By Alicia Martin
On Saturday, October 1, West Virginians for Life (WVFL) held their annual State Convention in in Fairmont. Keynote speaker Olivia Gans Turner provided the attendees with time-proven techniques for communicating pro-life truths. Her instructions built a foundation from which listeners could more effectively minister to both the obvious and the less-recognized victims of abortion in our culture.
Dr. Byron Calhoun, using a professional’s medical perspective, masterfully showed how to dispel many of the myths surrounding abortion. State Delegate Riley Keaton then took the stage alongside WVFL Legislative Director Sadie Shields, and together they addressed pro-life action points within the state’s upcoming regular session. Keaton and Shields also oversaw the Teens for Life workshops, some of which ran concurrently with the main convention.
After lunch, Turner was joined by Dr. Wanda Franz, WVFL President. They presented glaring evidence which illustrated the physical, emotional, medical, and financial damage that has been caused to women and children by abortion over the decades. Many of these suppressed statistics were summarized in a handout entitled “Risks After Abortion,” which is available for download under Resources\Publications on the WVFL website.
Missy Ciccarello closed out the day’s presentations with an encouraging testimony. The inspiring story of a baby adopted rather than aborted was featured on page 1 of the Fall Issue of Life Matters, the WVFL Newspaper.
Minutes after Ciccarello left the stage she was asked to return – because she had been chosen to receive the organization’s Angel of the Year Award. Last year, Ciccarello had spearheaded the God’s Battlefield project, which culminated in the purchase of a property across from West Virginia’s only remaining abortion facility. With the facility’s doors now closed, God’s Battlefield is slated to display a memorial for the babies.
The day’s events closed with a surprise Life Time Achievement Award for Mary Anne Buchanan. Buchanan has faithfully served WVFL in multiple capacities across several decades – a reality that was well-captured in a slideshow and commemorated in a beautifully-made shadowbox.