Pro-lifers in Quad Cities grateful Planned Parenthood clinic is closing

Vicki Tyler, executive director of the Women's Choice Center of the Quad Cities, shows models illustrating human life from conception to birth to a group of young visitors to the center's mobile unit July 13 at St. Mary Church in Rock Island. The Women's Choice Center is a pro-life outreach located across the street from Planned Parenthood in Bettendorf, Iowa, which among its services has offered abortions for nearly two decades but may soon close. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

BETTENDORF, Iowa — The pro-life community in the Quad Cities is expressing optimism but vowing to continue their prayer and educational efforts after learning that the Planned Parenthood clinic here is expected to close.

“Obviously we are very pleased with the announcement that Planned Parenthood would close four more clinics in Iowa, including our local Bettendorf clinic,” said Lorrie Bowman, president of Quad City Right to Life. “We know this results in abortion rates down which equals many babies’ lives saved and many women spared the pain of regret when they realize that abortion took their child forever.”

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, based in Des Moines, last month announced it would close four of its 12 clinics in Iowa. The clinics in Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City ended operations on June 30.

While originally expected to close with the others, the Bettendorf clinic remains open on a part-time basis. It had offered surgical abortions among its services until 2014 and continues to oversee “telemed” abortions — in which two different pills are used to end a pregnancy, one taken at the clinic and another usually later at home.

“I prayed on the sidewalk at the Bettendorf Planned Parenthood Clinic on Friday, July 7,” said Jeanne Wonio, who has been a regular prayerful presence outside the facility for more than 15 years. “They were open and doing medical abortions,” she reported.

Wonio said her understanding is the Bettendorf clinic will remain open part-time until the building sells.

“A LONG, HARD STRUGGLE”

“The pro-life community has been praying for this for 19 years,” said Vicki Tyler, executive director of the Women’s Choice Center of the Quad Cities, a pro-life outreach at ​2711 Happy Joe Drive, across the street from Planned Parenthood in Bettendorf. Among the regularly scheduled prayer efforts have been a candlelight vigil hosted by the center annually near the Jan. 22 anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion; Life Chains every October; and 40 Days for Life campaigns, usually twice a year.

Tyler said she has already noticed an increase in clients at the Women’s Choice Center, some saying they had appointments at Planned Parenthood.

“We want them to come here and hear God’s truth and empower them to make the right choice,” said Tyler.

In April, the Iowa Legislature changed the current Medicaid family planning waiver program to prevent reiumbusement of abortion providers, which includes Planned Parenthood. The new rule took effect July 1.

While supporters of Planned Parenthood lament the loss of access to women’s health care services offered at the clinics, pro-life advocates such as Jenifer Bowen of Iowa Right to Life see it differently.

“The reallocation of our tax dollars, away from the abortion industry, and into the hands of true health care facilities will only empower more Iowa women,” she told The Catholic Globe, newspaper of the Diocese of Sioux City.

Twenty Planned Parenthood facilities have reportedly closed in Iowa since 2010.

“It’s been a long, hard struggle since Planned Parenthood originally announced their plans to build an abortion clinic in the Quad City area back in the 1990s,” said Jack Swan, past grand knight of Allouez Council 658 in Rock Island. “So many prayer warriors have stood their ground and persevered, many of whom have passed on to their eternal reward, knowing their prayers have now proved successful,” he added.

Swan and the others pledged to continue prayers and efforts to promote the sanctity of human life.

“We’re thankful they (may soon) be out of the community, but choices are still there,” said Tyler, noting eight Planned Parenthood clinics remain open in Iowa as well as others that offer abortion services in Illinois.

“Our mission and focus remain the same, to save and promote life,” said Tyler. “We’re excited, but we’ll keep pushing forward, pressing ahead.”

 

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