NASHVILLE (BP)—Ongoing attacks on pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life organizations have presented security challenges, but they have not thwarted continuing, faith-based efforts to minister to women in need.
A total of 87 attacks against pro-life entities – including 43 pregnancy centers and 32 churches – have been recorded by the Catholic News Agency since the May 2 leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion signaling the reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision. On June 24, the high court released its final ruling that returned the issue to the states by overturning the 1973 opinion that legalized abortion nationwide
In recent attacks, two pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) in Minnesota and two churches in Kansas were vandalized between July 31 and Aug. 2.
Southern Baptist pro-life leader Elizabeth Graham described herself as “deeply grieved by the unnecessary violence that is taking place against organizations whose main goal is to care for women.”
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“Violence and hostility against such organizations does not foster a sense of care for anyone,” said Graham, vice president of operations and life initiatives for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). “Such actions may actually hinder the ability of women to receive care and thus endanger the life of the mother and the baby.”
The needs of mothers and other clients were foremost on Kailey Cornett’s mind when Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville was attacked in the early hours of June 30. A Molotov cocktail-type device that failed to ignite was thrown through the front window, and the words “Jane’s Revenge” were spray painted on an outside wall.
“[W]hat’s been most important to me through all of this is that our focus remains on being a safe place for the women that we serve,” said Cornett, Hope Clinic’s chief executive officer.
After the vandalism occurred about 1:30 a.m., “it was real important to me that we get the building back into a shape that we could serve the full day of appointments that we had,” she told Baptist Press. “And amazingly enough, we got the window replaced [and graffiti removed], and we were able to serve women by noon.
“For the women that are walking in for those appointments, they’re not thinking about the politics of the issue,” Cornett said. “They’re not thinking about our building. They’re thinking about their circumstance. . . . [A]nd so what I wanted to make sure was that they could rely on us and can continue to rely on us.
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“And I am grateful to say we haven’t had any hindrances” after that morning, she said.
Hope Clinic is one of two recipients of ultrasound machines through the Psalm 139 Project that have been attacked since the leak of the Supreme Court opinion. The Psalm 139 Project is the ERLC’s ministry to help provide ultrasound technology to pregnancy centers and train staff members in its use.
The other Psalm 139 recipient — Agape Pregnancy Resource Center in Des Moines, Iowa – was victimized June 2 in an attack the group Jane’s Revenge took responsibility for. The vandals broke windows and spray painted such messages as “God loves abortions” and “this place is not safe” on the outside walls.
The estimated 2,700 or more PRCs in the United States generally provide pregnancy tests, counseling on options, pregnancy and parenting classes, and material assistance. Many provide ultrasound exams, and some offer other health-care services. Ultrasound technology has proved to be a vital tool for PRCs in their ministry to abortion-minded women. The sonogram images of their unborn children have helped many women choose to give birth.