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Wilkinson focuses on abortions at Gainesville Care Center fundraiser
Bruce Wilkinson, author of the No. 1 best-seller "Prayer of Jabez," speaks at the Gainesville Care Center annual gala fundraiser in the First Baptist Church banquet hall on Tuesday night. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

Gainesville Care Center celebrated its 25th year at its annual gala fundraiser Tuesday night.

More than 800 people packed into the banquet hall of the First Baptist Church on Green Street to show their support for the center.

Bruce Wilkinson, author of the best-selling book "Prayer of Jabez" and keynote speaker, said the center saved more than 40 babies in 2011 through its Christian pro-life ministry.

Wilkinson said he's focused his attention on the issue of abortions in this country and it's time for the American people to rise up like never before. He said there are 500 abortions a year in Hall County.

Wilkinson said he spoke from the perspective of God the Father rather than the mother with an unwanted pregnancy or the aborted child.

"When God forms a child in the womb he has a destiny for that child," Wilkinson said. Several audience members shouted "amen."

To showcase the lives that have been changed since the center opened in 1987, 25 women walked across the stage carrying signs saying what they chose. Many women walked across the stage with their children and a sign that read "I chose life." Others, like Lynn Hurley, chose healing.

Hurley has worked with the center as a volunteer client assistant and has been teaching the post-abortion Bible study for the last 14 years.

Hurley said a decision she made when she was a 21-year-old college student to end an unwanted pregnancy left an emotional scar that has healed, thanks to the center.

"I have never felt loneliness of a greater magnitude than on that day in the abortion clinic," Hurley told the Times in an email last week.

She said the procedure changed her life in ways she wouldn't have imagined. She said she dealt with her feelings of guilt and shame by pushing them aside.

But the difficult emotions surfaced anytime the word abortion was uttered, anytime she saw a baby or a pregnant woman, on Mother's Day, on her due date and on the anniversary of the abortion.

"I wish someone could've told me my abortion would cost so much more than the money I paid for it," Hurley said.

Hurley said she has now accepted God's forgiveness and tries in her class to help other women struggling with the same emotions she did.

"Sometimes I think that it's very hard for someone who has never been through (an abortion). People don't really know how to respond, so that's what makes the class so great. These are women who have gone through the same feelings," Hurley said.

The care center offers the post-abortion classes to both men and women, provides educational resources on the other options in an unwanted pregnancy and provides testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The center also offers women a free pregnancy test and an ultrasound.

"It's so easy to pretend something isn't there but an ultrasound gives them a window to the womb," Hurley said. "It's amazing to see how many times they just immediately fall in love with the baby."