Due date: Pro-Life pregnancy center constructs new larger location to assist more mothers and babies
FORT WORTH — After the leak of the Supreme Court decision indicating that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, people have told Pat Pelletier that the need for the pro-life pregnancy center she cofounded with her late husband, Chuck, will be diminished, because abortion may soon become illegal in Texas.
They’ve suggested to her, “The babies will be born; why not fold up your tent?”
On the contrary. She countered, “A lot more women will need more help, and we’ll stay as long as they need us.”
The pregnancy resource center, Mother and Unborn Baby Care, has positioned itself to help greater numbers of women and children by beginning construction on a new facility at 3264 Lackland Road in west Fort Worth, right next door to an abortion clinic.
The setting is intentional, because about 60 percent of its clients contemplate abortion, estimates Pelletier. Ultimately, about 85 percent of the clients decide to have the baby.
Pelletier is quick to point out that the baby is not the crisis, and the volunteers at the pregnancy aid center help the woman to identify the crisis, from unemployment to overdue bills, then work to eliminate the crisis, not the pregnancy.
Since its founding in 1984, Pelletier estimates that Mother and Unborn Baby Care has assisted more than 9,000 mothers who have brought their babies into the world, and she pointed out how that affects future generations.
It’s not just the babies, but the mothers as well, she explained. “We care about the baby and the mother’s soul. We want to save them both. No one wants an abortion,” she said. “We offer help.”
On May 14, Father John Robert Skeldon, rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, joined a group of the nonprofit’s friends and supporters to bless the site, just days before the foundation was poured.
The new building will be four times as large as their current facility in the hospital district, which will almost double the number of counseling rooms, plus add a second sonogram room – large enough for the mother to have family with her during the ultrasound.
Having more space available will allow 40 Days for Life and Sidewalk Counseling Advocates to have offices in the building, as well as a conference room and storage for baby clothing and gear.
Most important will be the oratory, which will hold a tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament. Pelletier said the oratory is situated as close to the abortion clinic as possible.
To accommodate the anticipated rise in mothers needing help, Mother and Unborn Baby Care, the only Catholic pro-life center in Fort Worth, will need additional volunteers, baby supplies, and money.
With construction underway, the nonprofit needs to raise more than $1 million to complete construction of the facility. Asking for funds isn’t easy for Pelletier, but she realized “God wants this to be a missionary project, to bring God into a place where He’s not known or not welcome.
“This is an outreach project, where all can be a channel of God’s grace to the world. How often do you have the opportunity to make an investment where the reward is eternal souls?” she asked.
Initial progress, especially the permitting process, was slow, but construction has begun, and Pelletier hopes to be able to offer a walk-through tour on October 1.
By then, the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade will be official. If it’s overturned and abortion becomes illegal in Texas, Pelletier said, “It won’t change our mission. It might change our outreach.”
For example, the center could be more faith forward in its décor and its initial interactions with the women.
The mission of educating mothers about their baby’s growth and development, sharing the mercy of God, and providing material and emotional assistance remains, she said. “They will need support, and we’ll be walking with them. We will still be there for them, as long as they need us.”