By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF — More than 100 people gathered Jan. 22 in Bettendorf to mark the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decisions that permitted abortion virtually on demand.
Jeff Scarpinato of the Life and Family Coalition board, which oversees the Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf, described Jan. 22 as an infamous date. “We have been out fighting since that time. As Catholics we understand how important it is to call upon Our Lady.”
Deacon Patrick Murphy of Sacred Heart Parish in Moline, Ill., started the rosary inside the Women’s Choice Center. A different youth led each decade of the rosary and Deacon Murphy concluded it.
Participants then walked up the drive to Heritage Church where they joined others for a program that included praise and worship music, dance and prayers by members of Good News Center in Davenport.
Lynelle Stahlhut, president of the Life and Family Coalition Board, told the audience it was good to have them there, but it was a somber night. She talked about the millions of lives that have been lost due to abortion across the United States since 1973. “There are millions of mothers and fathers affected by these abortions, too.”
Stahlhut told the group of her decision to have an abortion 29 years ago and the “darkness and guilt” that followed for years. “I was there.” She told of how she sought healing and comfort through Jesus. “There are many women who still live in that darkness.” The Women’s Choice Center helps those who have gone through an abortion as well as those contemplating abortion. “There is hope,” she said.
Following dance, music and prayers, the executive director of the Women’s Choice Center spoke. “God calls us to stand up and believe. This generation will work for an end to abortion in Jesus’ name,” Vicki Tyler said in reference to the number of junior high, high school and college-age youths in attendance.
Tyler also acknowledged the staff and volunteers from Crisis Pregnancy Center who were in attendance and also work with women in crisis pregnancies.
“We want to love women to life who come.” Tyler noted that since January 2009, 71 documented saves have occurred through the efforts of volunteers and staff at Women’s Choice Center. Many more, undocumented saves may have occurred as well, she said.
After her talk, participants bundled up, received flashlights that resembled candles and processed quietly down the drive to the sidewalk and street in front of Planned Parenthood Quad Cities Center in Bettendorf. There people prayed in silence, then returned to the Women’s Choice Center for refreshments.