By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — “Praise God for every one of you here,” said Linda Rubey, executive director of the Women’s Choice Center at the pro-life facility’s annual banquet. Around 550 people attended the event Sept. 24 at the Waterfront Convention Center.
The theme was “Your voice matters” because those in attendance would hear “many voices of life-honoring stories. You will be moved and inspired,” Rubey explained.
Father Jeremy Freehill, coordinator of Catholic ministries for Augustana College and parochial vicar for St. Pius X Parish, both in Rock Island, Ill., led the opening prayer.
Rubey reported that 840 clients have visited the Women’s Choice Center so far this year, an increase over the same time last year. Since renovating and moving into the former Planned Parenthood building last year, the facility has experienced a 300 percent increase in the number of phone calls regarding abortion. “Before the move we would have one or two clients a month call about abortion. Now it is six or seven calls in a day.”
Some people questioned why the center would be needed after Planned Parenthood closed its Bettendorf clinic. The Women’s Choice Center still has a purpose, to help those who are in an unplanned pregnancy. “Every one of our voices matters. Come for a tour. Help share our story,” Rubey said.
Clinical Director Pam Galanius said via a video recording that the center continues to offer testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (for women) and offers ultrasound testing, counseling and abortion reversal procedures.
The facility’s mobile unit “Grace” is on the road five days a week reaching women who do not have a vehicle. A client advocate and nurse are on board. Rubey said the mobile unit sees about 20% of the center’s clients.
Galanius told the banquet’s attendees about three women who had taken the first of dose of the abortion pill and then turned to the center because they wanted to reverse the procedure and save their babies. All three women were given medications to stop the abortion and all three made it to term with their babies. “We have met all three of them,” she said.
After an abortion, the procedure may be over but the consequences can devastate a woman her whole life, Galanius added. The center offers support, such as counseling for women and men after an abortion and a Bible study called SaveOne. “We are here to help.”
Denise DuPage, client services and volunteer services director, said volunteers are essential to the center. Her goal is to have three front desk workers each day to help clients get the help they need and to provide a welcoming face. The next volunteer training session is Oct. 22.
Volunteers assist clients with paperwork and obtaining proper identification. Other volunteers assist with Chloe’s Closet, which offers items for women who are in the last two months of pregnancy. They may take home 10 baby items from the closet, for a total of 20 items over two months. Items include clothing, diapers, wipes and more.
The closet stocks diapers in sizes from newborn on up and baby clothing in a variety of sizes as well. “Nothing is wasted that is donated.” If something cannot be used, it is given to the Salvation Army.
Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute spoke on how Christians and pro-life advocates can persuasively defend their views. “With abortion, your voice matters.” Pro-life supporters need to be a voice, a pebble in the shoe of those opposed to abortion. Learn how to answer the question of who is the unborn? Why are you valuable? Why it is wrong to intentionally kill? The answer to the questions is that each person — mother and child — is a distinct human being, Klusendorf said.
He asked those in attendance to “step up and make a difference right here in the Quad-Cities. Stand behind Linda and her team.”
Pastor Tim Bowman, founder and senior pastor of Calvary Church in Moline, Ill., closed the event with prayer.
For more information about the Women’s Choice Center visit the website at www.womenschoicecenterorg, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (563) 332-0475