As an organization dedicated to rescuing the lives of preborn children, Human Coalition is frequently accused of caring only about the child and not the mother. One only has to spend a day with Lori Szala and her team to know this argument holds no merit.
It’s been 17 years since Lori first started working as a bookkeeper at a small life-affirming pregnancy center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since then, God has molded her heart and expanded her skill set to prepare her to answer His call to head up Human Coalition’s seven women’s care clinics.
[bctt tweet=”Lori Szala, once a single mom herself, understands the struggles women face.” username=”HumanCoalition”]
As National Director of Client Services and part of Human Coalition’s Leadership Team, Lori brings a high level of passion and compassion to our women’s care clinics. Once a single mom herself, she understands the struggles women face when deciding between abortion and LIFE.
“We see that woman in the midst of a life-or-death decision. When she walks through our door, we know why God brought her to us. So whether it’s in the counseling room or the ultrasound room, we are dealing with that life-or-death decision.”
Our women’s care clinics are equipped with a welcoming waiting room, an intimate counseling room, and a medical ultrasound machine – all designed to help educate women about their life-affirming options. But Lori still felt something was missing.
“We needed to go a step further to help women. So at each of our women’s care clinics, we hired a Continuum of Care Coordinator to help identify best-in-class social services and build a database of resources we could have at our fingertips.”
Most women visiting Human Coalition’s women’s care clinics are already experiencing a stressful situation, and an unexpected pregnancy only adds to their anxiety. “Our goal is to remove the challenges that could prevent a woman from choosing life. So while we’re counseling her, we introduce her to our Continuum of Care Coordinator who offers help for her struggles – everything from transportation to a food bank, to education, to daycare. That help provides light in her darkness.”
[bctt tweet=”Our goal is to remove the challenges that prevent a woman from choosing life.” username=”HumanCoaltion”]
For Lori and her team, being pro-life is so much more than rescuing the lives of children. “At that initial appointment, it is about saving the baby. But our long-term goal is to walk alongside the mother.” She explains that this begins by building a relationship. “We have to get her to trust us, and then we have to educate her on how we can help her.”
When a women enters our COC program, there is a 61% higher chance of her choosing life.
This is due in no small part to Lori’s leadership.
“Many of the women I have encountered believe they have no choice but to abort: Many tell me they would rather give birth, but they believe the complex, difficult circumstances of their lives – like joblessness, substance abuse, criminal records or homelessness – leave them with no real way to raise a new child,” Lori wrote in “The Problem With Linking Abortion and Economics” (a New York Times op-ed piece posted May 9, 2017).
“There are better solutions; they just require more creativity and more effort. Organizations like mine can help women find jobs, enter substance abuse treatment programs, regain their children from foster care, find housing, pay utility bills and sign up for government benefits.”
When asked to recall a particular story that has personally impacted her, Lori shares the story of a woman who was living in her car when she learned she was pregnant. “She was really struggling and abortion determined. So we developed a tailor-made care plan to address her most pressing need, which was housing.” Within a few weeks, the mother had an apartment, and different donors had furnished each room for her. Once she had a home, she was stable enough to choose life. “From there we partnered her with a mentor and a church, and today she is thriving!”
And that is the purpose of the Continuum of Care program… to provide for a woman’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so she can choose life; and then ultimately connect her with a church where she can thrive as a parent.
Lori admits not every story turns out perfectly. “It can make you weary,” she explains. “But it helps to know that people are praying for our staff and their families.” When asked how we can continue praying for her, Lori replies, “Please pray that we would all stay strong physically, and that God would restore us emotionally as we battle the enemy over life and death.”
Can we count on you to pray for Lori and her team? Please share this article so that even more prayers will be lifted up on her behalf.