Across the nation, pregnancy resource centers are under fire. Pro-abortion radicals are increasingly vandalizing these safe havens for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, smashing their windows, spray-painting vulgarities on their walls, and even firebombing them.
The most recent target of this senseless violence and vandalism by pro-abortion extremists was the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, which was hit early Saturday morning.
Susan Campbell, the center’s executive director, is incredibly disheartened by what happened.
“We’re a service that’s well-known, and so our community is loving and kind and supports us at every level. We were shocked to be the target of the vandalism,” she says. “We were the only center in Virginia that was hit [after Roe v. Wade was overturned], and we were just deeply saddened by that.”
Regrettably, Campbell doesn’t think that her center will be the last to be vandalized.
“I don’t think that it’s going to stop, and I think that it’s only going to get worse from here, simply because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Campbell says. “But we’ve been praying for this for a long time, and we’re not intimidated or dissuaded from our mission.”
Campbell joins the show to share her story and offer a message of hope to those mothers and mothers-to-be looking for assistance in what can be the toughest time in their lives.
We also cover these stories:
- Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says “every option is on the table” when asked about whether abortion clinics could be set up on federal lands in states with strict anti-abortion laws.
- President Joe Biden responds to criticism that his policies on border security led to the deaths of 50 illegal immigrants whose bodies were discovered in a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio.
- Hillary Clinton criticizes Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.
Douglas Blair: My guest today is Susan Campbell, executive director at Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia. Susan, welcome to the show.
Susan Campbell: Thank you for having me.
Blair: Susan, I wish we could talk under better circumstances, but your center has become one of a multitude of crisis pregnancy centers that have been attacked over the nation in the aftermath of the Roe v. Wade decision. Could you walk us through exactly what happened to your center in particular?
Campbell: Yes. At about approximately 1:22 in the morning, four masked, hooded individuals entered our property on foot with crowbars in hand and took out, demolishing about 10 to 12 windows and three of our operating doors on our facility.
They … spray-painted vulgar things about abortion, that we weren’t safe if abortion wasn’t safe, and anarchy symbols with the term “Jane’s Revenge” all over our sidewalk, along with just all types of vulgar descriptions and pictures on our brick walls.
Blair: Clearly … they were pro-abortion types and they were motivated by, assuming, the Roe v. Wade decision that just came down.
What exactly does your center do? Are you actively pushing people against getting abortions or are you providing services? What exactly does your center do?
Campbell: Well, exactly, so this Supreme Court ruling, it doesn’t change our vision or our focus at all. In fact, it only reinforces the need for centers like ours. The support that we offer to women and men in our community through all the stages of pregnancy and post-partum up to one year of life is just amazing.
We provide all types of free services: pregnancy and limited obstetrical ultrasounds, counseling, unconditional love and support, and we just bathe them and equip them with the foundations that anyone would need to become a parent.
We advocate for adoption if they’re at a point and place in life where furthering the pregnancy seems like it will never help them in life. We definitely try to help coach them through at least furthering the pregnancy to be able to refer them to a wonderful adoption agency where a loving family could step in and give them some assistance.
We don’t advocate for abortion in any way, but everything we do is out of love and compassion and kindness.
Blair: Now, before we started this interview, we spoke briefly. Apparently these people have also attacked you online. There’s been hacking. Can you describe exactly what these activists have done in the cyberspace?
Campbell: Yes. Our Facebook account has been absolutely demolished with fake reviews, fake reporting, them telling the entire platform of Facebook that they don’t recommend us, and then putting vulgar comments. They are submitting application requests directly from our website with death threats, and absolutely writing to us in the most despicable, vile way.
We’ve already forgiven them. We’ve already tried to express our concern for the root of their heart, but they obviously don’t have a clue of what we do because we help people every day that are faced with these decisions when an unplanned pregnancy is something they’re not ready for.
Blair: Now, given that you’ve got both the physical attacks on the facilities with the vandalism—you said they went with crowbars—and the cyberattacks online, how does this make you feel? What is your initial reaction to these actions being taken?
Campbell: Well, of course, at first, we couldn’t believe in our community because we have a wonderful, supportive community. We’ve been active in our area since 1999, and we have a wonderful following. We see plenty of pro-choice and pro-life patients. We’re a service that it’s well-known. And so our community is loving and kind and supports us at every level. We were shocked to be the target of the vandalism.
