It’s hard to stop thinking about Robin Williams. When you cruise YouTube, you find his stand-up, one-liners from The Dead Poets Society, and dance moves from Mrs. Doubtfire. He really raised the bar on vacuuming in tights and a dress. Then I clicked on an old commercial he did as a public service announcement about depression and suicide. It only had a few thousand views, but it struck me. Williams looked straight into the camera and said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
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This week we interviewed Becky Anderson of Verity Pregnancy Center. Becky and her staff meet girls every day who are on the brink of making permanent decisions. They counsel them by telling them the truth. It’s not a clump of cells. It’s a life. It’s not just the hardest decision they’ll ever make, it’s a decision that will change the course of their life, no matter what they choose. It’s not a “problem”, it’s a gift. If we believe in God, then we’re supposed to believe that all life is a gift (even if your Gift is screaming and throwing a tantrum in the line at Publix).
Family, friends and fans mourned the death of Robin Williams. Suicide leaves a wake of untold consequences. You can’t measure the pain because it doesn’t come from a place of loss. It comes from a place of what might have been. When women in their 70’s or 80’s confess an abortion that’s 4 or 5 decades old, they never talk about the guilt they feel for taking a life. They mourn the] fact that “my daughter would be 50 years old today”, or “my son would probably have kids of his own by now.”
When young women reach for a permanent solution, they’re doing so out of fear. Becky and Verity’s job is to get them to look at the bigger picture of their lives and make a decision that won’t haunt them for the next 50 years.
Their job is to inject just a small amount of faith into them because with that, fear can be overcome. Too many young women view an unplanned pregnancy as a temporary problem. As a parish, we are supporting Verity because they’re working to change that stigma one person at a time.
We sat down and asked Becky a few questions, and she gave us a few answers. Keep reading and help support their upcoming golf tournament…
Damian: Tell me what you guys do here, specifically?
Becky Anderson: Verity Pregnancy Center is what some would call years ago, ‘A Crisis Pregnancy Center’– where young women come looking for answers to the unplanned pregnancy they are facing. Many have not made the decision as to whether they want to keep the baby, adopt it out or choose abortion.
DH: So it’s not called a ‘Crisis Pregnancy Center?’ What’s it called?
BA: ‘A Pregnancy Help Center’ or ‘Pregnancy Medical Center.’
DH: Why get away from that term?
BA: Women may have equated the term ‘Crisis’ with a life affirming center. We don’t care what we call ourselves, as long as a woman makes a choice to come to our center before she would ever go to an abortion center.
DH: What do you do differently than other places?
BA: We converted to a medical model. We have a nurse on staff who does ultrasounds on a pregnant woman who is early in her pregnancy. It allows us to verify there is a viable pregnancy. We also provide the pregnancy testing that is done before that. We do a lot of education that goes along with helping a woman to continue a healthy pregnancy for the long term. We provide everything from childbirth classes to answering a mother’s common questions.
DH: What do you say to woman that ultimately ‘changes her mind’ about pregnancy?
BA: Our society says that women have choices. The problem is, women who are looking toward abortion feel they don’t have a choice. For example, there’s the one mother who has a one year-old…the boyfriend just left, she lost her job and feels she doesn’t know how she is going to feed another mouth. They feel they have no choice. What we provide is truth. Truth of what they’re facing. Truth that there is a consequence of each choice they face. We provide them with information. And last, Finally, we provide them hope.
DH: You deal with a lot of heavy situations. What is that like from day to day?
BA: It depends on how prayed-up we are. We begin every morning, as a staff, with prayer because we can’t do this on our own. Even in those circumstances, we leave for the day absolutely exhausted. The reason why we are ready for the next day is because we know we made a difference – not just for the life of the mother who has hope, but the life of a baby who now gets to live.
DH: What is something our parishioners can do help out the cause?
BA: Prayer. Pray that women find us before they find the abortion clinic. Second, get involved with voting. There are tons of laws that are protecting the unborn. Volunteer. We started a Fatherhood Ministry here. It gives dads a connection point. We’re going to be offering “dad” classes. It allows dads to talk with seasoned dads about what it means to be a good dad. They can also help with material assistance. We give out a ton of diapers and clothes—that’s one of the ways we provide hope to our clients. You can also help out with fundraising events.
Verity Pregnancy Center Fundraiser. September 22nd at Pelican Preserve.
‘A Day of Golf’ For More Information: 239-433-1929
If you or someone you know is in an UNPLANNED PREGNANCY and you don’t know what to do, you are not alone. Verity is here to help. Whether you are in need of a pregnancy test, information regarding your choices, a medical referral, material services, or just a confidential friend to talk to, we are here to help.
Verity Pregnancy & Medical
8890 Salrose Lane
Fort Myers, FL 33912