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Crowd walks for life

Published 10:40pm Saturday, April 20, 2013

More than 200 people gathered at the Suffolk Executive Airport Saturday to celebrate and promote life.

The Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater held its annual Walk for Life at the airport. Themed “Lifting Life Up,” the walk was set to include hot-air balloon flights, but those had to be rescheduled because of the weather.

Rick and Kelly Montrose carry the “Life” flag during the Walk for Life at the Suffolk Executive Airport on Saturday morning. More than 200 people attended to support the Crisis Pregnancy Center.
Rick and Kelly Montrose carry the “Life” flag during the Walk for Life at the Suffolk Executive Airport on Saturday morning. More than 200 people attended to support the Crisis Pregnancy Center.

Nevertheless, spirits soared as the event began. The crowd prayed, chanted “Save life” and cheered at the announcement of the recent news that a Norfolk abortion clinic is closing its doors this week.

The Crisis Pregnancy Center, which has a location in Suffolk at the intersection of North Main Street and Finney Avenue, offers free services like pregnancy tests, ultrasounds (not available at the Suffolk location), counseling, support groups, prenatal vitamins, medical referrals, educational materials, maternity and baby items and more.

“You make a huge difference in South Hampton Roads,” said Toby DeBause, president of the Crisis Pregnancy Center. “We know of 592 children who will take their first breath because of what God did in the hearts of women through the Crisis Pregnancy Center in 2012.”

DeBause reported the “bittersweet” statistic that abortions have fallen in South Hampton Roads to their lowest level since 1995. At their peak in 2004, 9,269 of the procedures were performed in the five cities alone — what DeBause called the “statistical equivalent of three 9/11s in one year.”

Even so, thousands of women still chose to end their pregnancies in 2012. That shows the Crisis Pregnancy Center still has work to do, said Vernicia Eure, the client services coordinator for the center.

“We have to share the truth, but we make sure when we are sharing the truth, we share it in love,” Eure said.

Visitors at the fundraising walk, who had collected pledges to support the work of the center, said they were happy to be there despite the chilly, gloomy weather.

“We appreciate what they do,” said Jim Morris. “We want to save the babies.”

Frances Bouton said she was happy to see abortion clinic regulations passed by the General Assembly this year had already led to the closing of the 40-year-old Norfolk clinic. The new law requires facilities that perform at least five first-trimester abortions each month to meet hospital regulations such as hallway width.

“Some of the abortion facilities are gross, they’re disgusting,” Bouton said. “They should be at least sanitary.”

Eure said the clinic is happy to be able to have a location in Suffolk.

“We’re so happy to have a presence in this city to be able to serve the city,” she said.

The organization’s website is www.cpcfriends.org. Another Walk for Life is scheduled at the Norfolk Zoo on April 27.

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