Jan has been with Vigil for Life for almost 2 months now. Vigil for Life is thrilled to announce her as our first Executive Director. You may have heard from Jan as she is charged with outreach and fills in as a vigil captain. Please welcome Jan Hess!
Below is the official announcement/press release of her hiring:
Vigil for Life of Madison, Pro-Life Wisconsin’s Dane County affiliate, plans to greatly expand the peaceful, prayerful presence in front of Madison’s only abortion center by hiring a new, part-time executive director. “With this executive director in place, we expect to see more prayer volunteers on the sidewalk and, therefore, more women finding alternatives to abortion,” said Gwen Finnegan, Vigil for Life’s Volunteer Director. “This is our way of defunding Planned Parenthood, depriving it of the abortion income, and truly helping women facing crisis pregnancies.”
Since 2011, Vigil for Life has scheduled for peaceful, prayerful volunteers to be present in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility on Orin Road on Madison’s east side. For more than a year, this location has only offered abortions; no other services are provided. Volunteers pray for an end to abortion 30 hours per week. With this new executive director position in place, Vigil for Life has set a goal of expanding the volunteer presence to cover every hour that Planned Parenthood is open.
Peer-reviewed research shows that nearly 80% of women who have had abortions indicated that they were not informed of alternatives to abortion. “Knowing their options other than abortion may very well have led these women away from abortion. Our prayer volunteers are able to offer real alternatives to these women in crisis pregnancies, but we must be present on the sidewalk at the time a woman walks into Planned Parenthood if we want to help her,” explained Finnegan.
The new executive director, Jan Hess, will build Vigil for Life’s network of prayer volunteers by reaching out to pro-lifeand church groups all over southern Wisconsin. Hess brings to the table her professional experience –a master’s degree in Education and 33 years of service in the public school system—and decades of involvement in the pro-lifemovement from fundraising for pregnancy help centers to assisting with retreats for post-abortive women seeking healing.
But, it is Jan Hess’s own brush with abortion that motivates her in this new position. When a prenatal screening revealed that her third child would have spina bifida, Hess and her husband Mike were advised by their doctor and strongly pressured by close friends to have an abortion. Yet, they chose life, and Hess gave birth to a very healthy baby boy with only minor medical issues. Jan Hess said, “Abortion is a choice that is often made when a young mother and father feel that is their only option. As a community and culture, we need to surround these young parents with support and give them alternative choices to abortion if they are unable to care for their child. We need them to hear the message that we are here for them as a community…”
With this new executive director position, Vigil for Life will be sending out that supportive message to more young women and men and defunding Planned Parenthood one lost abortion sale at a time. “The ultimate goal to close the abortion facility here in Madison,” stated Hess.