Texans are steadily transforming their state into a place that supports mothers and babies from the moment of conception.
Right now in McAllen, pro-life advocates are working on plans to turn a former abortion facility into a parenting center – one that will offer free parenting classes, baby supplies, post-abortion counseling and more in one of the poorest parts of the state, The Pillar reports.
“This is a huge victory for the Lord because we did nothing. He did it all,” said Yolanda Chapa, founder of the McAllen Pregnancy Center, which now owns the building.
For 40 years, the abortion facility killed unborn babies in the Rio Grande Valley, the last decade under the Whole Women’s Health abortion chain. Chapa told The Pillar that she prayed outside the abortion facility for 17 years, offering hope and support to abortion-minded mothers.
“I was there in the rain, or heat — sometimes it was 105 degrees and we were there from 7 in the morning until like 1,” she said.
All the while, she said she and other sidewalk counselors were called nasty names and yelled at by abortion workers. Chapa said they “hated” pro-lifers.
In 2008, Chapa opened the McAllen Pregnancy Center a few doors down from the abortion facility to offer life-affirming resources, including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, diapers, referrals to doctors and more to struggling families, according to the report. Some of the women who they serve are considering abortions, others just need help, she said.
Every day for years, Chapa said she continued to pray for an end to abortion in her community. Then, in June, God answered her prayers and those of so many others when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
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Now, Texas law protects unborn babies by banning elective abortions, and abortion facilities all across the state have closed – including in McAllen.
“And then it came up for sale,” Chapa told The Pillar. “But we knew that if we tried to buy it … those women over there hated us so much. They would never sell it to us.”
Still, she continued to pray. Chapa said her organization has been serving more families since the June ruling, and the need for a bigger space became apparent. Many of the women they serve are immigrants who need counseling, clothing, baby supplies or help applying for Medicaid, she said.
Thanks to the Texas Alternatives to Abortion program, which provides taxpayer funding to help pregnant mothers choose life for their babies, they have been able to serve more mothers and babies, she said. Texas is not alone. Several pro-life states have voted to expand support services for pregnant and parenting mothers, including through Medicaid and increased aid to pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and other nonprofits that provide resources to families in need.
Still, the pregnancy center leaders knew they could serve even more if they found a place to expand.
Then, last fall, a group of local doctors, led by Dr. Luis Alberto Rosas, a board member of the pregnancy center, bought the former abortion facility building for the pro-life organization, according to the report.
“It is just amazing to see how God has provided for us now,” Chapa said.
Although plans for the building have not been finalized yet, she said they hope to turn it into a parenting center to provide counseling, parenting classes and a “baby boutique” with clothing, diapers and other baby supplies to help families, according to the report.
“The main idea is to have an expanded baby boutique in there, where moms and dads can come, and where we can have rooms for cribs and changing tables and big things we don’t have the space for now. And it will be beautiful,” she said. “And we’d like to have a parenting center, where we can offer classes for parents. And we might also have [natural family planning] classes there.”
Chapa said they want to minister to post-abortive women, too.
Right now, she said the board is having the building structure assessed and making plans for renovations. And they are continuing to trust God.
“I trust that God knows what he’s doing,” she told The Pillar. “He made this available for us, and he will continue to provide what we need, and take care of our needs, and protect us well. When we walked in here, and we owned this place — my God. It was liberating.”
To other pro-lifers across the country, Chapa encouraged them to continue to hope and pray even when the situation seems too difficult.
“We never ever stopped praying on this sidewalk,” she said. “People would come from all over the Rio Grande Valley to pray here. And our prayers were heard and answered. And that’s the hope and advice that I would give other pregnancy center workers or sidewalk counselors. Don’t give up.”