Choosing a Good Life
In keeping with the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ’s belief that “All life is sacred and deserves respect and protection,” The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation proudly supports Women’s Care Center and A Hope Center. Both provide services to those with crisis and unplanned pregnancies and encourage them to choose life. Behind both is a deep care for the life of the child, as well as the mother and father.
Women’s Care Center began in South Bend, Indiana in 1984. According to Anne Koehl, it was started to protect the children and their mothers. She says that before there were “no protections for the women.” There was no place to turn. Tragically, many turned to abortion as an option, oftentimes in dangerous and unsanitary conditions.
A Hope Center shares this mission. In his role there, David Misner admits that he sometimes feels like “a man in a woman’s world.” However, at A Hope Center, Misner feels his involvement “allows us to do a lot with the fathers” and to “focus on the whole family unit,” with their Fatherhood Ministry. What’s more, the fathers can provide a great deal of strength and encouragement to the mothers during the visit.
The key to the whole process, Misner and Koehl both agree, is creating a caring environment and to simply give them the information. Koehl notes that it is significant that this comes from “someone who doesn’t benefit financially”—like a doctor who performs abortions. Both organizations offer free ultrasounds. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Misner tells the stories of parents who are momentarily speechless after seeing their child for the first time. At both A Hope Center and Women’s Care Center, over 90% choose life for their child after the ultrasound.
Today there are zero abortion clinics left in Allen County. These two organizations deserve much of the credit for this. However, there are still many new parents in unplanned pregnancies who need support. Many new mothers and fathers return for parenting classes, by which they earn credits that can go toward baby supplies, like diapers and clothing, onsite at each organizations’ locations.
By supporting both A Hope Center and Women’s Care Center, The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation maintains the Poor Handmaids’ commitment to respect all life “throughout all stages of existence, from conception to death.” The Poor Handmaids’ value of community is also advanced, by strengthening the bonds of families in Allen County. For these reasons, we at the Foundation feel blessed to be able to support both organizations in our shared mission.
Written by: Charlie Klingenberger, Communications Intern