Ohio center continues to engage, equip, and empower women

By Patty Knap

Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County client and baby
Photo: Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County

In Wooster, Ohio, the Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County just wrapped up another year of dedication to women in unplanned pregnancies. Whether before or after the overturning of Roe v. Wade with the 2022 Dobbs decision, the Pregnancy Care Center, similar to organizations across the pregnancy help movement, has persisted in meeting the needs of clients, whatever they may be.

Established in 1984, the Christ-centered pregnancy help medical clinic has seen thousands of young women who have benefited from the care and dedication shown to them.

Engage, Equip, Empower. This motto directs the approach to serving every client who comes to the center, said Bekah Hilty, executive director. Staff and volunteers know that employing these three tenets are the best and most practical way to reach the women who come to them. It guides clinic personnel in providing clients with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.  

The center sees up to 400 clients a month. 

“We’re definitely seeing more women now who are undecided, or abortion minded,” Hilty said. “Before it was a lot more just confirming pregnancy.”

That means it’s crucial that the pertinent information be relayed to these abortion-vulnerable clients, and ultrasounds conducted as soon as possible.

An impressive 83 volunteers keep parenting classes, learn to earn, and mentoring programs running smoothly. 

Mentoring can be an enormous source of strength and support for a young woman, especially if she doesn’t have any supportive family around her. A client advocate might take the young mom to a doctor’s appointment, call her to chat, help her move to a new apartment, get together for lunch, and answer any questions.  

This center also offers a men’s mentoring program and mentoring for incarcerated women or those staying in a residential drug rehab center.

Hilty shared the dramatic difference it can make for a young woman to be offered encouragement and compassion. 

“One of my favorite client stories is Kaitlyn,” she said.

“When she first came to us, she was abortion vulnerable,” Hilty said. “She was in a pretty tough situation, and she wasn’t sure how she would be able to raise a child given her circumstances.”

“And you could tell she was down, and she was scared, and your heart just went out to her,” said Linda Dews, and RN at the center. “We came over here and we did the ultrasound and just prior to doing that I was able to share with her that no matter what she decided we’d be there for her.

“When a girl comes to us in that type of a situation, the most important thing we can do is listen,” said Hilty, “to try find out why she feels she can’t carry a child. 

Before she was offered a sonogram, a client advocate was able to share with Katlyn that no matter what she decided, they would be there for her. 

“She needed that support; she needed that encouragement and that love,” Hilty continued. “She thought she was seven or eight weeks pregnant, but we discovered through the ultrasound she was 22 weeks pregnant.”

“In listening to her situation, we were able to say, ‘Look we can help you! We got this! Here are the ways we can support you,’” said Hilty.

“It’s just wonderful,” Dews added. “And I just wish more people knew what we have to offer.”

Kaitlyn started taking parenting classes and formed a relationship with her client advocate. 

“That helped a lot,” Hilty said. “And then she had her baby … And I just remember every time she came in with that newborn, that feeling, of, ‘Wow … this is a child that almost wasn’t here. And I got to hold the baby.’”

Hilty said that people ask her all the time, what’s different since the overturn of Roe

“And the simple answer is, nothing,” said Hilty. 

“Since its inception, our organization has existed to help women and families who are facing a crisis pregnancy, and we continue to do that,” she said.

“Every week our staff and our volunteers get the opportunity to pour into the lives of the women we serve,” said Hilty. “And it really is a privilege to serve them. We build such strong relationships with our clients.”

A 15-year-old who didn’t know where to turn was told about the pregnancy center. There she was supported in having her baby. 

“They’ve just been there, whatever I need,” the client said. “So helpful from day one.” 

One recent client expressed her gratitude along with others in a testimonial video.

“It’s amazing that there are people out there,” she said. “They don’t even know you and there’s this amazing support that they give. It’s made a huge impact on my life and in preparing for him (her son). It makes a world of difference to find these people that give out of the goodness of their heart.”

“From the bottom of my heart I’m just so appreciative,” the client added. “To find these resources … they had diapers and clothes for my little boy, and even for my two other children they offered me things … I don’t know where we’d be if not for them.”

Editor’s note. This appears at Pregnancy Help News and reposted with permission.