Amazing transformation is a testimony to Christ’s redemptive power
Wichita, KS – While pro-life supporters across the nation gather over the next few days to mark the 35th memorial of Roe v. Wade, those in Wichita, Kansas will gather at a remarkably unique site. Their Remembrance Service will be held on Saturday evening inside a former abortion clinic that has been transformed into Operation Rescue’s new national headquarters.
Peter Shinn of ProLifeUnity.com was in Wichita recently and shot the following video during the building’s renovation.
“The amazing transformation of this building is a powerful testimony to the redemptive power of Jesus Christ,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “It is also a vivid symbol that represents the collapse of the abortion industry.”
Recently released statistics support Newman’s optimism. Operation Rescue’s new office was one of over four dozen abortion clinics that closed nation wide since 2000. The number of abortionists declined nationwide by 2% and the number of abortions by 8% during that same time.
But in Kansas, records show that abortion decreased a whopping 14% over the past five years, which coincides with OR’s arrival there.
Newman, who has been a pro-life campaigner since 1991, felt a call from God to relocate Operation Rescue’s offices and his family to Wichita in 2002 after numerous victories in the abortion battle on the streets of Southern California, where Newman’s leadership contributed to the closure of two dozen abortion mills and the departure of over 40 doctors from the practice of abortion.
In 2006, Newman received a call from a realtor informing him that the Central Women’s Services abortion clinic was for sale. The realtor told Newman that the clinic was in financial trouble and behind on rent. The building owner just wanted to get rid of the property before he lost any more money. Newman was immediately inspired to purchase the building.
“I remember Troy calling me and asking, ‘What do you think? Should we buy it?'” said Cheryl Sullenger, who serves as Operation Rescue’s Senior Policy Advisor. “I was supportive, but let him know that the thought of such a large financial commitment was frightening to me. It was really a leap of faith on Troy’s part to make the decision to go ahead with the purchase. This really goes to show that when God wants something done, He will provide the funds to pay for it, as long as we are willing to step out in faith.”
The purchase was made for Operation Rescue by a third party, Allyson White, the daughter of former Operation Rescue tactician Jeff White, who had led a Pastor’s Rescue at that same clinic during the 1991 Summer of Mercy abortion protests. That rescue is considered the high-water mark for the rescue movement nationwide.
“We consider it a privilege and an honor that God has allowed us to take control of a building that was the site of such heroic personal sacrifice on the parts of hundreds of Christians, who were jailed for intervening on behalf of innocent children who would never know them or their sacrifice,” said Newman.
While the property was in escrow, Newman was informed that the abortion clinic owners had come up with the back rent and requested to continue their tenancy in the building. Newman firmly declined the proposal, after which the clinic held a going-out-of-business sale and vacated the building.
“There is no doubt in my mind that if we had not had the property under contract, that abortion mill would still be open,” said Sullenger. “There’s no telling how many babies have been saved because we closed this abortion mill. We had one woman change her mind when she showed up for an abortion on the day we took possession. We put up signs telling women to seek help next door at A Better Choice (ABC), a pro-life pregnancy resource center. ABC has told OR that every abortion-minded woman that came to them after seeing the Central mill closed made decisions to save the lives of their babies. There has been such amazing fruit resulting from the building’s purchase, and we haven’t even moved in yet!”
But the building was far from move-in ready. Looking at the modern spaces today that will be fully equipped with state-of-the-art electronic technology, there is hardly a reminder left of the horrific conditions that existed when OR took possession.
Mark Crutcher, director of Life Dynamics, Inc. sent a camera crew to Wichita just days after the property cleared escrow to document the filthy environment in what had been a working abortion clinic just three weeks earlier. (Click to watch Crutcher’s video.)
“We made the decision to leave the building as we found it for several months to allow the community and the media time to tour the facility and see the appalling conditions for themselves,” said Newman. “The place was infested with roaches, rodents, and mold. The carpets were stained and filthy. The out-of-code condition of the plumbing and electrical systems created serious safety hazards. The roof leaked and the stench in the building was unbelievable. It was such an unhealthy environment that we had no choice but to strip it down to the concrete and cinderblock.” (View photos of inside the abortion clinic.)
In late 2006, demolition finally began. The empty structure was dedicated to God’s work last year during OR’s Cry for Justice event. New plans were drawn and construction began a few months later. Contractors and volunteers are finishing the final details on the building, which the public will be able tour after Saturday evening’s Remembrance Service.
It is estimated that as many as 50,000 innocent babies were aborted in that building over the 23 years that the abortion clinic operated there. When completed, it will feature a memorial wall to commemorate those lost lives and a prayer room where the public, especially post-abortive women, may reflect in private.
“The day we move into that building will be the first day of a new era of pro-life activism that will complete the collapse of the abortion industry,” said Newman. “The pro-life movement is goal oriented and on the offensive for the first time since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. Every indicator supports the fact that we are winning, and what better place to wage the decisive battle in the abortion war than from the transformed offices of a former abortion mill?”
The Roe v. Wade Remembrance Service will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 7 PM at 3013 E. Central Avenue in Wichita. A press conference will be held at the same location on Monday, January 21, at 1 PM followed by a Candlight Prayer Vigil to be held the following evening on Tuesday, January 22 at 6 PM outside George Tiller’s abortion clinic located at 5107 E. Kellogg at 6 PM to mark the 35th memorial of Roe v. Wade on the anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court decision. The public is invited to attend all three events.
Collapse of Abortion Industry Symbolized In Former Abortion Mill, Site Of “Roe” Remembrance
Amazing transformation is a testimony to Christ’s redemptive power