De­cency hasn’t passed away; there are good peo­ple around us

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - OPINION - Kathryn Lopez Columnist

“It was June 1, 2006. I will never for­get that date.”

That was the day An­gela Jozwicki had an abor­tion. She had grown up with “a lot of scream­ing” around her, and was us­ing drugs by the time she was 14. In 2006, she was 22 and found her­self preg­nant.

“I knew in my heart that a baby would stop me from hav­ing drugs, but I wasn’t ready,” she told An­drea Pic­ciot­tiBayer of The Catholic As­so­ci­a­tion Foun­da­tion for an am­i­cus brief in a case be­fore the Supreme Court ear­lier this year. “I used abor­tion to avoid get­ting bet­ter,” she con­fessed.

In Oc­to­ber 2015, a dol­lar-store preg­nancy test told her she was preg­nant again. She was still us­ing drugs, so she made an ap­point­ment for an­other abor­tion. But the baby’s fa­ther didn’t show up to drive her to the clinic the morn­ing of the ap­point­ment. She be­lieves God showed up that morn­ing in­stead.

“I de­cided that I would keep that baby.” She started mak­ing calls to preg­nancy help cen­ters, and Sound­view Preg­nancy Ser­vices in Long Is­land area of New York, an­swered.

One of the mem­bers of the staff there, Bar­bara, talked with An­gela dur­ing each week of her preg­nancy, as she got ed­u­cated about preg­nancy and child­care. Bar­bara was even at the hos­pi­tal when it came time for An­gela to de­liver her baby.

Staff at the care cen­ter helped her en­roll in the a sup­ple­men­tal nu­tri­tion pro­gram and ap­ply for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance dur­ing her preg­nancy and the first months with her son, Cameryn.

At first, An­gela didn’t think she could turn to her mother for help, but the cen­ter helped them, too, in their strained re­la­tion­ship.

As a re­sult, a grand­mother would help her daugh­ter and grand­son with a place to stay as An­gela looked to­ward get­ting a job once Cameryn was old enough for preschool.

“I al­ways thought that peo­ple were fake, but they are gen­uine,” she said about the peo­ple at the care cen­ter.

Brenda Coe is an­other of the 13 women whom Pic­ciotti-Bayer in­ter­viewed be­fore the Supreme Court heard a case and ul­ti­mately gave a re­prieve to preg­nancy care cen­ters in Cal­i­for­nia.

Coe and her hus­band were in­tro­duced by a mu­tual friend to Krys­tal, a preg­nant sin­gle mother. Krys­tal had a 2-year-old son and couldn’t raise an­other child in her cur­rent cir­cum­stances.

Krys­tal had al­ready sought help from the Preg­nancy Help Cen­ter in Tor­rance, Cal­i­for­nia, con­firm­ing her preg­nancy and talk­ing with them about adop­tion.

Once she met the Coes, she asked them if they would adopt her baby.

The cen­ter be­came a part of all of their lives. Brenda would ac­com­pany Krys­tal through ul­tra­sounds, and helped her in­ter­view the ob­ste­tri­cian she would choose for her and the baby’s care (the doc­tor also vol­un­teered at the cen­ter).

Brenda and her hus­band were present when their child was born, and they all stay con­nected through pic­tures and phone con­ver­sa­tions.

There are more sto­ries like An­gela, Brenda and Krys­tal’s, from so many cen­ters around the coun­try.

In 2017, 2,752 preg­nancy care cen­ters pro­vided al­most 2 mil­lion peo­ple with free ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to the Char­lotte Lozier In­sti­tute.

As the na­tion marked the pass­ing of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Her­bert Walker Bush, it seemed to mourn the pass­ing de­cency and ci­vil­ity, too.

It’s a credit to the way he lived his life, with fam­ily at the cen­ter of it, that he in­spired such a trib­ute. But we ought not al­low this to be a nostal­gic end. We are not pow­er­less. There are peo­ple among us who help oth­ers, who sac­ri­fice for oth­ers and who make it pos­si­ble for oth­ers to do so as well.

That’s cer­tainly bound to be more fruit­ful than be­liev­ing our good days and peo­ple are gone.

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