Abortion alternatives to be introduced to county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2003

A new center is hoping to arm expectant mothers with important information before they make a life-altering decision.

Two Hearts Pregnancy Care Center, based in Ashland, Ky., plans to open an Ironton center to focus on abortion alternatives for expectant mothers.

"We provide information and research to expectant mothers about pregnancy," said Sue Fultz, the executive director in Ashland.

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The program will refer women to maternity homes and adoption agencies, but not recommend them, Fultz said.

"Many of these girls have had no one to talk to, and that is where this

program has really helped out a lot because we have been here to talk to them," she said.

The program includes the parenting program, which is video-based and shows the first year of pregnancy including the delivery stage.

"Earn While You Learn" is another program which allows expectant mothers to earn "baby bucks."

These go toward buying maternity products and can be used up to the baby's first birthday.

Also during the pregnancy, five outfits are given to the mothers and are not included in the maternity products purchased with the baby bucks.

The center also provides post-abortion counseling education, (PACE), which lasts 10 weeks and is given to women who have had an abortion and need emotional guidance.

Information is given to the women on the risks of abortion.

Two Hearts is not a medical facility, but it does offer free pregnancy tests.

All services provided are free and the only requirement to receive these services is to be pregnant.

The program is very fulfilling to the girls and the workers, according to Fultz.

Many of the girls

have returned after their pregnancies, and most have parented their children, she said.

Fultz said the reason the group decided to open a center in Ironton is due to the need expressed by the community. She said that it seems to be difficult for women who live in Lawrence County to get to the center in Ashland.

"I have been told by certain members of a church and other agencies in Lawrence County that if the center opens, it should receive a lot of community support," she said.

Two Hearts Pregnancy Care Center is affiliated with Care Net which started in the early 1980s, and has centers in the United States and Canada.

Care Net offers professional support to the center.

The counselors at the center are all volunteers and trained to counsel and give oversight on pregnancy issues.

A meeting to give information on the center and to get input from the community is expected to be hosted July 8, though a time and place has not been determined yet.