Are there alternatives to Planned Parenthood?
By Dawn Hoagland
Where can a woman go if she thinks she might be pregnant and has questions? My Choice pregnancy care center has been around for ten years with two locations in Orange County, New York. Both centers provide caring, safe and non-judgmental support to young girls and women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
At My Choice, patients receive free confidential medical care including pregnancy testing, limited STD testing, and ultrasound exams. They also receive compassionate pregnancy guidance to fully inform them about their pregnancy and health choices. Girls need to know that they have the right to see a doctor and to find out how far along they are in their pregnancy.
An unexpected pregnancy can raise many questions and fears for young women. Some girls have little or no support from their family or the birth father. The counselors at My Choice offer a shoulder to cry on, open hearts and open minds for listening and responding with kindness to anyone who comes to the center. It provides a soft place to fall.
The goal is to educate girls about their bodies, their health, and the choices they have as they accept the fact that they have a baby growing inside of them. A person might think they are too young or too old to have a baby. They may think they are too poor or too alone to have a baby. They might worry about being in the middle of school or a career. My Choice counselors are available to talk things through creating a personalized solution plan for each patient.
Counselors may refer patients to the Orange County Department of Health which offers an extensive array of services for anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly pregnant and wants to keep their baby. There are programs available to overcome difficulties due to poverty, young age, schooling, unemployment or lack of family support.
The OC Department of Health offers programs to ensure that women get proper medical care during pregnancy and birth, as well as assistance with housing needs, job training, well baby care and parenting classes. Orange Community College offers childcare for girls who want to finish their schooling while mothering their baby.
Some girls decide that it would be best to give their baby to a loving couple who is longing to begin a family. So many young married couples are finding themselves unable to conceive after years of trying to start a family. My Choice can assist with the process of finding a great home for mothers who want to give the ultimate gift of life to others.
My Choice does not offer abortion services but it does offer non-judgmental support to girls and women who have had abortions and want to talk about their experience and learn how to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the future. My Choice pregnancy centers exist to educate and support women no matter what decision they ultimately make.
There were 1800 babies aborted in Orange County in 2015. Girls and women need access to more choices. There is such a demand for babies to adopt that it seems like we could make unwanted pregnancies a thing of the past. My Choice centers can help young girls in crisis situations access all of the help that they would need to carry their baby to term in order to allow a loving family to adopt their baby. What a beautiful solution to a perceived problem!
Churches and individuals may be interested in supporting the work of My Choice and seeing their footprint in Orange County grow. New centers can be opened as soon as they have enough financial support to rent a space, buy furnishings, and hire staff. It would be great to see this resource available to our community in as many places as possible so that more women could access services closer to their homes.
Churches can decide to become sponsors of My Choice by pledging a monthly donation or an annual gift which would be tax exempt because it is a non-profit organization. Individuals can participate in monthly gifting as well at any rate they are comfortable with. My Choice is fully funded by donations and does not accept any money from local, state or federal agencies.
Anyone who would like to support the work of My Choice should contact them at (845) 561-3057 or visit their website at https://mychoicepcc.com/services/. There are other ways that people can support My Choice as well by offering their skills, time, and energy. For instance, volunteers are needed to pass out flyers at outreach events at schools and colleges to let girls know about My Choice.
Orange County and My Choice care about our girls and women who find themselves with unexpected pregnancies. Please spread the word about the free and confidential services that
My Choice has to offer and become a financial donor or a volunteer if you would like to be part of this important work in New York.
Dawn Hoagland is a teacher and writer who lives in upstate New York. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.