A grassroots campaign to turn a vacant building near a flourishing Planned Parenthood abortion clinic into a crisis pregnancy center has just days left to raise the money needed. The campaign exploded to life in mid-February, and organizers have collected $188,000 in donations and pledges in less than a month.
"The momentum behind this is astounding," said fundraising coordinator Angele St. Hilaire. "And for the most part, it hasn't been the wealthy and the well-connected who are making it happen. Our donors have been primarily working class people who have the passion and fire enough to donate what they can scarcely afford to give."
The building is located in such a way that every Planned Parenthood client and clinic worker going by the main route will drive by it mere moments before arriving at their destination. Being close in proximity to the largest abortion provider in southeastern Washington is key to being able to meet women and connect them with services, said St. Hilaire. "Women who seek care from Planned Parenthood are more likely to stop in at an options facility virtually next door than seek out services at another location miles away."
Organizers see the location as one of the keys to success in reaching out not only to women in crisis pregnancy situations but also the clinic workers themselves. Former abortion clinic director-turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson has credited her conversion in part to the close proximity of a crisis pregnancy center where pro-lifers continually reached out to her. While there is a crisis pregnancy center in Kennewick already, it is three miles from the abortion clinic.
"When a crisis pregnancy center opens near an abortion clinic, many clinics see such a dramatic change in their business that they have to close, or limit services," said organizer Shira Wise. "When women have options close by, they will stop in, talk, get support... and we can help them to choose life for their babies."
Another unique aspect of the project is that Wise's organization, Three Rivers Fertility Care, is planning to offer natural family planning and morally licit fertility care services at the location. Wise and her team of Creighton Model System (CrMS) practitioners teach women and couples to understand their natural fertility cycles, enabling them to plan pregnancies in a morally sound way. CrMS is also used to treat infertility and women's underlying health issues, and Wise's organization partners with a network of pro-life physicians trained in the system.
"That's what makes this opportunity so unique and exciting," St. Hilaire said. "CrMS is the ultimate antidote to the culture of death. Its principles of openness to life, responsible parenthood, respect for women, and understanding of the meaning, purpose, and value of sex are precisely what all women need to hear. It is the exact opposite of the 'services' so often pushed on women in crisis pregnancy situations."
Organizers have received a pledge of an ultrasound machine, and local nurses and doctors have volunteered to run it. They have just days, however, to secure the other half of the funding needed to make the vision a reality. The building goes up for auction on March 11th, and organizers need about $167,000 more to reach their goal.
To make a donation to the Kennewick Pregnancy Options Clinic, go here.