By Dave Andrusko
I’ve read other stories by the Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer but to be honest I don’t recall anything particularly pro or con about Zauzmer who is a religion reporter for the Post.
The first time I read her New Year’s Day story, “In Manassas, a closed abortion clinic made new,” I was not entirely sure how I felt.
But after re-reading the story more closely this morning, I can say, with a few caveats in mind, I was very encouraged by her sympathetic account of the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas, Virginia, which is about an hour south and west of Washington, DC.
Pro-lifers had prayed for years outside Amethyst Health Center for Women, (described by Zauzmer as “formerly Manassas’s and Prince William County’s only abortion clinic”) which closed up when the 76-year-old owner retired last year. Pro-abortionists had hated them not just for their witnessing to abortion-minded women but also for having a crisis pregnancy center nearby. They went apoplectic when the Archdiocese of Arlington purchased the Amethyst Health Center clinic.
Now unborn babies are no longer torn to shreds there. It is “now a general-purpose health clinic for uninsured patients in Northern Virginia” run by volunteers.
The beginning of the story is about the politics of the changeover—the typical pro-abortion grousing—but after a while we learn just what a blessing Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic has become.
Many of the people they serve are Latinos, half of whom suffer from diabetes. They also have many other medical problems and, lacking health insurance, such as is Arlina Flores-Roxas situation, fear they can’t afford necessary care and medicines.
But then nurse practitioner Lori McLean told Flores-Roxas, whose hands hurt so much she is left whimpering, “That’s okay. It’ll be taken care of.
“Flores-Roxas’s face lit up,” Zauzmer writes. “‘Oh, thank you so much,’ she said. On her way out the door, she gave McLean a hug.”
Few, if any patients, know this used to be an abortion clinic which ended the lives of 1,200 unborn babies a year.
But the nurses and translators — who volunteer their time to make the entirely free clinic operate — know. “Everyone was so keenly aware of that, which so energized the community,” Scott Ross [the family medicine doctor] said. “Something good would be coming forth from a place where evil had occurred.”
Right now, the hours are limited, but there are plans to try to enlist other volunteer providers to help out and increase the hours it is open. But Ross, “who is a doctor for Novant Health during the rest of the week, [who] serves as medical director at the new Catholic Charities clinic,” also wants “to strike more agreements with neighboring medical providers so that patients who need more help than what the free clinic can provide can access care.”
The transformation is just stunning. A place of blood and misery morphed into a medical refuge largely for recent immigrants lacking health insurance. The story ends beautifully beginning with Liliana Ramirez-Venegas, who served as a translator for one of the patients:
Ramirez-Venegas, a teacher who immigrated from Colombia just like Juan Perez, said she heard about this clinic at her parish and wanted to help out. She tells Perez that all staff members are volunteers. Again, he says, “Wow.”
Ross rushes past. Between examining a woman with a nasty undiagnosed skin condition that’s causing open sores up and down her torso, and checking on a concerned father of eight children who lost his job and the function in his foot when a hydraulic hammer fell on him, the doctor pauses to quote the verse from Scripture that he thinks about in this place.
It’s from Revelation: “Behold, I make all things new.”