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In 1973, the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand. In April of 1975, the Chattanooga Women's Clinic (CWC) opened its doors for business on Vance Road. It was the only abortion clinic in Chattanooga, TN. In 1993, God used the mustard-seed faith of area Christians to permanently close this facility. Chattanooga, TN is now one of the largest cities in the United States without an abortion clinic. This is the story of a miraculous series of events, culminating in what we now know as the National Memorial for the Unborn.
In 1985, a small group of Chattanooga area Christians began to gather together in the public right-of-way outside the CWC premises. They would pray and counsel women as they came to have abortions. Despite harassment and litigation, counseling and prayers continued whenever CWC was open for business, rain or shine, day or night.
Several of these same prayer warriors opened a pregnancy center directly across the street from CWC. This center offered women alternatives to abortion including real, practical help.
In January 1989, another local group began to intervene more directly by blocking access to the CWC doors, buying time for counselors to intercept women arriving to keep their abortion appointments. Additional "rescues" took place throughout the year, and CWC responded by suing select Christian leaders for $100,000 plus other damages they claimed to have resulted from the non-violent and peaceful rescuers.
Subsequent to these events, a handful of men began to pray on the CWC parking lot every Sunday morning. They specifically implored God to act by either saving or removing the people who worked at CWC. Almost immediately, clinic co-owner Sue Crawley contracted a fast-spreading cancer and was subsequently unable to return to work; she died soon thereafter.
Sidewalk counselors remained faithful and believers continued to pray. Some twenty-one months later, the other clinic co-owner, Fran Muzzoco, likewise contracted cancer and died abruptly. CWC operations were then turned over to abortionist Dr. Ed Perry. At that time, Dr. Perry was already under indictment by a Knoxville, TN grand jury because he had performed an illegal abortion on a minor.
Time passed and believers remained faithful. Then, in the winter of 1992, Dr. Perry started talks with the commercial realtor who owned the building and property at which CWC had been operating since it opened in 1975. The realtor had been forced to file for bankruptcy and the CWC property was one of the listed assets. Dr. Perry and the realtor entered into a business transaction whereby the property would be sold from the realtor to Dr. Perry, all subject to Bankruptcy Court approval. This would have allowed Dr. Perry to continue the 18-year legacy of death at CWC.
It was Thursday morning, April 22, 1993. Word of the proposed sale became known to a local realtor who immediately notified members of the Pro-Life Majority Coalition of Chattanooga (ProMaCC). Divinely, ProMaCC's quarterly Board Meeting was already scheduled for that very evening. The proposed acquisition of the property dominated the meeting discussion. However, there were two significant problems: 1) Dr. Perry's bid for the property was $249,000; 2) It was now late Thursday evening, and any objection to the proposed sale from the realtor to Dr. Perry had to be filed in bankruptcy court by the end of the day on the following Monday.
Naturally, the ProMaCC Board was skeptical that sufficient funds could be raised in such a short amount of time--one weekend. Nonetheless, they prayed and began contacting local individuals for contributions. It's important to note that no formal community-wide announcements or appeals of any type were made. However, God began to bring in unbelievable amounts of money almost immediately. By Monday afternoon, April 26, 1993, ProMaCC had sufficient funds to file an objection to the proposed sale based on their counter offer of $264,000. Blind-sided by ProMaCC's higher offer, Dr. Perry's attorney immediately began filing a full week of various procedural objections to ProMaCC's involvement. But U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge John Cook threw out Perry's appeals and scheduled an auction to commence in his courtroom that very afternoon, Friday, April 30, 1993. Meanwhile, God continued to bless.
Additional monies had been pouring in all week, even unsolicited pledges from attorneys who had been present in the courtroom and overheard the case. By the time the session started Friday afternoon, ProMaCC had cash and pledges totaling $301,000. The auction began with ProMaCC's counter offer, and the judge ordered that subsequent bids be made in $5,000 increments. This was a crucial decision, because it established the threshold ProMaCC knew it could not cross. ProMaCC's highest allowable bid would be $294,000. If Dr. Perry persisted beyond that to $299,000, then ProMaCC would lose the auction because it would not have the funds to make the next required bid. Once again, God proved his faithfulness: Dr. Perry bowed out when ProMaCC's bid reached $294,000!
On May 17, 1993, ProMaCC closed the sale and delivered cash to pay for the building. CWC's lease expired that day, and ProMaCC immediately took possession of the property. Feelings were mixed with joy and intense sorrow as the new owners took possession of the very site where Chattanooga's only abortion clinic had stood for 18 years--the very place where 35,000+ babies had been slain.
At that time, CWC declared that a new clinic would reopen at a different location in a matter of weeks, but that never happened. In fact, it was only a matter of weeks until Mr. Crawley decided to abandon the abortion industry altogether. Subsequently, he liquidated the assets of the corporation, including the very equipment used during the abortions.
Less than a year later, January 1994, the pregnancy care center moved into a totally remodeled half of the former abortion clinic, and the other half of the former abortion clinic was completely renovated to create the National Memorial for the Unborn.
Praise be to God, the Author of life, the Safe-Keeper of the innocent, and the Restorer of Hope for the broken.
One common need of families of aborted children is for a unique place of healing...a place where loss and grief can be shared with others who have suffered similarly, a place where the unborn can be honored and remembered in a tangible way, and a place of closure. Now there is such a place.
Abortion can be one of the most traumatic experiences in a person's life.
You may feel hopeless and helpless, but you are not alone!
Counseling services are available to help bring healing and restoration.