When a new Planned Parenthood abortion facility recently opened their doors in Flossmoor, IL, Kris Cortes and her husband, Dennis, were determined to find a peaceful solution to combat the nation’s largest abortion provider. Banding with a group of fellow pro-lifers in the Cortes’ living room, they formed what would be known as the Southland Coalition for Life. The goal of their organization is to promote the sanctity of life within their community, foster prayer in their homes, churches, outside Planned Parenthood clinics, and help women facing unplanned pregnancies through life-affirming work at their pregnancy center.
Meeting with Aid for Women, a Chicago-based organization with four center locations and two residential centers for expecting mothers, the two groups partnered with one another to open a pregnancy center right next door to the notorious abortion provider. The Cortes’ also gained support through church groups and various organizations to help with fundraising and construction for their pregnancy help center. The faith-based group, Operation Nehemiah, a group that assists with disaster relief, helped with the necessary renovations— even working through the brutal Chicago winters to complete the project. The Knights of Columbus provided the group with support as well by donating a new ultrasound machine through their ultrasound initiative program.
The Executive Director of Aid for Women, Susan Barrett, said of the dedication to completing the pregnancy center, “It was just amazing how so many people of good will really rolled up their sleeves and made this happen. Just starting off that way was just a really, really neat thing.”
About 150 people turned out for the ribbon-cutting ceremony according to Cortes, and it was filled with Democrats, Republicans, businessmen, and people from a variety of ethnic groups and religious denominations. Cortes spoke of the unity she witnessed at the event, “In an age of increasing divisiveness, it was encouraging to see a wide spectrum of our business, community and religious leaders coming together to show their support—all united to affirm the value of life.”
The decision to open a pregnancy center within the immediate vicinity of a Planned Parenthood clinic mirrors the opening of the Waterleaf Women’s Center in Aurora. That project was started by three local women after a Planned Parenthood had opened in their community in 2007. The public claimed that they were led to believe it would be an office space, not an abortion clinic. The Waterleaf board president, Kelly Gorsky, said she wanted “women to know that there’s a whole network of people that can help” by providing counseling, cash assistance, and free babysitting.
In response, Planned Parenthood has attempted to discourage women from seeking help from these centers by smearing them as “fake clinics” that are run by individuals who want to “scare or shame people out of getting an abortion.” But centers like the Southland Coalition for Life have pledged “to provide women in unplanned pregnancies with the support, love and truth that will empower them to make life-affirming choices.” Partnering with religious and secular organizations, the Cortes’ center offers loving support, and placing their center within the vicinity of a Planned Parenthood reminds women there are alternatives to abortion.
Pro-life Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski praised the Cortes’ efforts to open the Southland Coalition for Life, stating, “When Planned Parenthood went up here [in Flossmoor], we said we are going to be right there, to challenge every day to challenge the culture of death with the culture of life.”
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.