders of two non-profit groups, Fight the New Drug & Operation Underground Railroad.  The first group, Fight the New Drug, was started by a group of college-age men encouraging people to promote real love instead of the false idolatry of pornography.  Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) rescues children from the slave trafficking industry, one promoted and encouraged through the pornography industry.  It was started by Tim Ballard, who saw a horrible system at work and decided to change it, one kid at a time.  If you feel moved to help, each of these groups accept donations on their websites to assist their movements and operations.

Stephanie Nielson B4

Another video I must share is from Stephanie Nielson, the writer of the blog read worldwide, Nie Nie Dialogues.  Her story is both heart-breaking and inspiring and full of love.  Anyone who is a mother or longs to be one will be moved by her story.  She didn’t do much but start a blog.Her choices are    changing lives all over the world.stephanie neilson after


Finally, Nick Vujicic is the world-famous motivational speaker who founded the organization Life Without Limbs, whose mission statement declares their desire “to build bridges that bring people to the love and hope found in Jesus Christ.”  Nick was born without arms or legs and has overcome tremendous obstacles to teach others that every life matters.  Regardless of your religious affiliation the message that God loves each and every one of us is a powerful motivator for good in our societies, and Nick is using that message to encourage kids to love themselves and each other.  Nick Vugicic


Some of these videos are rather long, so I would encourage you to bookmark them and come back when you have time to ponder.  And peruse some of their other videos.  You absolutely can find something empowering that will motivate you to change the world for the better, just like these powerful examples.  Tim Ballard, of O.U.R., says that if you want to make a change it can be as simple as taking a talent and figuring out how to use it in your efforts.  Sometimes all it takes is a first step.

1 Comment
  • lmerryangel
    Posted at 13:10h, 28 December

    The Guardian

    The price of being pro-life: meet the woman who pays $3,000 to prevent abortions
    Laura Merriott has always been anti-abortion. After seeing many women go through with the procedure for financial reasons, she decided to bankroll them.
    Save Unborn Life’s founder, Laura Merriott said of funding mothers-to-be: ‘If we got many big donors we might be able to offer them more, and then more [babies] can be saved.’
    Monday 30 November 2015 13.10 EST
    It was a phonebook that led Flora to Laura Merriott, who she says helped save the lives of her twins.

    About a year ago, Flora, 39, found out she was pregnant. The pregnancy was unplanned; her boyfriend had left. And so Flora, who until that moment had been anti-abortion, picked up a phonebook and started looking for a place that could help her.

    “The father had left and I had no help. I was trying to find out how I could get an abortion or somebody that could help me pay for an abortion,” she said.

    That’s when she found it: Women’s Care Center of Erie County Inc. “I called them thinking that they were a place that helps with abortions. They had me come in for a meeting to talk to them about it. I explained my situation and then I came to find out I wasn’t there for them to help me get an abortion. I was there for them to help save my baby.”

    That first meeting was not enough to convince Flora to keep her pregnancy.She did, however, agree to try counseling. That’s when she was introduced to Laura Merriott, president of Save Unborn Life.

    Is $3,000 enough to stop an abortion?
    Merriott, a retired US air force nurse who had always been pro-life, used to volunteer at the center. After seeing a number of women decide to go through with abortion due to financial reasons, she thought to herself: why don’t we just give them money? And so Save Unborn Life was born.

    As of this November, by her count, Merriott has given money to 70 mothers, including Flora. “We have had 73 babies because we have had three sets of twins that were saved,” she said.

    How much money is enough to convince an expecting mother not to have abortion? According to Merriott, it’s $3,000. The contract that Merriott has with the expecting mothers stipulates that after the expecting mother carries the baby to term, she will receive the funds. The contract is available in its entirety on Save Unborn Life’s website.

    But is it enough?

    Before the question is even finished, Merriott answered: “It has been. For just this purpose – for them to get through that difficult decision whether to end the baby’s life or not. For some people, it’s not enough and they say no. They are not going to accept the contract. That’s not going to do it for them and unfortunately they go on and have an abortion.”

    Most of the women who visit the center are on Medicaid. The center also provides a number of services that help to minimize the costs of the pregnancy. Merriott sometimes helps mothers with groceries and diapers; she and the center refer them to soup kitchens, and the center also helps women obtain items such as donated cribs and baby clothes.

    The cost of caring for a baby is steep, which is why the Women’s Care Center of Erie County also helps women obtain items such as donated clothes.
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    The cost of caring for a baby is steep, which is why the Women’s Care Center of Erie County also helps women obtain items such as donated clothes. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Brenda Newport, who runs the pro-life center in Erie where Flora went looking for an abortion, said the offer of $3,000 is helpful if the money is “the overall motivating factor”.


