By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — “All life has value,” Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith told pro-life supporters during a luncheon and dinner Sept. 28 for the Women’s Choice Center (WCC). The events at the Waterfront Convention Center drew more than 400 people total.
An internal medicine physician, researcher, author and speaker, Dalton-Smith melded Scripture into her talk. “God redeems. He does not condemn,” she said. Prayer is important, but action is still needed. “We need to look at what is broken down so we can see how to rebuild — like in Nehemiah.”
She listed off the names of 18 states whose total population is almost equal to the number of abortions that have occurred in the United States since Roe v. Wade (1973), she said. “Think of what those 61 million lives could have been.” How many could have been teachers, firefighters, police officers, presidents, mayors, Nobel Prize winners, she asked.
Dalton-Smith said the walls in the community are broken down as in Nehemiah but the community can rebuild them. “What is your part in this building process?” she asked.
• Volunteerism. “Nehemiah had a lot of help. He did not do it himself.” The Women’s Choice Center relies on volunteers to help in many different ways from greeting people to stocking Chloe’s Closet.
• The gift of leadership. “Parenting classes (at the Women’s Choice Center) do not teach themselves.” Going into schools and other places to give talks relies on leadership skills.
• Prayer and intercessions. “You need to keep those doors open. We are the body of Christ working together in building together.”
• More churches need to get involved. Churches can make a regular contribution to the Women’s Choice Center or offer discipleship to persons seeking help at the center. “Churches need to raise them up in the faith and to help them flourish.”
She acknowledged the opposition to the pro-life movement but countered with a call to be vocal. “The more you share about the work (of the Women’s Choice Center) by word of mouth it won’t be the best-kept secret.” Let people know about the center’s services such as pregnancy testing, ultrasound, a mobile unit, abortion pill reversal, post-abortion counseling and community resource referrals.
Addressing the issue of funding, Dalton-Smith said supporters should point out that the nonprofit Women’s Choice Center needs money to help fund its mission and services. The center is a good steward of supporters’ money, she added. She encouraged regular and consistent giving. Donations can be sacrificial or generous but make them willingly and cheerfully, she advised.
She told the story of attending a similar event at which teenagers were helping to serve the meal. Afterwards, the teens, many of whom only had allowances and no jobs, pooled $35 that night to donate. They made a pledge to donate $35 every month for a year to the pro-life organization. She shared another story of a group of adults who went out to lunch frequently and decided to fast from one meal a week and donate that money to the local pro-life center each week for a year. She thanked those in attendance for standing up for the unborn.Linda Rubey, executive director of the Women’s Choice Center, told the gathering, “My heart is full.”
She noted that in the 1990s “many of you were there” when Planned Parenthood moved to Bettendorf. The pro-life community rallied unsuccessfully to prevent the facility from locating there. In response, they built a pro-life facility across the street. When Planned Parenthood closed its doors in 2017, “you continued to pray.” She pointed to the “miracle of Happy Joe Drive,” where the Women’s Choice Center is located. But she also advised the gathering to remain vigilant. “Satan’s work continues. Our job is not done.”
For more information about services, how to volunteer or to donate items or other contributions visit womenschoicecenter.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (563) 332-0475