CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
Women’s Care Center employs a secular business model with a Catholic heart, Board Chairman Tom Linn explained.
The 16 dedicated staff members pump the lifeblood of counseling and care into the two Milwaukee locations, which are equipped with state-of-the-art, medical-grade ultrasound technology, generously donated by the Knights of Columbus, and buzzing with child development classes and new moms seeking support from attentive counselors.
The vision of the nationwide organization encompasses more than building a national brand; Women’s Care Center aims to open centers next to every abortion clinic in America, including the new Planned Parenthood on Water Street in downtown Milwaukee.
From an operational perspective, “The attractiveness of the Women’s Care Center is its efficiency,” said Linn. Nationally, costs per abortion-oriented mother to choose to save her baby is around $700.
But lives — in the womb, at the border or on the street — are not saved by number crunching in board meetings.
Lives are transformed when people extend care and support to vulnerable persons.
A woman in a crisis pregnancy needs to be listened to, not lectured. When she is received and accompanied, she is empowered to choose life. This is how Women’s Care Center serves.
Listening and education are tenets of both the Women’s Care Center and broadly the pro-life cause. Personal encounters change laws in a democracy; winning over the majority happens by changing one mind and one heart at a time, Linn said.
“In this time of national confusion and cultural confusion, it is nice to shed light really on the Gospel message of life, love, and hope,” Cheryl Laird, the Women’s Care Center executive director said.
“This is what we do every day at Women’s Care Center: we dignify life, just one woman at a time, just one baby at a time, and we are really about spreading the Gospel message in a positive non-political way, with truth and goodness.”
As a parent educator, Irene McKnight has seen the life-changing impact of Women’s Care Center in her four years as a counselor.
“I enjoy waking up every day to go to work, because I enjoy seeing lives transformed,” she said.
Honored for their heroic work serving vulnerable women, the Women’s Care Center Foundation received the Evangelium Vitae Award in April from the University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, presented by center director and law professor O. Carter Snead.
On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Snead traveled to Milwaukee for an evening of “Education and Celebration,” underwritten by an anonymous board member and hosted by the Milwaukee Women’s Care Center to celebrate their benefactors and accomplishments.
Since opening their doors in southeastern Wisconsin, more than 11,000 children, more than the population of Grafton, Linn noted, are alive due to the diligence and devotion of Women’s Care Center.
Around 300 people gathered for Tuesday evening at the Westin in downtown Milwaukee to celebrate this, including staff, friends, family, priests, pastors and the All Saints Gospel Choir. Fr. Tim Kitzke gave the benediction and introduced Snead’s talk, “The True, the Good, the Beautiful: Why the Pro-Life Movement Shall Prevail.”
After thanking Women’s Care Center for their inspiring witness providing an “indispensable service to the culture of life,” Snead said the core guiding principles of the culture of life movement is love of neighbor and radical hospitality — two pillars of Women’s Care Center.
Regarding the law, its most basic purpose is to provide for the protection and flourishing of persons, and the pro-life position provides a specific answer to the question of inclusion, Snead said.
“Who counts? What and for whom is the law for?” he asked.
Natural law, science and sociology, not to mention the Christian faith, all answer, every human person. With that, the pro-life message is ultimately one of inclusion.
You matter, no matter who you are or what your abilities may be.
The pro-life movement will prevail, Snead explained, because the foundation of its claims that all persons are members of the human family — regardless of size, sex, race or cognitive ability — and thus deserve equal protection under the law “are universally embraced axioms and scientific principles.”
Line drawing excluding certain persons is arbitrary, contrary to biology and an unjust imposition of the strong overpowering the weak. Utter dependence in the womb is a “summons for utter protection,” he said.
“The best news here is that the pro-life conception of human identity and human flourishing is more true and more good and more beautiful than any other alternative that society may offer … at the end of the day, we will prevail in changing the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters.”
It is a matter of changing one heart, one mind at a time.
By accompanying those who suffer and loving people into conversion, pro-lifers can stimulate the moral imagination of well-intentioned individuals who fail to see the person in an unknown, disguised, or unborn other, and inspire people to uphold the dignity of every person, in or out of the womb.
The work of Women’s Care Center is a daily testament to this.