Pro-life supporters gain strength

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Chesapeake Conference Center was packed Tuesday night.

The annual Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater Benefit Banquet brought in more than 1,200 people. In fact, before registration of tickets for the event had closed, more than 1,300 people had requested a ticket to attend, but because of the conference center’s capacity, 100 of them had to be put on a waiting list.

“It looks like next year we’ll have to do this at the Scope,” Tobey DeBause, president of the CPC of Tidewater, joked during his speech.

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The CPC of Tidewater is a Christian-based, pro-life organization whose mission is to help aid women and families involved in crisis-related pregnancies.

Here in Suffolk, the Keim Center on North Main Street is a part of the CPC ministry, offering crisis counseling, education and material support for expectant mothers and families.

The banquet each year is one of the organization’s largest fundraisers to make its outreach possible.

During his remarks, DeBause said the CPC is in need of support now more than ever.

There have been more than 50 million abortions in the United States since 1973, he said, including roughly 8,700 abortions in South Hampton Roads last year.

This number, DeBause said, is also in great jeopardy of rising tremendously because a new Planned Parenthood facility has broken ground on Newtown Road in Virginia Beach. Planned Parenthood is one of the largest providers of abortions nationwide.

“We need to speak up,” DeBause said.

Specifically, guests at Tuesday’s banquet were asked to help sponsor the opening of a medical clinic in Virginia Beach, where expectant mothers would have access to ultrasound services and prenatal care.

Three years ago, the CPC opened such a center in Norfolk and saw its numbers more than double.

“As we have been seeing more women, the abortion trend has reversed,” DeBause said. “We have to keep going.”

It was a message echoed by the night’s keynote speaker, Jill Stanek. Stanek earned national attention when she publicly renounced the abortion practices at the hospital where she worked as a nurse in Chicago, Ill.

For two years, Stanek kept working at the hospital while also testifying at congressional hearings to help pass the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002. Stanek was ultimately fired from her job at the hospital, but she continues to speak across the country.

Tuesday night, Stanek called abortion the “moral issue of our time.”

“This is our Civil War,” she said. “This is our Holocaust. I submit we’re in the middle of the worst human atrocity in human history. There is no higher calling today, I think, than this pro-life effort.”

Apparently, many people agree.

Results from a Gallup Poll cast in May of this year show that 51 percent of Americans identify themselves as pro-life. According to the Gallup Web site, this is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

“I do not believe there is any such thing as coincidence,” Stanek said. “We must fight on, and each one of us is critical in that battle.”