INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — When David Bereit, founder of 40 Days for Life, spoke at a Right to Life of Indianapolis fundraiser, he shared stories to emphasize how one person can make a difference in the pro-life movement.
He knows such stories from around the world. But one of the greatest examples he said he knows took place in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
In his remarks Sept. 25, Bereit recalled meeting 18-month-old Larelle Thompson two years ago. Through the prayers of the many individuals participating in the spring 40 Days for Life campaign in 2015, he said, Larelle’s mother chose life rather than abort her child at the Planned Parenthood facility in Indianapolis.
Those prayers made a tangible difference, Bereit said.
And so did one other person who also was praying that day while driving an RV.
Her name is Linda Kile.
On Sept. 26, she and a lively Larelle, now 3 and a half, joined Bereit at a 40 Days for Life rally outside the very abortion facility where Larelle’s life nearly came to a horrific end.
Holding the young girl, Kile shared the story of how she and Larelle “came to be such good friends.”
Kile, who is now director of the Great Lakes Gabriel Project, drives “Gabriel,” the pro-life organization’s mobile ultrasound RV used to help women in unexpected pregnancies choose life.
“‘Gabriel’ lives in my driveway,” Kile quipped in an interview with The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. “I was driving it that morning, and this (Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Indianapolis) was our actual destination.”
Kile’s phone also is used as the Gabriel Project hotline. While driving to the abortion facility, the phone rang.
“(Larelle’s) mom called from inside Planned Parenthood at her (abortion) appointment,” she recalled. “She said, ‘I’m not sure I want to do this.’ I said, ‘Just get out of there. I’ll be there in half an hour. Don’t do anything until you talk to me. After you talk to me, if you still want to do something, you can always go back tomorrow.'”
Once inside the RV, Kile and the nurse accompanying her talked with the anxious 42-year-old woman.
“We talked with her about some of the consequences of abortion,” she said. They informed her of the medical risks, the tendency of post-abortive women to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, their tendency to suffer from depression and from an inability to develop and maintain long-term relationships.
They also discussed help available through the Gabriel Project.
“We do whatever we can as far as somebody to talk to,” said Kile. “She had an ultrasound, and she came back several times for more ultrasounds. We like to have them do that as often as they can to develop a relationship with their baby.”
She even set up and took Larelle’s mom to her first doctor appointment, since the pregnant mother did not have a doctor.
“Needless to say, her mommy chose life,” Kile said, looking with a loving smile at the little girl in her arms.
And it truly is love.
“My husband, Greg, and I both fell in love with her at first sight,” said Kile, 56. “We can now call and get her pretty much whenever we want.”
The couple, empty nesters who are members of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, have kept Larelle overnight many times since her birth.
“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for this little girl,” she said. “She’s beautiful, smart and healthy. I love spending time with her. I wanted to take her here (at the 40 Days for Life rally) for David to be able to see her again.”
A 40 Days for Life rally is part of 40-day campaigns of prayer, fasting and peaceful activism regularly held around the U.S. and in many other countries.
Bereit even announced Larelle’s presence at the rally, walking over with a broad smile to give her a hug and a kiss on the head.
“Her dad has told me time and time again, ‘Linda, you saved my daughter’s life,'” said Kile. “I say, ‘I did not. God did. I was just an instrument.'”
Hoefer is a reporter at The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.