Cleveland Life Link: Establishes Light in Darkness While Sending A Wake-Up Call to the Church
by Patricia Mitchell

The day after the Promise Keepers knelt in the nation’s capital and prayed, a prayer vigilant was held in Cleveland on October 5th.   A single row of participants lined the streets for several city blocks on Shaker Blvd between Shaker Square and 121st.  Creating a “Life Chain,” men, women, and children stood silently on the west side of the street and held a variety of posters.  Some read, “Abortion Kills Children,” “Lord Forgive Us and Our Nation,” “Jesus Forgives and Heals,” and “Adoption: Loving Option.” On the back of  the signs there were specific prayers and hymns to focus on during the one hour stand.  In contrast, directly across the street, approximately 40 pro-choice supports chanted, “Pro-Life is a lie - you don’t care if women die!!” As the pro-choice supporters chanted, the pro-life supporters silently prayed. 
 
Tom Raddell is the Director of Greater Cleveland’s Life Link and Activities Director for the Cleveland Right to Life.  Pointing to three buildings within the same city block on Shaker Blvd., Raddell says, “This is one of the darkest places in Ohio because innocent children are killed here. Like Abel,  the blood of these children cries out to God daily. We encouraged people to be the voice for the children who can not speak for themselves.” 
 
 Explaining his passion, Mr. Raddell takes a hard line. Repeating a statement he once heard, he stated, "Someone should put above every abortion clinic ‘Open by Permission of the Church.’  We are reaping 
what we are allowing. This is a sin of omission.  The spirit of death is savaging our nation.” In a soft spoken tone, he states, “My heart is not to condemn the church, but to call the church forward to repentance and activity.  According to Proverbs 16:6, by mercy and truth iniquity is purged. It is a travesty that every week thousands of children die and every week thousands of pulpits are silent about the issue.” 
 
Mr. Raddell believes, “Pro-Life is not a political, education or government issue.  It is a spiritual issue.  We need to be honest with ourselves.  We need to start with a broken heart before God.”  With a wake-up call, he declares, “As Christians, we are ordained by God to deal with the spiritual problems. As Christians, we have authority over this enemy.  God is looking for a people who will stand in the gap and be a voice for the children.” 
 
Ron Czaplicki, previous President of the Cleveland Right to Life, discussed statistical facts. “Since the Roe vs. Wade court decision 25 years ago more than 37 million children have been aborted.” Czaplicki says that “convenient-motivated” lifestyles and attitudes perpetuated the impact of abortion in this nation. He noted, “One out of four conceived children are aborted and here in America, we abort 4,000 children a day. "We lost our respect for life.” 
 
“I once read a comic strip where someone asked God to take a look at the cancer,  aids, and different ailments in the world,” explained Sister Anne, a participant in the Life-Link line. She continued, “The 
comic character complained, ‘Why don’t you send someone to fix this? God answered, “I did, but you aborted them.” 
 
Mr. Raddell believes that women do not have abortions because they want to, but because they feel trapped and they need to escape. Using the concept of a triage (military hospital) in the middle of a  battlefield, 
Raddell established a woman’s pregnancy service. In the midst of the three abortion clinics on Shaker Blvd, Raddell spearheaded a center, the Women Pregnancy Services, in April 1997.  “We know that light 
cast out darkness and we knew that we needed to be here,” Raddell explains. “The clinic offers free pregnancy testing, counseling and referrals to other support agencies. The center also offers post-abortion counseling.” Raddell contends, “Before the age of 20 years old, 2 out of 10 young women have an abortion. Abortion not only kills a child, it hurts and can kill a woman spiritually.” 
 
Betty Turnage, a side-walk counselor and mother of three children pointed across the street at the Preterm Clinic where she had an abortion 15 years ago. She clarified, “It was located on Carnegie at the time, but it is still the same organization.”  Betty realizes, “Often, the women are too selfish to think about the baby. A lot of women think that it is a quick fix, but that never happens. You think that you are un-pregnant, but you actually are the mother of a dead child.”   
 
With compassion during sidewalk counseling she explains, “I tell them the effects of abortion, fetal development and I share the gospel.  A lot of people do not realize that it is a sin because they had not been 
taught.”  Speaking about her own experience with her first pregnancy, Betty said,  “I was basically told that it was a ball of tissue.  I was under three months pregnant.  I believed them because they were doctors.”   
 
After seeing a jar of body parts that was left in her abortion room, Betty says, “I kept looking at it and kept saying to myself that I only had a ball of tissue.  But what I was seeing was not what I had heard. It never left my mind.”  After going through a grieving process, Betty started picketing in 1989 and sidewalk counseling in 1991. “I came and began to do this for the Lord.  The Lord has a done  a work in my heart.  He has helped me to grow and learn.”     
 
 “In everything we do,  we try to do it in a scriptural capacity,” Raddell says. “We are in the darkest part of the city, but Jesus came to give life and to give it more abundantly.  As the light of Christ with compassion and hope, we are here to offer help and to offer a better way.” 
 
 
 
For further information and up coming events, please may call Greater Cleveland Life Link at (216) 
999-9500.           
 
The Women’s Pregnancy Services can be reached at (216) 991-9377 and it is located at 11750 Shaker 
Blvd. suite #202 in Cleveland, Ohio.