We were the only center in Lynchburg, excuse me, in Virginia that was hit the eve following Roe v. Wade’s overturn, and we were just deeply saddened by that.
Blair: I take it that this hasn’t happened before, then? This is the first time something like this has happened?
Campbell: No. We have, again, just a wonderful community of outpouring and outreach. We partner with other local facilities and organizations. And everyone around us is a nonprofit, so we’re always offering our services for free. We never exchange money of any kind.
And when they leave our center, they have an armful of baby goods and education and tips on parenting, just everything you would ever need for no matter what stage of life you’re in to be equipped and at least make a good attempt at raising a baby, and if that isn’t the case, like I said earlier, we refer them.
We were very surprised because we rarely ever even get a negative comment or review. I’m the executive director. I read our exit evaluations. People are constantly praising us for the love and compassion we’re able to show.
Blair: Now, given the fact that you said your community is so supportive and that normally things like this don’t happen, what has been the response from the community to this event? Have they been supportive? Have they been trying to help you rebuild? What’s been the response from the community?
Campbell: Oh, yes. On Saturday when I got the call that 911 had been placed by our mailman, I got right down here, and within a matter of 15 minutes they just came in carloads. We spent most of the day cleaning up the attack, boarding up our windows, and securing the property. All the glass cleanup was done.
And it was just amazing to see our community just tirelessly in the heat of summer helping us to get into a better place so that we can move as quickly as possible to open our doors again and remain open for service and offer our services to the women and men that really need us.
This is sad because it just disabled us from at least several days of being able to help people in crisis.
Blair: Yeah. I guess that’s a great question, too, is, what does that mean when you are out of operation for a little while? I mean, it doesn’t really seem like you can do the services that these women need if you’re out of operation. Do you think that the people who did this understand that you’re unable to provide these services to women who desperately need it when they do things like this?
Campbell: I don’t think they are reasonable or understand anything, to be honest. They clearly don’t have a good understanding of who we are and what we do. We’re an organization that desires to help, and again, we do it with the most kindness, loving, compassionate approach that any service could be ever offered, at no charge, again, free to the community.
Blair: Right. What do you think about the fact that it seems like these attacks on crisis pregnancy centers are becoming more common? I mean, you are, like I mentioned before, one of a multitude of these types of centers that have been hit by attacks like this. What do you think about the fact that this seems to happening more and more frequently?
Campbell: Well, I don’t think that it’s going to stop, and I think that it’s only going to get worse from here simply because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. But we’ve been praying for this for a long time, and we’re not intimidated or dissuaded from our mission. We’re always going to be there to help families and, really, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is just an additional launching pad for us to help even more.
We’ve been expanding and growing, and that’s what’s so disheartening. We just relocated to a much larger facility so that even if something like COVID reoccurred, we can spread out and continue our classes, continue our services, where our previous location was much more constricting and small. We couldn’t expand the way that we’ve been able to with this nice new facility.
Blair: Have you noticed that your community has changed in the aftermath of both the leak surrounding Roe v. Wade back in April, that they were thinking about overturning it, but then since the actual decision went down, have you noticed a shift in the attitude amongst the people in your community?
Campbell: Well, I can only speak from the donors and friends of our center and I would say absolutely. It has put action behind people’s beliefs, their philosophies, and has placed a charge in their heart to want to do more.
We have seen an outpouring of resources—both financial, prayer, and just physical—what we can do, and then we also have a boutique filled with all kinds of brand new and handmade baby items.
We can’t keep up with the UPS deliveries of goods that have been coming to our door, gifted by people in our community. Our community’s amazing and they’re there to help and we’re very grateful for that. It has been a soothing salve to our hearts for sure.
Blair: I keep hearing that word, “community,” which is wonderful. It sounds like you interact with your community as you push this message of hope and life in the community. How much does that actually impact what you do? Does your work with the community really reflect strongly on the mission of your center?
Campbell: Oh, 100%. Being a nonprofit, we wouldn’t be able to operate without the backing of our community. We have some of the most amazing individuals, business owners, and churches in the area that are just devoted to life-affirming things.
We have only continued to steadily grow in the time that I’ve served here. I’ve been director for six years, but I started out as a volunteer in 2015, and to see where the center has gotten to today is all because of our community and the support of what we have.
