Choices Pregnancy Center shares its vision for the future

Troy Krause
Karen Ingle (left), Carrie Meyers and Gwenn Harrington serve as the staff for the Choices Pregnancy Center, which is  located in Redwood Falls.

For 27 years, the Choices Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Redwood Falls has been responding to the needs of the community, as it offers a variety of free services to those who are facing challenging situations in their lives.

Over more than two-and-a-half decades, those needs have changed, said Carrie Meyers, CPC executive director, and the need to help those who are facing a pregnancy to see the truth has become more and more apparent.

It is critical, said Meyers, to provide them with the best information possible. That means keeping up with technology that can help those being assisted through the CPC to see life clearly.

In early November, the Choices Pregnancy Center had scheduled an opportunity to present its 20/20 Vision for Life through a banquet and program.

Originally scheduled to be held in the spring, the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, the realities of the coronavirus hit again in November leading to the decision to cancel the banquet.

However, it was important for the CPC board and staff to share the vision with the public, and so it offered an online presentation outlining that vision.

So, what is the vision?

Within the next year, the CPC would like to begin offering a limited obstetrical ultrasound option to those who are looking for help from the CPC.

Meyers indicated the CPC has witnessed a change in what clients need or are asking for, and while emotional support, education and providing material assistance have been the backbone of its mission, and will continue to be part of the way it serves, the reality is that today’s clients are looking for more. 

According to Meyers, currently, 79 percent of pregnancy centers across the nation offer limited obstetrical ultrasound at no cost to their clients.

The CPC board of directors believes strongly that expanding its services will allow the center to better serve the community by meeting the needs of more expectant women and their families.

What is limited obstetrical ultrasound?

“It is not designed to be a full medical evaluation; rather, it is meant to provide answers to three of the most basic and important questions in the early stages of pregnancy. First, is there a heartbeat? Second, what is the approximate age of the fetus? Third, is the pregnancy safely located in the mother’s uterus?,” explained Meyers.

The CPC has partnered with NIFLA (the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates) through The Life Choice (TLC) project to bring limited obstetrical ultrasound to the pregnancy center in Redwood Falls over the next 12 months.

According to the NIFLA Web site (nifla.org), “Two decades ago, NIFLA pioneered and developed a groundbreaking pro-life medical program using ultrasound to introduce mothers to their unborn children. Today, nearly 1,200 of NIFLA’s member pregnancy centers have converted to life-affirming medical clinics.”

In addition to partnering with NIFLA, the center has maintained affiliation with Heartbeat International (international) and Elevate Life (regional), two networks of pregnancy centers that will provide it with valuable training and support opportunities, especially important as the CPC looks to train additional staff.

Also, the center was recently notified as to the award of grant funding that will greatly assist us in this transition. All of these elements have allowed the center’s leadership to move confidently into this new direction.

The Knights of Columbus stands ready to assist the CPC in raising funds for a brand-new machine as the proper time approaches.

With the addition of this new technology, the CPC would hire a part-time nurse manager to perform the ultrasounds and provide its other medical services directly.

Further, the CPC will add a volunteer medical director who will oversee and establish its protocols and practices.

According to Karen Ingle, CPC communications manager, with a nurse on staff, the CPC will be able to provide nurse-read pregnancy testing.

Eventually the hope is to also add STI/STD testing.

“Our typical clients have many questions about how their sexual activity is impacting their lives, whether they are concerned about becoming pregnant unintentionally or contracting a STI,” added Ingle. “These new services will provide them with medical insight into their sexual health, in a setting where they can go on to ask more questions and strategize for making healthier choices as they move forward.”

Even with the added technology, the CPC will be able to continue in its current location in the basement of Redwood Alliance Church.

Learn more about the Choices Pregnancy Center, its services and how to support its 20/20 vision in its Web site at www.choicespregnancycenter.com/.

– Submitted photo