    “[I]f it’s just some material help and if it’s just ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do for an apartment, I’m going to need a deposit for my first month’s rent,’ well, a few thousand dollars will really help,” Newport told the National Review last year.

    When the Guttmacher Institute, which focuses on sexual and reproductive health research, interviewed more than 1,000 women in 2004 about why they decided to have an abortion, 73% of them said they could not afford a child. A third of the women, who were asked to provide reasons for the decision, said they were students or planning on studies; about 23% couldn’t afford basic needs; 28% said that they couldn’t afford a baby and childcare; a little over one in five (22%) were unemployed; and 21% could not afford to leave their jobs to take care of a baby.

    There is no question that $3,000 is a short-term solution. To raise a child born in 2013 will cost $245,340 over the first 18 years of his or her life, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This includes food, housing, childcare and education.

    When reached for comment, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said: “Planned Parenthood believes strongly that a woman should have access to accurate information about all her options – including safe and legal abortion – presented without stigma or judgment. That information should support her, help her make a decision for herself, and enable her to take care of her health and wellbeing. It should not be provided with the intent of coercing, shaming or judging her.”

    ‘I am going to do the best I can to raise them’
    Was it the money that convinced Flora a year ago?


    “It’s just the things they said, along with the money – it helped,” she said. “It doesn’t help nearly enough. It’s really expensive to raise babies. But as far as them talking to me and counseling and helping me with things I was going through and just being there for me along the way and pushing my spirits up – all that helps.”444444444444444444444444444444444444444

    The money she received from Merriott helped take the pressure off during these early months. Her twins, one boy and one girl, are now three months old.

    Before the twins were born, Flora was already a mom of four. Her oldest two sons have moved out; sometimes their girlfriends stop by to give Flora a hand with the twins. Her mother also helps. They are tight-knit family, yet things are still hard.

    Before she got pregnant, Flora was on disability benefits, taking care of her two youngest children, five and nine years old. She hoped to move out of Erie. Now with the twins at home, that probably will not happen.

    “Most of the time I am here, alone, and it’s a struggle,” she said. “They both cry at the same time. They wake up at the same time. They want to be fed and changed at the same time. It’s very difficult. They have their days and nights mixed up so they are up all night.”

    But more than three months after giving birth, Flora said she does not regret signing Merriott’s contract. Growing up, she said, she used to tell people that she could “never kill a baby”.

    “I don’t care how it happened, no matter if I was raped or whatever, it doesn’t matter, because it’s mine and I would never do that. Until I got put in my own situation and then, you know, I sat and thought: ‘Wow. Now, I see now why people did the things that they did and why they did get rid of their babies in the situation they were in.’ Because I ended up being one of those people, and I have thought about it and wanted to and was so close to going through with it,” she said.

    “But thank God I didn’t because I don’t know what I would do without them. I love them to death. They are so beautiful. They are darling … And even though the father left us – he just left us high and dry with no call and no nothing – I am going to do the best I can to raise them.”

    I don’t care how it happened, no matter if I was raped or whatever … because it’s mine and I would never do that
    ‘More can be saved’
    About a decade before Save Unborn Life took off, Merriott was working at Family Health Services of Erie and Crawford County. She was hired in 1994 as a part-time nurse. She was let go years later, in 1998, after she refused to hand out birth control pills or condoms to single men and women.

    Merriott attempted to sue the clinic to get her job back. In her deposition, she said she had re-examined her Roman Catholic faith and could no longer hand out forms of birth control.

    Her faith has also played a role in setting up Save Unborn Life. “I feel as many as I can save before I meet my maker, that’s what I want to do,” she told the Guardian.

    Her inspiration for the organization? Schindler’s List. The movie focuses on Oskar Schindler, who employed Polish Jews at his factories in order to save them from being sent to concentration camps and used his fortune to bribe Nazi officials to save their lives.

    A still from the film Schindler’s List
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    Merriott cites the film Schindler’s List as her inspiration for the organization Save Unborn Life. Photograph: Snap/Rex Features
    “I’ve watched it many times, and for him to have offered money for the workers – for the Jews that were going to be killed in the concentration camp – money is what it took. And he saved 1,100 of them,” says Merriott.

    If pro-life Americans really wanted to save unborn children, they could easily do so, she added: “And with small amounts of money – in my mind, $3,000 is a small amount of money. If we got many, many big donors we might be able to offer them more, too, and then more can be saved.”

    Until now, most of the money has come from her family, some organizations and a number of small donors, who send monthly contributions.

    “I used much of my retirement money,” said Merriott. “What we are using is excess money that would be inherited. [Our kids] are very happy that we are doing what we are doing.”

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