Center celebrates Sanctity of Life, prepares for banquet

By Donna Thornton/News Editor

The year 2013 finds the Etowah Pregnancy Testing Center and its staff of volunteers feeling blessed, volunteer Della Payne said.

More than a year ago, the center moved its ministry from its 4th Street location to 119 Church Street in Rainbow City.

“The Lord blessed us with a good place and with money,” Payne said. The center, which provides free pregnancy tests, counseling and assistance, received a number of donations that helped fund the center’s move to the new location.

With $25,000 outstanding, she said, an anonymous benefactor loaned the rest of the money. Since then, Payne said, the center has been able to repay the money and is now free of debt.

“It was a God thing,” Payne said. “We’re so excited about what’s going on.”

This month, director Tammy Harris and volunteers at the center will be speaking at a number of local churches and groups in recognition of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Jan. 20.

Center Sanctity of Life Sunday is set on the Sunday nearest the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the court decision that legalized abortion in the United States in 1973.

While one day may be set aside for churches to focus on the sanctity of life at all stages of life, Payne said the center’s volunteers work throughout the month to share their ministry and message.

The center provides free pregnancy testing, counseling and education and supplies to help moms get ready for and to care for their babies. The center depends largely on donations from churches and other groups to operate the center and provide its clients with assistance. Last year, the center had 836 clients.

The center has begun preparation for its one fundraiser of the year – the annual banquet, scheduled for May 9. The meal, catered by David Ayres of Tony’s Barbecue, will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the speaker at 6:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Feb. 1 and will be $20 each or $200 per table.

Payne said the speaker for the banquet will be Melissa Ohden, an abortion survivor.

According to the Abortion Survivors Network website, Ohden’s biological mother was a 19-year-old college student who had saline infusion abortion in 1977 to end the life of her child. She believed she was less than five months pregnant, according to the web site, but the child she sought to abort was born alive, weighing almost three pounds.

When Ohden later obtained her medical records, she found notes made by a doctor that said she looked to be at about 31 weeks gestation at the time of the failed abortion.

Ohden, according to the website, grew up knowings she was adopted and loved. When she was 14, she learned the truth about the circumstances of her birth, and it changed her life.

Later Ohden searched for information about her survival and her biological family. She obtained copies of the medical records of the procedure in 1977, as well as the identity of her biological parents. Since 2007, she’d had some contact with both sides of her biological family.

Ohden found a ministry as well, as a pro-life advocate and a speaker. She seeks, according to her web site, to be a “voice for the voiceless.”

For more information about tickets, call the testing center at 256-442-6101 or come by the office Monday through Friday, between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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