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Friday, December 14, 2012

Introducing Choices Care Pregnancy Center

According to the research group Child Trends, as reported in the New York Times earlier this year, more than half of all American children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock. In addition to this, 41% of all births in the U.S. are out of wedlock. This includes 29% of white children born to unmarried mothers, along with 53% of Hispanics and 73% of black children. Of course, millions of such pregnancies end in abortion. Truly America is awash in what is commonly deemed “crisis pregnancies.”

Since the late 1960s, in an effort to respond to such pregnancies, and to serve as an alternative to abortion, the crisis pregnancy center movement began. There are now over 4,000 such centers in the United States. Since 1987, Gainesville has been blessed with such an operation.

Formerly known as the Gainesville Care Center, Choices Pregnancy Care Center (Choices) began with a full-time staff of one and an annual operating budget of just over $13,000. That first year, the Care Center offered pregnancy tests, provided maternity and baby clothing, and 15 volunteer client assistants ministered to 182 often young and very scared young ladies.

Today, Choices has a staff of 10 and the 2013 budget will be around $400,000. Choices has 45 female client advocates, 25 male client advocates, a nurse manager, and two volunteer sonographers. They offer a variety of programs and services which range from pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, to STD tests (for male and female), to post abortion recovery support (for male and female). They also educate clients on the “adoption option” and then refer them to Christian adoption agencies in the area.

In the 25 years of its existence, Choices has served over 30,000 clients. Over 1,100 children have been spared abortion as a result of their work. In the coming year, Choices will provide services to well over 1,000 individuals, female and male.

The vision for Choices Pregnancy Care Center came about in 1985. The “core group” then consisted of Don and Sylvia DeLozier, Jim and Ethel Boone, and Brad and Mary Dunagan. The doors opened in 1987 with Sylvia DeLozier serving as the executive director.

The current director, who has held the position for the last 20 years, is Ann Gainey. Many local churches, businesses, and individuals help support the center financially. Local nurses and physicians volunteer their time to serve at the center or on the board of directors.

As a recent press release indicated, in an effort to broaden its reach and appeal to more young women and men facing an untimely pregnancy, the 25-year-old Gainesville Care Center has changed its name to Choices Pregnancy Care Center (or simply “Choices”). “We are changing our name, but the heart of our mission and services remains focused on the tiny hearts that inspire us every day,” said Ann Gainey, the organization’s long-time executive director. “Our new name also is more descriptive and will help people better understand what we do.”

The name change was a carefully thought-out decision in which even an outside consultant was hired to help in the effort. The change was made to serve the targeted constituency more broadly. The previous name was sometimes confused with nursing homes and senior adult day-care centers.

Also, the decision to go with “Choices” is an effort to reclaim the word from the pro-abortion community. “We are hoping to reclaim the word ‘choice’ and help young men and women narrow down and eliminate the choices available to them when they are facing a tough decision,” said Choices officials.

Mrs. Gainey also noted that, “Another reason for the name change is the recent opening of a second location off Winder Highway in South Hall.” She added that, “Most importantly, we wanted to attract more area young women and men in need of pregnancy information as well as our many other services.”

Those who visit Choices looking for help are treated with respect, compassion, and care by the client advocates and administrative staff whose goal it is to show them the love of Jesus in real and practical ways. Call 770-535-1413, or visit www.choicespregnancypartners.org to find out how you can be a part of this vital ministry in our community.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

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