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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Thankful for life

Uploaded: Nov 28, 2013

This Thanksgiving morning I am particularly thankful for a group of foresighted Christian leaders here in the valley who came together 25 years ago to form the Valley Pregnancy Center.

The center celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala earlier this month that featured a video with interviews with the founders. Comments by pastors Earl Heaverly (Valley Christian Center in Dublin) and Leron Heath (Valley Community Church in Pleasanton) both emphasized that the core principle guiding the founders was to demonstrate the love of Jesus for women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. It stands in sharp contrast to the protesters outside of abortion clinics and the bitter political debates.

The founders' video related the faith step of signing the lease on the tiny storefront on Amador Valley Boulevard in Dublin that would be its home for more than 20 years as well as the huge step of faith that founding executive director Barbara Saba took to leave her secure corporate job—take a substantial pay cut—and lead the center. Celebrating 25 years and hundreds of babies born to moms who used the center to make their decisions drew more than 500 people to Casa Real.

They heard testimonies from two women—a 22-year-old college student who became pregnant while in what she described as a "toxic relationship", visited the center and carried her son to term. She's now employed, enrolled in college working toward an engineering career and told the crowd that the pregnancy and her son were "the best thing that ever happened to me."

The other client who shared was a married woman with two sons (13 and 8). She told people how she had become pregnant with what could have been her second child and learned at 17 weeks that the baby would be born with Down's syndrome. Worried about the potential impact on their other child, she said they followed fear and aborted the baby. When asked how she felt after the abortion, she described feeling a deep void and a sense of loss.

Her family moved on with their lives and they started to attend church after their son started asking about Jesus from his Christian preschool program. That led to regular church attendance, Bible studies and finally to the 13-week post-abortion counseling program at the pregnancy center. She described that program as a time of healing.

She became pregnant again, again with a boy that prenatal tests determined would have Down's syndrome. This time she carried him to term—he celebrated his 8th birthday on the day of the gala. His mom now is training to be a counselor in the program.

Since moving to the Atrium building next to Stoneridge Mall, the number of clients have grown significantly. Ads on the kiosks in the mall coupled with a radio program have let more women know about the resource that is provided at no cost to them. The gala raised about $125,000 that will go directly to services because an anonymous couple underwrote the full expenses of the event.

For more information, please see
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Suzanna, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Throughout the Thanksgiving Holiday season I find myself particularly grateful for the many courageous men and women who brave violence and ignorance on a daily basis as they perform legal abortions for millions of young women who cannot afford to have children, or who cannot provide the necessary support systems children need if they are to be given a fighting chance in this society. Thanks to Republicans' inhumane policies (under the poorly veiled effort to decrease the already low rate of taxation upon the wealthy), women realize that their most realistic option is to have an abortion.

So, while the wealthy and their Republican Party puppets do everything they can to deny children rights to health, home, and nutrition, and often do so while invoking pseudo-Christian doctrine, women, faced with the prospect of increasingly diminished government support, and thus feeling the weight of the crushing conditions of poverty, opt for assistance from those who are willing to stand in harm's way while performing the needed abortion.

Posted by Linda, a resident of another community,
on Dec 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

Hi Suzanna,

When I was a young nursing student, we had to go to a planned parenthood cliniic as part of our training. At the time, I was not fully aware of my views on this subject...i was open to hearing all sides to this mostly because of my compassion for the women who felt they had no choice to make. Once I entered the clinic with my classmates, wearing our blue dresses and caps, my decision became clear. I felt a queasiness in my stomach, I saw the room and the equipment. We were emmersed in the experience of this sickening procedure. Although we didn't have to witness an actual procedure, we were in fact, forever introduced to an incredibly awful experience. I just remember how I felt inside. A couple of us left and were excused to sit outside. We saw the faces of the young women making this forever decision. Life was being taken in that building. I'm a nurse. I cannot take a life. Life is sacred to me. What a blessing this child will be!

May God bless us and help us all to see that life is worth saving In every circumstance!

