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Group helps those with unplanned pregnancies

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 9:53 a.m. CDT
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(Kimberly Watley/Special to SVM)
Amelia Rose Fenton, at 3 months old the youngest guest at the annual fundraising dinner for Gianna’s House, coos and smiles at her mother Erin. The Fenton family has supported the efforts of Gianna’s House for 3 years. The organization had its annual fundraising dinner last week at Deer Valley Golf Club in Deer Grove.
Caption
(Kimberly Watley/Special to SVM)
It’s been 40 years since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe V. Wade. In that time, an estimated 55 million legal abortions have occurred. In the background behind a leaflet that was placed on tables at the Gianna's House annual fundraiser, Vicki Thorn, keynote speaker at Deer Valley Golf Club, visits with attendees.

DEER GROVE – The kickoff of the annual fundraising event for Gianna’s House came with an announcement: It has commissioned Dr. James Gallant to provide medical services to its clients. He will begin in a couple of weeks.

Gianna's House in Rock Falls provides free and confidential services to anyone coping with an unplanned pregnancy.

During the annual fundraising dinner last week at Deer Valley Golf Club, Margaret Tyne, the director of operations and development, addressed the crowd.

She said Gallant, a physician in emergency medicine at KSB Hospital, being on board will allow women to have simple tests done in-house, rather than being sent elsewhere.

“Hope (Life) Pregnancy Center has been very kind to allow us to send our moms over there,” she said of the center, which has offices in Dixon and Sterling. “It has always been a goal of ours to provide these services here.”

New to Gianna's House in July, Tyne said this year’s campaign will help to buy an ultrasound machine and other necessary medical equipment. It receives no government funding and relies solely on funds from area churches, individuals, organizations and businesses.

Though monetary donations are essential, they are a small part in fulfilling the mission. Equally important, Tyne said, is discussing adoption and seeing a pregnancy to term, while assisting women with local resources, supplies, education and counseling.

Retired priest Richard Kramer was just 7 years ordained in 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade.

“We knew the emotional pain and struggles women went through when they miscarried, losing a child to no fault of their own," he said. "We knew some 50, 60 years down the line, we would have some crazy people not knowing how to deal with the guilt of abortion. It didn’t take that long.”

Thus, he said, began the Catholic Church’s efforts to counsel those who had had abortions and those who were considering.

Keynote speaker Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel, has traveled all over the world to teach and lecture about the anthropology of women.

Her role began with a “life-changing event” that a friend experienced.

Having been molested by her brother, the friend became pregnant. The girl’s mother forced her to put the baby up for adoption. She became pregnant a second time, also presumably by her brother, and her mother arranged for an abortion.

Immediately afterward, she was sent to a boarding school, where she met Thorn.

“I listened to her talk about what happened," Thorn said. “And she said, ‘I can live with the adoption, not the abortion.’ The myth is, it is a non-procedure.

“Whether chemical or surgical, it is a deep life experience. It is so much in the essence of our being that you can’t walk away from it.”

She discussed the biological reaction that both men and women experience upon conception. It is something so in-depth and vital, she hopes the support team at Gianna’s House will adapt the same teachings she learned through research and scientific study.

“No one ever tells you you’re changed from the moment of conception,” she said. “And it’s for the better. But one in three women have an abortion by the age of 45, and they never go back to how they were biologically. They carry cells of that child, whether they carry them to term or not, forever.”

Thorn believes abortion is an epidemic, a quick-fix in a society lacking in morals. It is up to places like Gianna’s House to educate young women, showing them another way, she said. 

“There are no boundaries in this ‘hook-up’ society. They are exposed to junk and have never seen a moral lifestyle," Thorn said. “Worst part is they don’t know where to find it. Even if the marriage of our parents was shattered, we looked up to the aunts, uncles and grandparents in our lives. Grandma and Grandpa were married a thousand years, as far as we knew. These poor kids have nothing.” 

Tyne said the facility, which opened in 2007, served 800 women in 2013 with ongoing mentoring, and friendly, spiritual and emotional counseling, along with practical assistance. Its mission is to welcome and educate all people in making pro-life choices that are consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Free and confidential services include pregnancy tests; information on pregnancy-related issues, including adoption, parenting and temporary foster care; and assistance finding affordable medical care, pre-natal and childbirth classes, as well as post abortion counseling.

About Gianna's House

Gianna’s House is at 901 West Illinois Route 30, Rock Falls. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday, 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. For more information about services, volunteering or donations, call 815-625-6520 or visit the website at www.giannashouse.com.

To help: Volunteers are needed for every aspect, from day-to-day operations to peer counseling. Gianna’s House is seeking those who have children, those who have had abortions or considered terminating a pregnancy, and individuals who are bilingual.

Supplies needed include everything from maternity to 3T clothing, any gently used baby furniture, car or bouncy seats, formula, diapers of all sizes, baby wipes, bottles and toiletries.

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