In an article in the National Review Online earlier this month, Kathryn Lopez tells the story of how the National Gianna Center for Women’s Health came to be. Anne Nolte, M.D., Director of the Center is a friend to Good Counsel and as Chris Bell says, “Dr. Nolte is always available to help any woman in a crisis pregnancy and willing to advise and encourage what’s best no matter how difficult the situation.”
What the Gianna Center contradicts is the widespread belief that abortion is the only option when a difficult situation arises.
“As the original Gianna grows in Manhattan, there are now also over a dozen centers developing throughout the country. The National Center has a business model and even legislative outreach, so that alternative health care, rooted in Catholic social teaching but (as the gospel teaches) not exclusive to Catholics, can be widely accessible.
This is the stuff of rebirth and renewal. Anne Nolte, M.D., Gianna’s director, paints a portrait of what having St. Vincent’s gone would have otherwise meant for a frightened, overwhelmed young woman finding herself unexpectedly pregnant. While there are other beacons of love and support for women in New York — including Avail for pregnancy support, Good Counsel maternity homes, and individuals who will provide financial support and jobs and a ride to doctors’ appointments — inside the doctor’s office is where final decisions are made. As Dr. Nolte explains, a woman may first be asked, “Was this planned?” If she says no, the follow-up may be, “Are you sure you want to keep it?” Being aware of only one patient, not two, the doctor may assure her, “We can fix this problem”; he might even add, “It can be as simple as taking a pill, and everything will go back to the way it was.”
The Gianna Center exists in no small part to serve as an open door to a terrified woman, offering her a doctor who won’t sugarcoat anything but will walk the walk of pregnancy and motherhood with her. The Gianna message to a pregnant woman, Dr. Nolte explains, is: “We’re going to make sure you’re healthy and your baby is healthy and do whatever it takes to help you get through this.”
Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online, and founding director of Catholic Voices USA. She serves on Cardinal Dolan’s Pro-Life Commission with Dr. Nolte. Visit her at the National Review or at her blog – K-Lo @ Large on the Patheos Catholic Channel.