According to a story in the June 23 edition of the News & Observer, the National Women’s Health Organization of Raleigh will cease doing abortions after Saturday, June 26. The report says “it’s unclear whether the clinic will close or simply stop offering abortions.”
The clinic was opened in 1976 by Susan Hill, who died in February. It was one of three clinics she owned, with the other two in Georgia and Mississippi.
For more than 20 years, pro-life advocates have gathered regularly at the clinic for the recitation of the rosary and prayer services. Many of those who participated in the prayer services were Catholics, with representation from parishes in the Triangle, including Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Saint Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church and Saint Joseph Catholic Church. The Haworth Drive clinic was also the object of the semi-annual “Forty Days for Life” prayer services during Lent and in October.
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, who has taken part in the “Forty Days for Life” each year since his installation as Bishop of Raleigh in 2006 said, “Word that abortions will no longer be performed at this facility is a great testament to the perseverance in prayer of many of the Catholic faithful and other Christians who have come together for over twenty years to pray for the unborn and for the women and families considering this action, as well as the personnel in this facility. Let us continue to persevere in prayer as we build a culture of life.”
Ms. Rose McCreery, a long-time pro-life advocate, has been participating in prayer services at the Haworth Drive clinic since 1981. “I couldn’t believe it when I read the N&O story,” Ms. McCreery said. “My first thought was I wonder if it’s really going out of business or could another abortion provider take it over. If the site continues as an abortion clinic,” Ms. McCreery added, “the prayer vigils and offering of to those coming to the clinic for an abortion will continue as a means of continuing to support and build the Culture of Life.”
Ms. Betty Rogosich is Chief Executive Officer of Birthchoice, a pro-life organization that offers women free pregnancy tests, a free ultrasound, information about the health and psychological risks involved with abortion, pregnancy resource referrals and post-abortion counseling. (See January 2010 issue of NC Catholics magazine.)
Ms. Rogosich said she is pleased to hear the center will no longer be providing abortions, pointing out that in 2002, Birthchoice moved a block away from the abortion clinic to assist women who might be contemplating an abortion. She said, “While the closing of the Haworth Drive abortion clinic is good news, it does not necessarily mean there will be fewer abortions. Those seeking the procedure can just go to another clinic in the area,” Ms. Rogosich added. “That could bring about the Birthchoice Board of Directors deciding to move our facility close to one of the other clinics.”
On June 22, Ms. McCreery sent out an email inviting pro-life supporters to join her Saturday, June 26 at the Haworth Drive site for prayers. One respondent said she and her family will be there at 10:00 AM in thanksgiving that this will be the last day abortions will be performed at the center. Ms. McCreery said, “We know it is not humanly possible to prevent women from having unplanned pregnancies. But we will never turn away from trying to save the life of the unborn and offering women who are considering an abortion the support they need so that they begin to see the life of their child is not as burden, but truly as a gift.”
Above: Pro-life advocates taking part in the 2009 “Forty Days for Life” prayer and rosary at Women’s Health Organization Clinic at Haworth Drive in Raleigh