Created on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 Written by MANDY LOEHR
A retired college and professional quarterback who is used to facing formidable foes on the football field spoke at Tuesday evening’s Sanctity of Human Life Banquet at the Bellefontaine First Church of God about facing down another massive opponent — the threat of abortion on human lives.
FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Former Ohio State University quarterback Stanley Jackson speaks at Tuesday evening’s Sanctity of Life Banquet on the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion. ABOVE: Photos of clients from the Hi Point Women’s Center were displayed as part of table centerpieces. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR)
Stanley Jackson, starting quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes during 1996-1997, shared his story about how abortion has affected his life during the event hosted on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.
Since that time, about 55 million abortions have been performed in the country, according to recent statistics.
The banquet was hosted by the Hi Point Women’s Center, a life-affirming, non-profit organization in Logan County that provides practical assistance to women facing an unplanned pregnancy or the threat of an abortion.
A native of Paterson, N.J., Mr. Jackson said he grew up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, and his parents faced issues with alcohol and drugs. Before Mr. Jackson’s birth, his parents decided to have an abortion while dealing with a pregnancy as teenagers.
Several decades later when the speaker was playing football at OSU, he found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. The couple decided to terminate the pregnancy with an abortion.
“That fatal day, I wrote a $300 check to kill a baby,” Mr. Jackson said. “I wish people would have told me, ‘Stanley, stand up and be a man.’ I needed a man in my life to tell me to be a man.
“Instead, people told me, ‘If you have a baby, it will ruin your career.’ ”
At first, the Marion area resident said he didn’t feel the full effects of this decision. He went on to be a part of the OSU team that won the 1997 Rose Bowl, and then spent several years playing in the Canadian Football League and Continental Indoor Football League.
However, he eventually married his former girlfriend, Ronita, and both of them have struggled to deal with the abortion in recent years. The pair think about the idea that they could have another child to add to their family of three boys and a girl.
“Fast forward a few years, and having the abortion affected me a lot. I have absolutely stolen from my family, my community, my children.
“My wife doesn’t like to talk about it because it is painful. I want to talk about it, because I don’t want other people to have to go through that.”
Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy is difficult, but Mr. Jackson encouraged other men facing similar issues to take a stand and be supportive of their wives and girlfriends.
“We have an epidemic of absentee dads,” he said. “They think it’s OK to walk away. But when you become a man, you need to put childish things behind you. We need to stand behind the women in our lives.”
In concluding his talk, the speaker encouraged area residents to work alongside the Hi Point Women’s Center by making financial donations to the organization and providing volunteer assistance.
“We have a big fight in front of us. You’re going to have the opportunity to get in the game, get involved.
“Stretch yourself. It’s ministries like these that are having a great impact on abortions in Ohio. Don’t expect Michigan to do it,” he said with a grin.
“But in all seriousness, this is an issue that involves life and death. You can start in Bellefontaine. You can be the shining light on the hill.”
Also during the event, HPWC Executive Director April Staton introduced another special guest speaker, area resident Trina Kopus, who shared her personal story about how the center helped her at a pivotal time in her life.
About 18 years ago, Mrs. Kopus was a college student in Lima, and stopped at Planned Parenthood to simply take a pregnancy test.
“I was treated like I was a number there. I was surprised about how little information there was about my options.”
Still experiencing symptoms of a possible pregnancy, she went to the Hi Point Women’s Center in Bellefontaine to take another test and receive counsel.
“I felt welcomed and not judged. I felt like I was important.
“I found out that I was pregnant and they let me just sit for awhile to talk about it. While I wasn’t abortion-minded, I felt like if I would have been, they would have been willing to talk with me about it.”
Mrs. Kopus related the impact that the staff members at the women’s center had on her life, and also encouraged area residents to consider supporting the organization in any way that they can.
“I hope to help promote the women’s center. If they had this impact on me and I was there once, imagine all of the women who they’ve had an impact on.
“Young women out there need the women’s center, and the women’s center needs our help.”
The Hi Point Women’s Center has been operating out of the First Friends Church, 808 W. Columbus Ave., after sustaining severe storm damage during the summer to its regular 110 N. Detroit St. office.
Some of the programs offered by the organization include free pregnancy tests, educational opportunities, peer mentoring and the opportunities to earn “baby bucks” to purchase donated children’s clothing, diapers, wipes, food, baby furniture, strollers, etc.
Opportunities to offer ultrasounds to clients also will be available in the near future, Mrs. Staton said.
Donations can be mailed to Hi Point Women’s Center, P.O. Box 487, Bellefontaine, 43311.