By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life (SCCL)
Editor’s note. This appeared in the September issue of National Right to Life News. Please use your social media outlets to share with your pro-life family and friends.
Every year since 1974, the South Carolina State Fair has approved a beautiful pro-life exhibit reaching literally hundreds of thousands of Fair-goers. The pro-life display features scientifically accurate medical models of human life before birth. Many people, especially children, express amazement at what they see.
Pro-life volunteers worked long 12-hour days handing out fetal development literature, the iconic baby feet pins, and the 10-week fetal models. They dialoged respectfully with those who disagreed. They encouraged visitors to the booth to sign petitions in support of pro-life legislation that saves babies’ lives.
Between 1974 and 2019, no year was skipped for any reason; the pro-life State Fair booth that changed hearts and minds for 46 consecutive years .
And then the pandemic of 2020 hit like a hurricane.
Instead of a 12-day major event with rides, games, and hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, the South Carolina State Fair this year will be a two-day, drive through only, outdoor event with no rides and no exhibits.
We were crushed by the news. The State Fair is South Carolina Citizens For Life’s biggest project of the year. It’s exciting and fun and the time of year when most of our volunteers pitch in to take three or four hour shifts while enjoying the Fair before or after their shifts. They get passes to enter the Fair, and we cover parking costs.
Was there anything we could do?
Never at a loss for long, SCCL Executive Office Manager Sally Zaleski came up with a plan. Why not use social media to create a virtual pro-life booth that we will broadcast on Facebook during the two-day State Fair and possibly longer.
“Fair officials made the decision to switch gears and take a different approach,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “And so did we.”
Staffed by our volunteers, we will produce an online exhibit that features our medical models showing the stages of human development in the womb. We will provide a link to an on-line petition for pro-life legislation. There will be information on where pro-life President Trump and pro-abortion Joe Biden stand on life issues. Visitors will be directed to our webpage for printable copies. Instead of our decades-old donation jars, participants will be offered an easy way to donate online to South Carolina Citizens for Life.
“SCCL is excited to offer a virtual Fair booth this year,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “Visitors will be able to view our online exhibit on October 20 and 21, the same days that the State Fair will be offering a drive-through.” Additionally, the Facebook broadcasts will be available online for those who cannot view them during the live production.
“The biggest take-away is to remember that although we will be apart, we will be together,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “We are in the pro-life movement. We don’t take a vacation from our work because of a pandemic. We adapt to the ever-changing environment and forge on with our life-saving work.”