Pregnancy care centers on alert following attacks and vandalism | Baptist life

MADISON, Wis. (BP) – Tensions heightened following a leaked Supreme Court document indicating the possible overturning of the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade preceded attacks across the country on pro-life churches and pregnancy care centers, leaving like-minded groups on high alert while maintaining their positions on the sanctity of life.

“Our mission has not changed,” Sara Patterson, executive director of Care Net-Madison (Wis.), told The Baptist Press on May 5, three days before Wisconsin Family Action headquarters was set on fire during a an attack that including attempted use of a Molotov cocktail. In addition to the fire, messages scrawled on his building included: “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you.

Patterson’s comments came in response to a question about pro-abortion protests in response to the leaked SCOTUS document. They now also deal with acts of violence, as the offices of Wisconsin Family Action are one mile from Care Net.

The proximity prompted Care Net, where several Southern Baptists volunteer, to ask for more security.

“We are doing well so far, but are asking the police to patrol more,” Patterson told BP in an email May 8. “Please Pray!”

In Fort Collins, Colorado on May 7, a Catholic church suffered its second episode of vandalism in recent months in what authorities called “a bias-motivated crime.” Local television reports confirmed the message “My body my choice” was painted on the entrance doors of the church. Windows were smashed and statues on the property defaced.

That same day, the executive director of The Loreto House, a pregnancy resource center in Denton, Texas, arrived at work and found “Not a Clinic” on its main sign and front door and “Forced birth is murder” spray painted next to the front door.

The upcoming SCOTUS ruling, if indeed reflected in the leaked document, redirects abortion regulatory power to the states. Current legislation provides that 26 states, including Wisconsin, effectively ban abortion if it occurs. Illinois would be on a different side, literally surrounded by first-tier states.

“The impact is and will be significant for pro-life pregnancy clinics in Illinois as neighboring states ban abortion,” said Doug Devore, acting executive director of Illinois Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Services (BCHFS). ). “In the state of [Illinois], we have already started to see it through pro-abortion legislation (Reproductive Health Act 2019). Additionally, bills such as HB4221 are created to discredit Illinois pro-life pregnancy centers.

The BCHFS clinic in Camri opened in December 2020 and is in a rural upstate area, less than an hour from one of the largest abortion clinics in Illinois and less than 60 miles from three other states. The challenges come not only from fighting against the image of “women’s health” promoted by abortion clinics, but also from women who pursue medical abortions thanks to the morning after pill.

The BCHFS has been operational since 1979.

“We welcome the opportunity to share the services we provide through our ministry,” Devore said. “We not only care about the unborn child, but also about the mother and the whole family.

“We want to share the truth about the choices women and men face during an unexpected pregnancy. We offer pregnancy testing, STD testing and treatment, labor and delivery classes, limited ultrasounds, parent training, and post-abortion support services.

Programs to support mothers and fathers beyond the birth of a child are a mainstay of these clinics. In addition to prenatal care and counseling, Care Net offers educational classes, a paternity program, and a maternity home where women can stay for free and pursue goals such as a college education.

“We want them to be the best mothers possible,” Patterson said. “We work with dads to help them learn how they can best support their partner. … Dad support is very important and we have men working directly with them.

Devore told BP that BCHFS has not received any threats but will continue to follow security policies and procedures already in place. These include keeping doors locked and not seeing customers if only one member of staff is present, a security system with cameras and alarms, and reporting any threatening or suspicious behavior to local police.

“That would include protesters, threatening phone calls or any violence,” Devore said.

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