PTRC executive director Jenny Odom made the announcement during Thursday’s “Celebrating the Gift of Life” fundraising gala.
Odom said going medical has been a goal of the nonprofit, pro-life ministry for several years.
The first major step in that direction was taken in May 2012 when PTRC joined the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, which provides pregnancy centers with legal counsel, education and training.
PTRC board members and volunteers went through NIFLA’s medical training last November.
A medical conversion committee was formed in February 2013. Marilyn Byrd was hired as a nurse manager in May, and Dr. Jud Smith committed to being PTRC’s medical director in July.
Finally, PTRC acquired its first ultrasound machine in August.
Odom listed several benefits of becoming a medical pregnancy center.
The board and volunteer staff are anticipating more client visits once they are able to provide expectant mothers with a free proof of pregnancy, which is required by many service providers.
“We will be able to fill the gap that most of the women fall into once they leave our center, whether it is referring them to a local doctor or adoption agency, referring them to other community resources, signing them up for parenting classes. These are all things that seem to fall through the cracks, so we pray that we’ll be able to walk through the journey of their unplanned pregnancy with them,” Odom said.
Odom said offering ultrasounds will also allow clients to see the heartbeat of their unborn child.
“We pray that through us becoming a medical pregnancy center, they will be encouraged to choose life and the women will know that they are loved. Once the women can be saved, in turn the babies will be saved as well,” Odom said.
In addition to free pregnancy tests and counseling, PTRC offers a clothes closet, “Now What?” educational classes for expectant families and a post-abortion recovery Bible study.
In 2012, PTRC had 500 total client visits. The majority, 311, were for the clothes closet. Ninety were for pregnancy tests, and 91 were for “Now What?” consultations or classes.
Seven expectant mothers graduated from the “Now What?” program last year.
Odom said that other future goals of PTRC include hosting its annual “It’s a Girl Thing” conference, establishing an abstinence curriculum in the local school system and more community outreach efforts.