At 39, “Nancy” has been in and out of relationships all her life, most of them dysfunctional, manipulative, abusive or all of the above.
Her relationship with the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center has been the first healthy, lasting one in her four decades of life.
That, and her relationship with Jesus, which a Care Pregnancy Center worker introduced her to.
Abused and misused from childhood on, Nancy – not her real name – said she came from substance-abusing parents, bounced from one substance-abusing and woman-abusing man to another, and became a lifelong addict herself. She lost custody of and contact with her five children (two adopted) and underwent three abortions along the way.
Mercifully referred to the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center by an adoption agency, she has been clean for four years – but only after undergoing intense in-house treatment paid in large part by the CPC, which she now works for, when she’s not working her way back to her kids.
This is what the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center does. It helps women and girls in all sorts of crises, not just crisis pregnancies – though in doing the latter, it saves lives: at least 25 to 30 in the last year alone that the center knows of.
That’s an entire elementary school classroom.
Augusta’s CPC has helped more than 1,000 girls and women through life-changing, often life-threatening problems with unplanned pregnancy, sexual and physical abuse, drug and alcohol issues, financial desperation and more in the past year.
This is some of society’s heaviest lifting. Augusta’s CPC does it on a shoestring.
That’s why so many come together each year to help the nonprofit – most notably in an annual banquet that CPC Director Susan Swanson has turned into the event of the season. In recent years her speakers have included syndicated columnists Star Parker and Cal Thomas; former Alabama Supreme Court justice and Senate nominee Roy Moore; current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson; and, this Tuesday night, Michael Reagan, adopted son of Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman. Close to 700 attendees are expected.
A radio host, commentator and author, Reagan talks of being “twice adopted” – the second time by God – after an early childhood that found him unwanted and abused.
The CPC mission is clearly near and dear to his heart, and not at all unlike his own many charitable contributions to the health and safety of children.
But Reagan may have met his match in Susan Swanson. We frankly have never met anyone who was more dogged and determined in helping girls and women in trouble, or in trying to right a wayward society that puts so many females in harm’s way. For decades, she’s been dauntless in fighting for marriage, abstinence and accountability – all the pathways toward long, healthy, functional lives.
Those pathways – simply put, the things that work – have not only ebbed in recent decades, but have even come under scorn and derision that may be unprecedented in all of human history.
Ask Amy Wax and Larry Alexander.
The professors at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of San Diego School of Law, respectively, recently wrote a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer extolling the virtues of – well, virtues.
They’ve been roundly blasted by critics and colleagues in academia.
Here’s what the two were promoting, specifically as anti-poverty measures:
“Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.”
The two professors also offer a blunt assessment of the harm done by anti-social behaviors that have become fashionable in diverse sectors of society.
In the 1940s and ’50s, such forthright counsel was the norm, the stuff of orthodoxy. Today, in politically correct 2017, it is heresy – despite the fact that Wax and Alexander argue that society’s increasing abandonment of the above precepts since the 1960s has hurt disadvantaged groups particularly hard.
“Students at Penn have demanded that the university denounce her, and many of her colleagues did so,” writes New York University social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt.
Some 54 Penn students and alumni wrote an open letter excoriating Wax and Alexander, in part, for “extolling the virtues of white cultural practices of the ’50s.”
They even called for “an investigation into Wax’s advocacy for white supremacy.”
Well, they won’t like the December 2016 results, either, of a group of bipartisan experts on poverty, moderated by Haidt and sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute. Among other things, the group called for a campaign “to emphasize the value of committed coparenting and marriage.”
“We agreed,” Haidt writes, “to urge the importance of ‘delayed responsible parenting.’ We knew that marriage promotion interventions are generally unsuccessful, but given the huge importance of marriage for the outcomes of children, we thought it was urgent to try to change social norms in poor communities.”
Susan Swanson and the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center are that campaign.
And they could sure use our help.
Tuesday’s banquet featuring Michael Reagan begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. To find out if seats are available, call the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, (706) 724-5531.