Blair: Now, you mentioned that this isn’t going to change what you do. You’re going to continue to pursue your mission with the same zeal that you did before. Does this affect anything about how you do this? Is there more security now? Are there any changes that you’ve had to make in how you interact both with the community and both with the people that you deal with on a daily basis? Are there any things that you need to alter due to this type of activity?
Campbell: Oh, yes. We met today to get an action plan moving forward. We have amazing security in place. We have a wonderful police department. But we have now escalated all of our requests to every level out there. If we have to go all the way up to the FBI and the feds, it will be.
We have amazing support. We have all kinds of security teams and a lot of active and retired first responders that are here to help. Again, all part of a wonderful Lynchburg, central Virginia community, and we’re grateful for them. They are definitely people you can trust and rely.
Blair: Absolutely, and I think that’s such a wonderful story about how the community is coming together to support you guys. Speaking of that, as we begin to wrap-up here, given all of these things that are happening at these crisis pregnancy centers across the country, these attacks that we seem to be seeing over and over and over again, how do Americans support both centers like yours and the women who need those services?
Campbell: Well, as long as they have a philosophy like ours, their doors will be wide open. No matter the choice, we tell everyone, especially the woman who still chooses termination, you are welcome here.
One of our best and most active programs is our post-abortion care because we know women have … in the past made decisions that they regret, and we want them to find hope and healing again, and we provide those services as well.
Despite all the other pregnancies across, I can speak for mine, and I know that we’re a place of life, we’re a place of forgiveness, and we’re a place of hope. And if you don’t have hope, you have nothing. We’re able to share that message in the most authentic, genuine way.
I’m just so proud of my staff, my support here, and I don’t think Roe v. Wade will do anything to set us back, and I don’t believe this vandalism will set us back. It is only going to prompt people to do more and to serve more, and to be very on the front lines of helping us to be restored and get our services operating again.
Blair: That actually does make me think of another question. I think that that’s so fascinating that you say one of the services that you provide is post-abortion care, because obviously, we’re trying to avoid abortions happening in the first place, but there is that sort of message of love, that, “Hey, even if you’ve made this decision, you still have support.”
How do we balance those needs, where we’re trying to prevent abortions from happening, but we do need to make sure that people who have had abortions, who have made that decision, are still supported in the future?
Campbell: Oh, absolutely. Post-abortion care—I’m 49 years old. I was 1 year old when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States. Two-thirds of my generation is missing because of the legalization of abortion. It is everything about our mission to help the woman who made that decision, whether it was decades ago or last week. There can be hope and healing, there can be forgiveness.
And that has to be a message that is so genuine and authentic for a woman to want to come to receive that type of care because there is a stigma and a painful, painful scar tissue that is left on a woman’s heart who has experienced that. You don’t hear about that in the news at all, the emotional side effects of someone that’s done that, that has major, major regret.
Blair: Do you find that the women who do come for that type of service, what is their sort of temperament after they receive this kind of care? Do they say, “I regret my decision”? Do they say, “I understand that I needed to do this at the time and I’m grateful for you guys to be there”? What is the temperament of a woman that has gone through that experience?
Campbell: Shame, primarily, and then regret. They wish that someone would have talked to them. They wish that someone would have presented options, counseling. They wish that someone would have been their cheerleader.
They wish that the boyfriend or the father of the baby or the husband would have said, “I’ll be there for you. I don’t know what that looks like, but I’m here for your support. I’m in this. I want to empower you. I want to help you.”
That’s not what you’re being told in the other areas of the media. It’s an empowerment that is a false lie, and I don’t believe that God designed any woman to do that, and so we’re here to help them cultivate a promise of a future and that a forgiveness message is there.
They can heal and have joy in their life. I’ve seen it firsthand for the years that I’ve been here, the women that come in and are restored and set free. There is an emotional baggage that is left at the door the day they understand that they are forgiven and that they do not have to go through their lifetime prisoners in a cage of shame and guilt.
Our world has a way of doing that, whether it’s inappropriately in society or in our families and our churches and in our friends. That shame and guilt is a motivator and we often tell people you do not have to live with shame and guilt.
Blair: I think that’s a wonderful message of hope. That was Susan Campbell, executive director at the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia. Susan, thank you so much for spreading that message. I wish you the best. God bless, obviously, as you try to recover from these attacks and I wish you the best in the future.
Campbell: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
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