On August 10, North Alabama is in for a powerful blessing -- an evening with actress Ashley Bratcher, who portrayed former Planned Parenthood rising star Abby Johnson in the film, Unplanned. Interestingly, “the real Abby” was the keynote speaker at the Huntsville Pregnancy Resource Center’s banquet held in April, which was a resounding success. “It was a miracle that we were able to confirm that Ashley is coming to Athens,” said Women’s Resource Center Executive Director, Brooke Thompson. Her excitement about all the good things that are going on at WRC is infectious, which we’ll talk about further. The banquet will be held at the Limestone County Event Center and the doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner being served at 6:00.
First, a bit about Unplanned, the movie. It defied the odds and garnered over 18 million dollars domestically at the box office, despite not being allowed to advertise on any networks besides FOX and EWTN. There is so much controversy in the entertainment world regarding abortion that it was produced in secret under a different title, and Ashley Bratcher was told it would be a career-ender for her. Ashley also learned, on the day she got the part, that she had been moments away from being aborted herself, and feels playing this role is part of her calling. On July 12, Unplanned will be released to Cineplex and other independent theatres in Canada after demand for its release erupted following a private showing to the Canadian Parliament. An advertisement for Unplanned showed up in May on the famous NASDAQ sign in Times Square not long after New York passed its hideous bill that calls for the killing of aborted babies after being born alive. In a word, David is meeting Goliath. Ashley will be telling us her story, and I can hardly wait to hear it. For more information on Ashley and Abby, you can go to www.ambassadorspeakers.com.
The entertainment for the banquet will be provided by local artist Claire Carpenter. “Claire is a musician and songwriter from Athens, Alabama. She studies music at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, majoring in classical and jazz piano. Claire’s songs are a creative fusion of singer-songwriter, jazz and pop. Musical influences include Lianne La Havas, Rich Mullins, Brad Meldau, and Aretha Franklin. Her music has additionally been impacted by her faith and personal story of adoption within her family, and you can hear her play in venues across North Alabama.” The steak dinner is being catered by J.W. Steakhouse, and there will also be a silent auction. Table sponsorships are available, and this year there will be general admission available. For more information and to make your reservation, please call 256-233-5775.
I asked Brooke what is “new and different” at the Women’s Resource Center, and she was pleased to tell me about several services that are now available because of the generosity of the people of North Alabama. First of all, a WRC dream from years past has been realized in the form of having an ultrasound machine and technician, which is one of the most powerful “proofs-of-life” possible for couples who are on the fence regarding making life-affirming choices. Ironically, famous abortion chains use ultra-sound technology as well for the purpose of determining the age of the fetus, but clients aren’t allowed to see them.
Also new to the Women’s Resource Center is a team of guys who are advocates for male clients. There is an increase of what can only be termed “post-abortive dads,” who either could not protect their baby from being aborted, or chose not to and now regret it. Up until this point there has not been much available for men or for those (such as I) who to their great regret encouraged someone to get an abortion; but WRC is changing all that. The male client advocates also teach guys how to be successful dads.
Brooke kindly encouraged me to attend their seven week post-abortion study which runs in the fall and spring. It is written by Linda Cochrane, is biblically based, and is entitled, “Forgiven and Set Free.” Great healing has already occurred in my life, and I can see how a group setting could facilitate even more.
The Women’s Resource Center also provides parenting classes for moms and couples, which is a crucial part of making a choice for life successful for all involved. They also have a baby boutique which is stocked with diapers, wipes, clothes, formula and much more.
Looking ahead, the Women’s Resource Center is planning on being opened later on Thursdays, and is currently opened until 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, which are their busiest. They are also working on getting resources to provide a special set of services for teen moms who have chosen to keep their babies.
If supporting these services is something that speaks to your heart, then call them at 256-233-5775, or come by their beautiful office on Fitness Way in Athens at 727-D West Market Street Athens, AL 35611. Donations and silent auction items are still being accepted, and see you on August 10!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner