On January 23, 1973, the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion in the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.
As we mark the 39th anniversary of that sad decision, many people have been praying and working to give all babies a chance to live. We know that we have to change minds and especially hearts on this issue.
Helping pregnant women
Pro-lifers have also been making efforts to help pregnant women choose life by opening crisis pregnancy centers and helplines. One such effort is a network of Women’s Care Centers, which were started over 25 years ago by Dr. Janet Smith in South Bend, Ind.
This week, Women’s Care Center-Madison (WCCM) is the 18th such facility to open. Last year these care centers served 16,731 women who made 67,820 visits.
All Women’s Care Center are located close to an abortion facility. The new WCCM is housed in a building right across the street from the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic located at 3706 Orin Rd. on Madison’s east side.
A welcoming place
I got a “sneak preview” of the Women’s Care Center last week. Volunteers were still putting the finishing touches on the center, which opened on January 17.
What a wonderful, welcoming place! Entering the Women’s Care Center-Madison is like visiting a friend’s home. It is a warm, inviting place with lots of windows and comfortable furniture. The waiting room — set up much like a living room — has comfy chairs for both adults and children. There is a big bin full of children’s books.
The dedicated volunteers who started the Women’s Care Center-Madison hope pregnant women coming to Planned Parenthood will see their sign and make a life-changing detour. Hopefully it will give these women a chance to choose life for their unborn baby.
Ann Manion, national director of Women’s Care Center, says the goal of these centers is to “save babies and empower moms.” She said that 97 percent of the women who come to Women’s Care Centers decide to choose life for their babies.
One reason is that women are given a free ultrasound test, which allows women to see and hear their unborn baby. They realize this is a real person inside of them, a child whom they can love already.
The Women’s Care Centers don’t stop with the birth of the baby. They empower women to be good parents by offering classes in infant and child care and independent living skills. By taking classes, clients earn coupons they can then use to purchase items in the center’s “Crib Club.”
The Crib Club — already well stocked at the WCCM — offers everything needed for babies and young children, from diapers to cribs to clothing to toys and books.
Care Center needs our help
Parishes, organizations, and individuals are invited to contribute items to the Crib Club. For example, St. John the Baptist Parish in Waunakee and St. Mary Parish in Westport held an Epiphany Baby Shower for Jesus for the Crib Club. I encourage other parishes to follow their example. Wouldn’t a baby shower be nice for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day?
The Women’s Care Center-Madison had a successful capital campaign to renovate the building, but it needs more financial help to move forward with its operating budget. Donations may be sent to: Women’s Care Center-Madison, P.O. Box 10, Cross Plains, WI 35328.
Helping the WCCM is just one way to change hearts and help build a culture of life in our nation.