The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

October 16, 2012

Options and solutions for women at resource center

WASHINGTON — The Women’s Resource Center of Southwest Indiana will open its doors at 313 E. Main St. in the near future to provide options and solutions for women who unexpectedly find themselves pregnant and don’t know what to do.

To begin, the WRC will operate under the auspices of the Pregnancy Care Center, which was established 13 years ago to provide educational and material resources to pregnant women and new mothers who need help and don’t have a support system.

The PCC board was expanded to allow a subset of the board to oversee the WRC, according to board President Brian Johnson, but as the WRC becomes self sufficient the boards will fully separate.

“The WRC board will make its own decisions,” he said, explaining the PCC board will not micromanage the WRC.

The reason for the separation, Johnson continued, is that through the years the PCC has become less a counseling center and more a resource center to meet the material needs of new mothers by providing cribs, diapers and other necessities. While the PCC is still satisfying part of its mission, the other part of the original vision has been slowing disappearing.

“There’s still counseling going on,” he said, “but it became secondary.”

As a result, the environment became more familial with moms and children there, Johnson added, which can be intimidating and overwhelming for a woman seeking advice on an unplanned pregnancy. He said the WRC will provide a nonjudgmental, noncoercive, loving, safe environment where women can focus on the information presented to them.

According to PCC Director Micki McCullough, the PCC’s original intent was to reach out to women contemplating abortion and explain there are alternatives, such as adoption; the WRC will offer a similar service.

Counselors will educate pregnant women, using videos, ultrasound and other information, and they will not try to coerce a woman into keeping a child she can’t care for. Likewise, they’ll offer post-abortion counseling for women struggling to deal with the aftermath of that decision.

“We want to let them know they’re not pushed into a corner with no place to go,” McCullough said.

“This is a place of help.”

She said according to Indiana law, women must have 24 hours to get information on abortion before the procedure can be performed.

“Instead of driving someplace, they can get options and solutions here,” McCullough said.

“I love the location on Main Street. I think this is the perfect place to be. I want it to be a well known place, but if someone had in mind they’re not comfortable coming in the front door, we can facilitate a private meeting.”

Johnson emphasized, “It needs to be a haven, a safe place.”

Counselors will be required to have training, he said, and have to have a heart for the job. Whomever runs the ultrasound machine will have to have the medical training to do so, Johnson said. Ideally, he’d like to find a director with those qualifications.

“I believe one person could do it, but it may take two,” he said.

Though ultrasound technology will be available, McCullough said the WRC isn’t designed to compete with local doctors.

“We’re not trying to replicate services,” she explained. “Seeing the baby immediately makes a difference to some. We want to work hand in hand.”

The local Knights of Columbus helped with the acquisition of two ultrasound machines, which were donated by St. Mary’s Hospital, and the PCC purchased the building for the WRC. Office furniture was donated, grants and matching grants were obtained, and donors have given checks in support of the WRC.

“We’ve received such support from places we didn’t expect it,” Johnson said.

On Sunday there will be a fundraiser beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Stop N’ Sea in Montgomery. Grilled, marinated turkey strip dinners with baked beans, potato salad and bread will be served for a donation. All proceeds will benefit the WRC.

Johnson said the board would like to raise a year’s operating expenses to allow the WRC to become self supporting.

He said an apartment on the upper level of the building currently provides the only source of income.

No date has been set for the WRC opening, but women seeking counseling can still find it at the PCC, located at 705 Troy Rd. in the former daycare of Grace Baptist Church.

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