By Katrina Genereux/Staff Writer, OND
Jan. 22 was the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the United States. A study published in the winter 2017 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons surveyed around 1,000 women seeking post-abortion services at crisis pregnancy centers. It found that nearly 74 percent of the women “disagreed that their decision to abort was entirely free from even subtle pressure from others.”
There are eight pregnancy resource centers within and near the Diocese of Crookston providing education, resources and alternatives to abortion. These organizations support women, men and families with difficulties throughout and beyond pregnancy. Some of these organizations also provide counseling or referrals for post-abortion support.
BEMIDJI: NORTHWOODS PREGNANCY CARE CENTER
According to their website, the vision of the Northwoods Pregnancy Care Center is to help build a culture where life is sacred and lives are transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and where every woman is free to – and supported in – choosing life for herself and her unborn child. Their website states that from January to June 2016, they served 19 new clients and 55 returning clients. During the same time frame in 2017, they had 52 new clients and 88 returning clients.
Location: 609 Bemidji Ave N, Bemidji, MN
Contact: 218-444-3035, after-hours: 800-712-4357
Services: Pregnancy testing; mentoring; counseling; education; referrals for community services; post-pregnancy support; free items for mothers, fathers and babies; transportation; post-abortion and miscarriage counseling; and support groups.
How to help: Pray; volunteer; donate $5 gas cards, diaper bags, baby items, and office supplies. For information about making financial contributions, visit: www.northwoodspregnancy.com/invest-home
DETROIT LAKES: HEALTH RESOURCES
Britton Ramsey became the Executive Director of Health Resources at the start of January.
“I am new to the organization, but I love seeing the smiling faces of the women we serve. They continually tell us we make a difference in their lives, which is amazing to be a part of. We are newer to Detroit Lakes, so we are excited to educate the community on the services we provide and reach out to the people who we can show God’s love to,” she said.
According to Ramsey, Health Resources currently has seven clients attending classes one to two times per week to earn points toward items in the baby boutique. In 2017, 12 pregnancy tests and 12 ultrasounds were performed, but Ramsey, it predicts those numbers will increase in 2018.
“Our typical client has been referred from another source and is looking to obtain additional education on pregnancy and parenting, however, we are increasing our awareness in the community and are getting more people interested in having pregnancy testing done here,” she said.
Health Resources also has the capability to offer first trimester ultrasounds, something they’ve been doing for one year.
“For most clients, seeing their baby for the first time makes it real to them,” Ramsey said. “It’s a great motivation to start making healthy changes in their lives.”
Location: 904 Lake Ave, Detroit Lakes, MN
Contact: 218-844-8822, or after-hours: 800-712-4357
Services: Pregnancy tests; ultrasounds; pregnancy counseling; prenatal, parenting and childbirth classes; support programs to earn baby items; STD testing; post abortion support and life coaching.
How to help: New baby items can be dropped off at their office, and monetary donations can be mailed to their office or made on their website.
FARGO: FIRST CHOICE CLINIC
Angela Wambach, the Executive Director of FirstChoice Clinic, founded a pregnancy center in Duluth, but when she moved to the Fargo area almost six years ago, she wanted to stay involved in similar work.
“I love seeing the families and babies that we serve and how they have been helped by the services provided by the clinic and staff,” she said.
According to Wambach, FirstChoice is contacted by an average of 140 clients per month. Most of them are looking for pregnancy testing and options counseling. They also offer post-abortion support.
Wambach said the clinic doesn’t get many requests for post-abortion support, but added, “it is something that may come up with our clients while working through a current pregnancy.”
FirstChoice has one-on-one support available, but usually makes referrals to Rachel’s Vineyard, a national ministry providing retreat weekends for healing after abortion.
The clinic has been offering ultrasounds for the past 20 years, performing more than 500 per year. Wambach said along with effecting the women, ultrasounds also impact their support people such as the father or the woman’s parents and family.
Location: 1351 Page Dr., Suite 205, Fargo, ND
Services: Pregnancy testing, limited ultrasounds, pregnancy options information, prenatal and parenting classes, community resource referrals, post abortion recovery resources and referrals, and fertility care education and resources.
How to help: Prayer, sharing their mission with others, and donations of new baby essentials such as diapers, wipes, clothes and bottles. They also welcome financial donations and have many fundraising opportunities throughout the year. Visit www.teamfirstchoice.com for more information.
GRAND FORKS: WOMEN’S PREGNANCY CENTER
The Women’s Pregnancy Center has been serving Greater Grand Forks since 1987 and welcomes women and men of all ages who seek support.
According to their website, the mission of the Women’s Pregnancy Center is to impact the lives of women and men through education by equipping them to make life-affirming choices that will positively affect their futures, their families and the communities in which they live.
Most clients who visit the pregnancy center are between the ages 16-24 and are vulnerable to choosing abortion because of their circumstances. They need information and someone to talk to about their situation.
Their website states that since adding the capability for ultrasounds, the number of clients seeking services has increased 40 percent.
Location: Grand Cities Mall, 1726 S Washington St., Grand Forks, ND
Services: Pregnancy testing, first trimester ultrasounds, STI and STD testing and treatment, abortion pill reversal, parenting classes to earn baby boutique items and referrals to community resources.
How to help: Volunteer, take part in annual fundraising events, donate baby items, or assist financially by mailing a donation or visiting their supporter website at: www.friendsofgfwpc.org.
MOORHEAD: BIRTHRIGHT OF FARGO-MOORHEAD
Birthright of Fargo-Moorhead is part of a network of centers supporting women, babies and families through a personal response.
