By Brian Blackwell, Baptist message personal writer
VIDALIA, La. (LBM) – The pro-life movement will get a shot in the arm in the Vidalia, La.-Natchez, Miss. area when the Miss-Lou Pregnancy Center opens July 18.
The 1,500 square foot facility, located at 4951 Hwy. 84 West in Vidalia, will be the first of its kind in this area. The center, the second satellite of the CENLA Pregnancy Center in Alexandria, will operate Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will offer free pregnancy tests as well as information on pregnancy options, maternity resources and post-decision support, including parenting education and post-abortion healing.
Kimberly DeLoach Butler, who has worked as the Client Advocacy Coordinator at the CENLA Pregnancy Center since 2018, will be at the helm when the center opens. Butler is among those who will share more about the center during a ribbon cutting, scheduled for 11 a.m. on July 18. State Senator Glen Womack, CENLA Pregnancy Center Executive Director Claire Lemoine and CENLA Pregnancy Center Board Chair Ed Tarpley (member of Kingsville Baptist Church, Ball) will also deliver remarks.
“We are delighted to be able to open the Miss-Lou pregnancy center which offers support to women in the event of an unplanned pregnancy in Vidalia and the surrounding area. Now more than ever, it is necessary for each of us to respond as the hands and feet of Christ to those He calls us to serve,” Butler said.
The opening of the new center follows a June 24 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. While the ruling does not itself ban abortion nationwide, the ruling triggered a 2006 state law, updated in the 2022 legislative session, that instantly banned abortion in Louisiana.
However, the Louisiana Supreme Court on July 6 (in a 4-2 decision) denied state Attorney General Jeff Landry’s request to enforce the abortion ban, a week after the judge Orleans Civil District Court Robin Giarrusso granted a temporary restraining order last week that allowed the state’s abortion clinics to remain open. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 8.
Lemoine said the Supreme Court decision reiterates the importance of pregnancy care centers.
“Now that Roe is overthrown and abortion is illegal in states like Louisiana, the role of pregnancy care centers is magnified,” Lemoine said. “Until all hearts this side of Heaven are turned into truth about what life is and how it should be protected, we will always have unplanned pregnancies and women who desire abortions. For this reason, we must be ready to help even more women who need the services we provide, which is to advise women to recognize the gift of life and give them the support they need to continue this life.
“It is important that we remain well staffed and that services continue to be available free of charge to mothers,” she continued. “It’s so important that we love mothers in a way that encourages them to choose life. I hope adoption becomes a normal part of the conversation. I hope women who come here for services and support will be empowered to carry the child and that we can dispel the darkness in which they find themselves.
Glen Harrigill, Delta Baptist Association Board Representative and Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church, Vidalia, expressed his excitement about how God will use the Miss-Lou Pregnancy Center to save the lives of babies and change the lives of people who need the hope of Christ.
“We are thrilled with this opportunity to not only advocate for the unborn child, but also to make a difference in the lives of mothers and fathers by giving them help, hope and encouragement,” said Harrigill.
For more information on how to support the ministry of the Miss-Lou Pregnancy Center, visit cenlapc.com.