The Piedmont Women’s Center (PWC) in Greenville, S.C. is currently located in a cramped 1,000 square-foot office next door to one of three free-standing abortion centers in South Carolina. But in a dream come true PWC is in the process of building a new 7,500 square foot Pregnancy Medical Clinic directly across the road from that local abortion business.
If all goes on schedule, this new 1.5-million-dollar facility will be open mid-summer, “free of debt built by the body of Christ” said CEO Lenna Smith. In what she describes as a “supernatural” experience, Mrs. Smith said the new building will be a modern, attractive, life-saving space.
Piedmont Women’s Center started as a crisis pregnancy center in 1991 and converted to a medical clinic in 2001 under the direction of local Ob-Gyn Dr. Kimberly Holloway, M.D. “We operate as any physician’s office does,” Mrs. Smith said.
Under medical supervision free pregnancy tests and limited OB ultrasounds are offered along with confidential biblical counseling, vouchers for clothing and many other referrals a pregnant woman might need. For those who have experienced the tragedy of abortion there is recovery. PWC offers intimate Bible studies sharing the healing power and the compassionate love of Christ for both women and men. In the new facility, one of the first services they want to add will be free testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
About six years ago, a generous donor provided the funding to buy the new property, but building plans were on hold. The bills still had to be paid and expenses met in the current office. In 2015 when the Center for Medical Progress and its founder David Daleiden exposed the scandal of Planned Parenthood trafficking in unborn baby body parts, Mrs. Smith and her board decided it was time to act.
“The turning point was when Planned Parenthood’s dark side was finally exposed,” she said. “We knew, ‘If not now, when?’”
“The first place a woman needs to think of is Piedmont Women’s Center,” not the abortion clinic when dealing with an unexpected or difficult pregnancy, she said. A former board member with experience in construction served as the project manager to get building underway. Three architects donated their time to design the new pregnancy care facility. Electricians, plumber, building framers and others joined together to donate materials and labor.
Finally, the ground-breaking ceremony happened last year on a Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t about speeches, but about God, Mrs. Smith said. “We prayed. We worshiped. We gave God the glory.”
When Mrs. Smith looked out in the crowed and saw Congressman Trey Gowdy, she asked him to speak to the crowd. He was reluctant. He had come to participate in prayer, not to speak. But Mrs. Smith prevailed.
“These are not people involved in politics,” she told him. “These are moms, dads, neighbors and friends who would never be at an event where you would speak. Share you heart for Christ and your desire to protect and care for the unborn,’ she said, convincing the Fourth District South Carolina Congressman to make a few remarks.
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Initially all was not smooth sailing, Mrs. Smith recalls. The Devil was in the details — literally. “We did a lot of praying for the permits. Waiting for the permits held us up many times.”
In late February concrete finally was poured for the foundation. Seven competing concrete companies lined up their trucks at 5:30 a.m. one Friday morning and poured the foundation. All the concrete and labor were donated. Now the framing, just like the concrete has begun with donated lumber and labor.
All the rooms, the furniture, and hundreds of bricks are sponsored with gifts ranging from $20,000 for a room sponsorship to $150 for an inscribed brick. Last year Mrs. Betty Poe donated $300,00 to name the facility. Her one request? That her name not be on the building.
Mrs. Poe said the ministry had a name that carried with it a reputation of excellence, integrity and compassion. The only way for her to give God the glory for her gift was to keep Piedmont Women’s Center’s name front and center.
“There is a way for everyone to have their fingerprints on this building,” Mrs. Smith said. “That’s the way God works. It’s been supernatural to see the entire body of Christ work together, pray together and build together. It’s all for His glory and for His good.”