Posted by Suzanna, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 1, 2013 at 11:46 am

Yeah, Nursey, after you learn how to spell immersed, maybe you can rant on about how taxpayer money is going for food stamps that help ensure against millions of America's kids going to bed hungry at night.

You talk big about other people's decisions, without showing any awareness of the kinds of rationale that go into those decisions.

You anti-women zealots talk big about Life, but when it comes to creating a society in which children are well provided for, you become suddenly quiet, except for rants about how the children NOW are the parent's responsibility. Well, that responsibility begins when they mother decides what to do with her own body. Thank goodness there are health workers who are not blinded by pseudo-moral considerations; who instead are motivated to brave harm in order to help women act as free agents.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm

One can abort and then have another fetus later that gets born...duh...

It seems to me that so many Plutonians blow their horns for fewer and fewer babies, especially racial/ethnic diversity, that it's always best to abort if there's no room in your heart to lovingly raise the baby that is undesirably different...B U S T E D!

i rest my case...

Posted by Linda, a resident of another community,
on Dec 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm


I'm not going to let you bully me. Or call me names....I am entitled to my opinion and yes! I've earned it being a nurse for many years. I'm not going to let you guilt me into thinking I'm wrong because I don't care about the poor, I work for the poor! Do you? Are you a nurse? Have you seen the suffering of dying people and comforted those left behind? Why are you so angry about a group of kind people trying to help others? Stop and be thankful for those who volunteer and give their precious time to help others. Get out there and volunteer...go help seniors, work at a food kitchen, volunteer at the hospital. Killing babies is never, ever the right thing to do regardless of a person's financial means. We live in America. The most generous country on earth! We are all so lucky to live in this be free to have our opinions...I won't let you take that away from me!

Posted by Suzanna, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm

As a nurse (hmmmm, really? ... really?), you say you feel justified in turning your back upon women who need an abortion. Like I say, I commend those who, unlike yourself, refuse to betray their oath to help people. What do you say about women who, in the past, and it looks like there will be more in the future, have died while getting an abortion because they couldn't afford one, or because so-called health practitioners like yourself refused to assist them on ideological grounds?

If you think abortion is murder, then have the courage to call women who receive abortions murderers; have the courage to call nearly 1/3 of all women in this country murderers; have the courage to say they all belong in jail because, hey, their decision to abort goes against your silly religious-ideological 'convictions'. Call me wrong, but you sound more like an ideologue to me than a nurse.

Do you know the reasons why women choose to abort? Do you know how many babies in the United States -- millions -- are receiving subminimal nutrition and are going to bed hungry? Ah, but why worry about these things when you can hide behind such bloated platitudes as 'America is the most generous nation on earth.' Wake up, Sweetie.

Awaiting you come back and tell us 1/3 of all American adult women are murderers. C'mon, we're waiting....

Posted by Linda, a resident of another community,
on Dec 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Yes Suzanne, I am a nurse. I choose not to participate in right to do so. You can\\\'t change that no matter how much you try. It\\\'s obvious I\\\'m not as strong as you...I don\\\'t fight or argue with people...but I won\\\'t be bullied. Ii shared with you my experience from a practitioner in the medical field hoping you could understand someone else\\\'s point of view. It took courage for me to do this and I hope in some small way, I gave you something to think about. Please excuse my typos....

You will be in my prayers Suzanne...peace

Posted by Suzanna, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I don't believe you, Linda. Where I come from, argument does not constitute bullying. I've asked you to take a coherent position; if you're making a 'moral' decision not to help women who are in need of assistance, I would think you'd have a coherent defense beyond the rather flatulent claim, 'it's my choice'. Of course it's your choice. Now, tell us about how, if you think your choice is correct, then those who perform abortion must be doing something wrong. Or not? Murder? Or not? You see, where I come from, when people voice their opinions, there's the expectation that the opinions can be backed up with argument. All you have done is whine about being bullied. That's why I don't believe you. Sorry. The only way to convince me and others that you've actually thought this out -- although you may of course be blindly following some religious or other superstitious path -- is by formulating a coherent argument. I don't think you have one, which is why I don't think you're a nurse. And I think you attempt to pose as one is laughably bad.

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