Cathy Schwinden, President of the Board for Birthright Fargo-Moorhead, said they average one woman a month coming in for pregnancy tests. However, she said almost 1,200 people visited their office during the past year seeking help.
“It’s kind of a surprise, the majority of the people who come to us for help are married and it is poverty that they are dealing with,” she said. Schwinden said the cost of diapers, formula and other necessities makes it difficult on women and families who may already be struggling to make ends meet.
“Maybe you live in a shelter, maybe you have an abusive partner or spouse, maybe you’re alone and you have a little one or two already and are struggling,” she said.
Schwinden referred to their current strategy as the “First 1,000 Days” model. “That is something that has come about with research that the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life are crucial. That would include nine months of pregnancy up to approximately age 2,” she said.
Schwinden said sometimes pro-life people are criticized for not caring about the babies or women after birth.
“We want every baby beyond being born, certainly, to get a good start in life. That’s where we see lots of people struggling and that’s the people who come to us for help and we believe that’s a very pro-life thing to do,” said Schwinden.
Location: 715 11th St N, Suite 103 C, Moorhead, MN
Services: Pregnancy testing, information about pregnancy, assistance finding prenatal care, information about adoption resources, free maternity and baby clothing and referrals to community services.
How to help: Volunteer or donate new or gently used baby clothing through size 2T, maternity clothing, diapers, or formula. Financial donations are also accepted. Contact Birthright of Fargo-Moorhead for more information, or make donations through Giving Hearts Day on Feb. 8.
PARK RAPIDS: PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTER OF THE PARK RAPIDS AREA
According to Scott Stewart, Executive Director of the Pregnancy Resource Center of the Park Rapids Area, an average of 35 new clients visit each year. Last year, he said the center received 370 visits from new clients and those returning for classes or other support. “We are incredibly blessed to be able to work here to help mothers and babies and families,” he said.
Since the center’s founding in 1997, their mission has broadened to support mothers, babies and families through the first years of a child’s life. “When the baby is born, we don’t say ‘OK, that’s the end of it’, because it isn’t. That’s a new life. If we’re able to help the family, that’s less stress for the family,” Stewart said. “The less stress they have definitely makes a difference for the safety, care and health of the baby.”
He said a key part of the center’s work with mothers and mothers-to-be is the ability of Client Services Director Candace Reams to build relationships with clients and their families. “That is very, very important to us, being a place where people feel comfortable so they can come in here,” Stewart said.
Location: 200 6th St. West, Park Rapids, MN
Services: Free pregnancy testing; peer counseling; education; emotional and spiritual support; abstinence education; STD/STI information; referrals for community services; pregnancy and parenting classes to earn supplies; and material assistance for mothers, babies, toddlers and families. How to help: Pray, make financial contributions, or donate new or used clothing, bedding, blankets, toys, beds, etc.
ROSEAU: NORTH REGION PREGNANCY CARE CENTER
The North Region Pregnancy Care Center in Roseau has been open for 14 years. It offers free pregnancy testing as well as information about abortion, pregnancy and adoption from a pro-life perspective. They also have a Positive Alternatives grant from the Minnesota Department of Health that allows them to offer incentives for pregnant women who attend pregnancy, parenting or life skills classes.
“A woman can easily earn all the diapers, baby bed and clothing needed just by taking these classes,” said Brenda Yanok, Director of the North Region Pregnancy Care Center.
Yanok said on average, four women per month come in for pregnancy testing and eight women per month continue attending the classes that are offered.
“It is a joy to see children grow up who would not have been allowed to live,” she said. “We have reduced abortions in this area and because we build long-term relationships with these women, we often see very good outcomes in what could have been a bad situation.”
Location: 1307 3rd St NE, #101, Roseau, MN
Services: Pregnancy testing, support and information about options, earn while you learn parenting and pregnancy education, material goods assistance, maternity and baby items, resource referrals and post-abortion support.
How to help: Pray, become a board member, volunteer, donate money, diapers and baby items.
THIEF RIVER FALLS: LIFECARE PREGNANCY CENTER
“The LifeCare Pregnancy Center wants to help anyone that feels fear and uncertainty during a pregnancy at any time,” said Bridget Cardinal, Office Manager and Client Service Coordinator at LifeCare Pregnancy Center.
Cardinal said between three and seven new clients contact them per month looking for services. The center also has 15-30 clients enrolled in their Earn While You Learn program.
“The young woman meets one-on-one weekly with a Client Services Educator that provides her with education specific to her needs,” said Cardinal. “We know that this program makes a positive impact on the parent/child relationship.” By attending pregnancy, childcare or relationship classes, clients earn “baby bucks” to exchange for clothes, cribs, diapers and other items donated to the center’s baby boutique.
They also work with men and women who need post-abortion support. “Some may feel it right away, others may not until months or even years later. We try to help them work through their emotions and remorse that may come with it. Giving them hope through the love and forgiveness of Christ is something that we pray each of them will experience.” The center encourages people to attend a post-abortion healing retreat through Rachel’s Vineyard.
Location: 204 LaBree Ave N, Thief River Falls, MN
Contact: 218-681-1279, after-hours: 218-689-5454
Services: Pregnancy testing; education; information about pregnancy, abortion risks and adoption; post-abortion care and support; nutrition education and cooking classes; CPR and First Aid training; and referrals for community services.
How to help: Pray for the clients and all unborn children, donate baby items, volunteer with the Fall Walk for Life in Thief River Falls or annual spring banquet. Visit their website or call for more information about their fundraising efforts.