Local Ministries

Pregnancy center offers women life-changing alternatives

by Marc and Julie Anderson

OVERLAND PARK —  Whether by design, or merely coincidence, the telephone number of the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic in Kansas City, Kan., is the first one listed in the yellow pages under the heading “abortion alternatives.”

For some reason, said Donna Kelsey, executive director of the clinic, many women miss the word “alternative” and call the clinic with the intention of obtaining a referral for an abortion.

Such was the case with Nikki.

Without a job or a home, and already unable to support her teenage son, the 35-year-old had no intention of keeping the baby she was carrying.

Determined to have an abortion, she found the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic online. She made an appointment for the next day. The appointment would change her life.

Nikki shared her story at the inaugural fundraising banquet for the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic Sept. 16 at the Overland Park Convention Center. A total of 560 people attended the fundraiser to help the clinic continue its mission “to reach out to those clients seeking truth about the decision they are facing, especially those abortion-minded clients.”

The clinic offers counseling, education and material aid for everyone who passes through its door and seeks “to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those in a crisis pregnancy.”

When Nikki arrived at the clinic, she said, the trained counselors never once judged her — but they did provide her with information she’d had no access to before.

First, she was offered a sonogram in which she saw her unborn baby’s heartbeat on the screen. But she remained unconvinced, believing the ultrasound to “clearly be a trick of some sort.”

But then Nikki was offered a chance to see fetal models — but not just any fetal models. These models show an unborn baby at various stages of development in utero.

“I thought, ‘Wow! This is not a blob!’” said Nikki. “I decided to think a little longer.”

But it was a book that Nikki noticed laying out at the clinic about abortion procedures that really turned the tide.

The outside cover warned that the book contained explicit photos.

“Me, being nosy, opened the book,” she said.

It was the photos she saw in that book, said Nikki, fighting back tears, that made her realize she couldn’t abort her baby.

“It really is not a blob,” said Nikki. “There was no way I could go through with [the abortion] knowing what I knew.”

Although she had changed her decision about having an abortion, Nikki told the banquet attendees, she was still depressed and trying to figure out how she would care for this unborn baby and her son.

The help she received from the clinic in the form of baby clothes, food and counseling — all offered in love —was a gift beyond measure.

“For me, that was amazing . . . just to know that someone was there and cares for you when they don’t have to. . . .  I had everything to bring my baby home,” Nikki said.

Where she previously had had no hope, God provided in ways unimaginable to her.

“God has a way of easing you. . . . He knows which way to go. You have just to let go and let God,” she said.

Those in attendance at the banquet also had the opportunity to hear remarks from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, who was instrumental in the founding of the interdenominational clinic. He praised its work and that of its volunteers.

Kelsey also expressed her gratitude for everyone who works, volunteers or gives aid to the clinic. With an operating budget of $200,000, the clinic is always in need of support — be it financial, material or spiritual.

Currently, the clinic also has a dream of purchasing a mobile sonogram unit. The price tag? A mere $150,000.

But the benefits, Kelsey said, would be priceless. The unit would be driven all over the Kansas City metropolitan area on both sides of the state line. (Currently, about 54 percent of clients come from Wyandotte County; another 27 percent come from Missouri.) The unit would feature a pullout bed with a machine to offer free sonograms to women in the hope they would change their mind about abortion.

For Nikki, the sonogram offered to her by the clinic was the first step in changing her mind about having an abortion — an abortion she now cannot believe she ever considered.

“My daughter is a blessing. I just couldn’t imagine my life without her,” she said.

For more information about the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic, or to make a contribution, call (913) 287-8287. Its Web site can be found at: www.wyandottepregnancyclinic.org.

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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