In 1989, Vivian and Steve Koob didn't have a grand vision. They just knew there was an abortion facility in their Dayton neighborhood.
"A group from our church would do sidewalk counseling and hold prayer vigils near that clinic," Vivian tells Citizen. "We just wanted to be a presence near that abortion clinic so we could give those women some guidance and get them away from that place."
The Koobs already were volunteering for a local pregnancy resource center; they soon felt led to open one of their own near the abortion facility.
That was the beginning of Elizabeth's New Life Center [ENLC]. Today, it saves the lives of approximately 2,000 babies a year through its nine locations in southwest Ohio.
The desire to serve near an abortion facility spurred them on again in 2002, when ENLC merged with a pre-existing pregnancy center across the street from Martin Haskell's abortion facility in Dayton. And again in 2011, when they talked the owners of the building across the street from his Sharonville center into moving out and renting to them.
Because quite often, abortion-minded women mistakenly wander into their building instead of his.
Manager Lisa Dethlefs has seen several babies' lives saved from those happy accidents—but one expectant mother in particular stands out in her memory.
"After we disclosed that we were not the abortion clinic, she agreed to be seen by us. After talking with her for some time, she agreed to get an ultrasound, because she had not had one yet," Dethlefs recalls. "She found out she was having twins. She was very upset. Before she left, we invited her back and encouraged her to bring anyone—such as the father of the babies—that would help with the decision-making process."
Within an hour of leaving ENLC, the woman called Dethlefs back to talk some more. The next day she returned with the father. After further counseling and another ultrasound, the woman decided to keep her babies.
"She wound up taking all of our classes," Dethlefs tells Citizen. "Our Love Your Baby classes, our Earn While You Learn classes—actually earning most of her nursery from us. She gave birth to boy/girl twins in July 2014. She's doing quite well and she just got a job and is working full-time."
In addition to their abortion intervention work, Elizabeth's New Life Centers offer full prenatal care along with parenting classes and individual mentoring. They also have job training, marriage and relationship classes. And they use a state grant to conduct abstinence education in public schools.
"We don't want to save a child from being aborted and then stick them in a dysfunctional family," Koob tells Citizen. "We want to strengthen the whole family unit so these women will never have to think about having an abortion again."
For More Information:
To learn more about Elizabeth’s New Life Centers, visit elizabethnewlife.org.