January 17, 2017 marked 30 years since Hope Women’s Centers opened its doors and hearts to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies.
Hope offers free and confidential services including pregnancy tests, limited obstetrical ultrasounds, options counseling, and referrals for women and men who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies. Hope has been a trusted source for pregnancy counseling throughout the past three decades because they do not financially benefit based on the decisions of their patients.
“We are a trusted and safe place — for men and women — where they can process the reality of their situation and make an informed decision about their future pregnancy,” said Nancy McDonald, President/CEO.
In the five years from 2011-2015, a total of 30,605 women visited Hope Women’s Centers for free services. One patient, Marah, said, “My visit to Hope Women’s Centers gave me all of the information I needed to make a decision, but more than that, they helped me believe in myself.”
Facing an unplanned pregnancy, Yakini, another patient, shared, “One of my greatest fears was what my parents were going to think about me getting pregnant – especially my Dad. When I went to Hope, they gave me lots of helpful information…not just about having a baby, but about abortion and adoption, too. I realized that there were lots of options for me and that I could make a choice that would work best for me and my family.
Giving life to Dekota helped me understand that this unplanned pregnancy wasn’t the end of my dreams – it was just the beginning of a new chapter. I still can achieve my career goals and still fulfill my purpose in life…and Dekota has given me even more inspiration and reason to succeed.”
Hope comes from humble beginnings. In 1987, a small group of concerned Christians opened the doors of Broward’s very first pregnancy clinic, offering alternatives to women who were facing unplanned pregnancies.
Margy Richardson took a step of faith and left her position as Pay Master at the Hollywood Medical Center in 1987 to work for A Woman’s Pregnancy Center as the first Executive Director prior to merging with what would later become Hope Women’s Centers.
“Over the next 28 years I witnessed God changing hearts and minds on the issue of life as I served with Hope Women’s Centers.,” said Richardson. “Not only on choosing life for the baby, but choosing eternal life through faith in Christ. I am still running into women who were thankful Hope Women’s Centers was there when they needed to hear the truth. Their positive response to the message of God’s Truth changed their lives. I praise the Lord He gave me those precious times with young women needing encouragement to do the right thing.”
As one of the first pro-life counselors in Broward County, Margy has touched thousands of lives, leading approximately 200 individuals to the Lord and she has seen in her time at Hope over 2700 babies born to her patients, approximately 540 of them to abortion minded moms.
There are currently 20 known abortion clinics in Broward County, not counting hospitals and private physicians’ offices where abortions are being performed, and more than one in three pregnancies in Broward County ends in abortion, according to McDonald.
Based on research, Hope Women’s Centers realizes that it is often men who influence a woman’s decision in an unplanned pregnancy. Some of that research explores how the involvement of birth fathers affects the woman’s pregnancy and the child’s welfare – both before and after birth. McDonald said, “The evidence is overwhelming that fathers are critical in the decision-making process when women are deciding between abortion and carrying a child to term. He is the single most persuasive influence on the woman’s decision.” Based on those findings, the staff and board of directors at Hope Women’s Centers have decided there is a great need to add counseling services for men in order to truly help women and have been moving in that direction.
In addition, Hope Women’s Centers will offer free and confidential testing and treatment for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea to all pregnancy test patients. This is made possible through a partnership with the State of Florida Department of Health, under the auspices of the Florida Pregnancy Care Network. Hope Women’s Centers is one of five organizations in the state that will pilot this STI Testing and Treatment program beginning sometime in January.
Banquet to celebrate
To help celebrate 30 years of innovative health care for women, Hope Women’s Centers will hold its 30th Anniversary Banquet on Monday, March 27.
This year’s keynote speaker is Roland C. Warren, CEO of CareNet, the nation’s largest pro-life pregnancy center network and the national organization that Hope is affiliated with.
Warren is “dedicated to the mission of improving the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children that are raised with involved, responsible and committed fathers … (and creating) a culture where women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families.”
Appointed Care Net CEO in October 2012, Roland formerly served as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), where he was dedicated to the mission of improving the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children that are raised with involved, responsible and committed fathers.
His national media appearances include The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN, C-SPAN, Dateline NBC, Fox News Channel and Black Entertainment Television. He is also the author of Bad Dads of the Bible: 8 Mistakes Every Good Dad Can Avoid.
If you want to find out more information about how you can help Hope Women’s Centers encourage and equip women and men to make informed decisions regarding unplanned pregnancies, visit www.friendsofhope.com. More information regarding patient services can be found at www.HopeWomensCenters.com.