A building in Bettendorf, Iowa, used to be the place where countless innocent lives were destroyed and hearts were broken via abortion.
After 20 years, this Planned Parenthood location closed. In its place, God opened new doors — this time to the Women’s Choice Center, which is dedicated to preserving unborn life and serving pregnant women in need. The turn of events means a pregnancy help center and a pro-life and family, faith-based medical practice will now operate in the same space where abortions were once performed.
Let’s rewind the clock as this story begins in the 1990s.
A group of pro-life advocates organized as the Life & Family Coalition. Their goal was to keep Planned Parenthood from putting down any roots in the community.
At the time, Iowa’s Planned Parenthood of the Heartland was on a mission to expand within the state. However, a member of the Life & Family Coalition bought a site in Davenport out from under Planned Parenthood, thwarting this expansion.
But the coalition’s celebration was cut short when Planned Parenthood purchased another building from an out-of-state landowner, adjacent to Davenport in Bettendorf in 1997. The abortion facility opened its doors there and began aborting unborn children.
Let’s skip ahead to 2002. The Women’s Choice Center, offering free pregnancy testing, counseling and other services, opened across the street from the Bettendorf Planned Parenthood. The two entities, polar opposites of the moral spectrum, remained in competition.
While abortions continued across the street, the Women’s Choice Center offered further services, including:
- Distribution of new and gently used maternity and baby items, including diapers, formula, baby food, clothing, toys, and infant equipment
- Birthing, nutrition, parenting, and other practical life-skills education
- SaveOne post-abortion Bible studies
- Perinatal hospice
- An outdoor granite Memorial Wall honoring child lost to abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, illness, or injury
- Trained educators providing presentations to empower junior high-aged youth to make healthy decisions for their futures through REAL Choices, their sexual risk avoidance program
- And more recently, abortion pill reversal
“Since our beginning in 2002, we have been a faith-based ministry,” said Linda Rubey, the center’s director. “In that time period, nearly 1,400 babies have been saved from abortion. Typically, 80% or more of our clients choose life after meeting with our counseling staff to receive caring, compassionate options counseling.”
In the 2016 election, Iowa Republicans won control of the Statehouse and cut off funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Iowa. This led to Planned Parenthood announcing the closure of four locations, including the Bettendorf site — which shut its doors on December 27, 2017.
And in May 2018, the Women’s Choice Center took over the building.
With a total of 8,500 square feet, the Women’s Choice Center only utilizes between 50-60% of the space. Upon purchase of the property, the board of directors planned to expand faith-based medical services to the community.
“We are happily anticipating the December 2020 opening of our sister organization — Life & Family Medical, a direct primary care clinic,” said Rubey.
And the future looks brighter still.
“In 2021, we’re also preparing to add a weekly client programming series, ‘WCC Village,’ to support moms and families in more personal and practical ways that will help them thrive with greater confidence and loving support,” Rubey said.
The pregnancy help director noted how society tends to portray abortion as an “easy, quick fix with no regrets.”
“Research shows us that is just not true,” she said. “We are blessed to provide love, support, and encouragement for all women, no matter their pregnancy decision.”
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