By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff 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 that area. The center, the second satellite of the CENLA Pregnancy Center in Alexandria, will operate Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. It will offer free pregnancy tests as well as information about pregnancy options, maternity resources and post-decision support including parenting education and post-abortive healing.
Kimberly DeLoach Butler, who has worked as client advocate coordinator with 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 at a ribbon cutting, scheduled for 11 a.m., July 18. State Sen. Glen Womack, CENLA Pregnancy Center Executive Director Claire Lemoine and CENLA Pregnancy Center Board President Ed Tarpley (a member of Kingsville Baptist Church, Ball) also will deliver remarks.
“We’re excited to be able to open the Miss-Lou Pregnancy Center providing support to women in unplanned pregnancies in Vidalia and the surrounding areas. Now more than ever it’s necessary for each of us to respond as the hands and feet of Christ to those He is calling us to serve,” Butler said.
The opening of the new center comes on the heels of a June 24 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade. Though the ruling did not itself ban abortion nationwide, the decision triggered a 2006 state law, updated during the 2022 legislative session, that instantly outlawed abortion in Louisiana.
However, the Louisiana Supreme Court on July 6 (in a 4-2 ruling) rejected state Attorney General Jeff Landry’s request to enforce the abortion ban, a week after Orleans Civil District Court Judge Robin Giarrusso last week granted a temporary restraining order 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’s ruling reiterates the importance of pregnancy care centers.
“Now that Roe is overturned and abortion is illegal in states like Louisiana, the role of pregnancy care centers is magnified,” Lemoine said. “Until all hearts on this side of Heaven are transformed into the truth of what life is and how it should be protected, we will always have unplanned pregnancies and women who desire to have an abortion. Because of that, we need to be ready to help even more women who need the services we provide, which is to counsel women to recognize the gift of life and give them the support they need to carry on with that life.
“It’s important we remain well staffed, and services continue to be available at no charge to mothers,” she continued. “It is so important we love on mothers in a way that encourages them to choose life. I hope adoption becomes a normal part of the conversation. I hope that women that come here for services and support will be empowered to carry the child and we can dispel the darkness they find themselves in.”
Glen Harrigill, board representative from Delta Baptist Association and pastor of Riverside Baptist Church, Vidalia, expressed excitement about how God will use the Miss-Lou Pregnancy Center to save babies’ lives and to change the lives of people needing the hope of Christ.
“We are excited about this opportunity to not only stand for the unborn, but to also make a difference in the lives of the mothers and dads by giving them help, hope and encouragement,” Harrigill said.
For more information about how to support the ministry of the Miss-Lou Pregnancy Center, visit cenlapc.com.