MILLERSTOWN - The speaker of the upcoming Heartbeat Community Services banquet wants parents and counselors to understand:
Christian teens are having sex and considering abortions.
Leslie Moyer is the sexual integrity counselor with Morningstar Pregnancy Services in downtown Harrisburg and will be talking about the realities of teenage sexual activity during the fall banquet. The event begins at 6 p.m. Nov. 10 at Newport Family Life Center. Deadline for tickets is Oct. 31 at a cost of $15 for adults. Teens ages 13 to19 are free.
The banquet benefits the Millerstown Pregnancy Care Center that offers free pregnancy tests and abstinence programs.
Moyer has been with the Harrisburg center since 2005.
While she sees many inner city teenagers with sexually transmitted diseases and facing pregnancy after pregnancy, the reality, she said, is that even "the most upstanding Christian kids" give in to temptation.
How parents and other adults of influence handle the topic of sex is instrumental in preventing some of the teens' decisions, Moyer said.
"One thing I usually tell parents and pregnancy center counselors is to keep the message of sexual integrity in front of our youth as often as possible and in as many unique ways as possible - the whole 'teachable moments' concept. Everyone else in a teen's life is telling them to just use 'safe sex,' i.e. teachers, doctors, the media, including music, and in many cases their own parents. We need to be a beacon of light that gives them life-saving reasons to save this one integral part of themselves for marriage," the counselor said.
It was not that long ago that a Christian couple entered her clinic scared about an unplanned pregnancy. Their story is a common one, she said. They had exclusively dated only one another from freshman year in high school through the first year of college. They remained pure until college and then decided they could not wait. They had plans to one day be married and figured that if they were in love and they were mature nothing else mattered.
The result was a pregnancy. Moyer said the boyfriend believed if they had the abortion God would forgive them.
The girlfriend wanted to appease the boyfriend.
Neither of them wanted to disappoint Christian parents who would no doubt be very upset.
They left the clinic still undecided. Moyer said the clinic tried to contact them again for a follow up. The teens never returned their calls.
Susan Spriggle is the director with Heartbeat Community Services and calls the topic of Moyer's discussion for the banquet "an eye opener."
"We will get an idea what these young people are facing. These are kids who are saying things like 'I didn't know I could get pregnant that way,'" she said.
And adults will learn ways to positively influence the teens to make the choice for abstinence.
Moyer said she and her co-workers never force clients to make a decision. Whether or not to have sex or seek an abortion are decisions that those at Morningstar and Heartbeat cannot control for the teens. They give them the advice, even scripture, and provide them with information about the consequences of all of the above.
In the end, the decision is up to the teenager.
The Nov. 10 banquet celebrates Heartbeat's 27 years of pregnancy and abortion prevention through abstinence education and aiding young mothers with material needs such as clothing, formula and diapers.