Abigail Pregnancy Services set a goal about two decades ago — to offer free licensed medical help, including free ultrasounds, to pregnant women who are unsure of how/if they should proceed with their pregnancy. That dream is at last coming to a realization, according to Abigail’s executive director Amanda Clark.
The 3900 Laylin Road, Norwalk location plans to open as a licensed medical facility by May. It will employ, among other positions, a medical director and at least one registered nurse.
“This was a goal for us because as a Christian-based pregnancy resource center we would like to save unborn lives from abortion, so offering the free ultrasound to woman contemplating their pregnancy can help them make a choice,” Clark said.
She said throughout Huron County about 60 to 70 babies are aborted each year. Nationally, that number jumps to about 3 million.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s most recent data, in 2015, there were 638,169 legally-induced abortions reported from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2015 was 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years.
The free ultrasound will be offered for pregnant women who are still considering parenting, adoption or abortion, and is made possible by the donations made by others in the community.
“We are solely run on donations,” Clark said. “A lot of local churches and business keep us going.”
The ultrasound should be scheduled within the first trimester of pregnancy, Clark said, adding the ideal window is about four to six weeks after conception.
At the beginning of her appointment, the mother would take a free pregnancy test to ensure she is indeed pregnant and then from there medical staff would “determine the viability of pregnancy” and determine a projected birth date. Clark said because the center is a Christian-based non-profit, no insurance is accepted or billed and income is not a factor — anyone still unsure of their decision can take advantage of the services. Those interested need only provide a photo ID.
Those looking to take advantage of the services need not identify themselves as a Christian. In fact, Clark said about 95 percent of the women they help say they are not of a faith-based background.
Clark said getting an ultrasound helps a woman realize the beauty of what’s happening to and inside her body. It affects women and their families so much that getting an ultrasound increases the chances of her carrying the baby to term by 90 percent, she said.
But Abigail’s assistance doesn’t stop there.
After the ultrasound and after the mother has time to think about her decision, if she wishes, the center will offer free classes and assistance.
If she decides to be a birth mom through adoption or if she chooses to parent her child, the center offers maternity clothes, infant formula, diapers and even clothing for children aged new born through 3 years.
Class include ones for new parents, on being a single parent, on caring for babies, caring for a child through his or her first year of life and in caring for children under 3 — covering potty training, disciplining and more. Abigail also is looking to offer more toddler classes to parents to assist through that stage of life as well.
“All of us are very passionate that volunteer and serve at Abigail,” Clark said. “We are just as passionate about the life of the mom as the life of the child. That’s what makes us a little different I think. Some people focus only on the unborn child, whereas we focus on both the child and the mother.”
Clark said after the grand opening, which is tentatively planned for May, the facility most likely will keep the same hours of operation as the rest of the organization; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at both its Norwalk and 124 W. Maple St., Willard locations. For more information, to talk with an administrator or nurse, or to schedule an appointment, call Norwalk’s location at 419-668-9500 and Willard’s location at 419-951-6109. Appointments also can be made online at anytime at https://www.abigailpregnancyservices.org/.