Pregnancy care centers on alert over attacks, vandalism • Bible Recorder

Wisconsin Family Action Facebook Photo

Tensions heightened following leaked Supreme Court document indicating possible reversal of court’s 1973 ruling Roe vs. Wade The ruling 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 Hasn’t Changed,” Care Net-Madison (Wis.) CEO Sara Patterson Baptist Press (BP) said on May 5, three days before Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) headquarters were set on fire in an attack that included the 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. Now they also deal with acts of violence, as the WFA offices are a mile from those of 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 that the message “My body, my choice” had been painted on the front doors of the church. Windows were smashed and statues on the property were defaced.

That same day, the executive director of The Loreto House, a pregnancy resource center in Denton, Texas, arrived at work to find “Not a Clinic” on its main sign and front door and “The 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, sexually transmitted infection 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 with them directly.

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.

Daniel Degnerdirector of the Wisconsin Family Council’s Church Ambassador Network, thanked the state executive Leo Endel and the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention for their support.

“The weekend’s headlines made it clear that many pro-life churches and ministries across the country, as well as conservative Supreme Court justices, have been targeted by pro-abortion activists,” Degner wrote in a May 9 email shared with BP. with his permission.

A fire that broke out in the office of WFC Executive Director Julaine Appling left damage from flames, smoke and water. Appling is set to appear on Tucker Carlson Tonight tonight, Denger added.

There are many ways Southern Baptists can pray for his group and others, Denger shared with Endel. The praise should include that no one in the office was injured, the fire was spotted and brought under control quickly, and the neighbors who shared their office building suffered no loss. Prayer requests include wisdom for personnel, success for law enforcement during the investigation, and for those who committed the crime to be brought to repentance and salvation. Provided in bold, the email read: “Pray that God is happy to take what was meant for evil and use it for good.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Scott Barkley is National Correspondent for Baptist Press.)

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