Abby Ritter, a senior at the Institute of Notre Dame who volunteers at Pregnancy Center North for her Christian Service Hours, picks out a selection of clothes to include in a layette for a six-to-nine-month-old child Aug. 30. (Tom McCarthy Jr. | CR Staff)
After 30 years, pregnancy center aiming to become medical center
By Maria Wiering
TOWSON – Pregnancy Center North in Towson has served women from a second-story office at 6805 York Road for nearly 20 years. Now the crisis pregnancy center is seeking a new location in the same area – a move prompted by its goal of becoming a medical facility, which will allow it to offer ultrasounds to pregnant clients.
The transition coincides with the center’s 30th anniversary, which it is celebrating with a banquet Sept. 27 at Columbus Gardens in Nottingham.
Since 1982, Pregnancy Center North has helped women with unplanned pregnancies choose life, not abortion, for their unborn children by offering pregnancy testing, counseling and material assistance.
Cindi Ritter, Pregnancy Center North’s executive director, says that providing free ultrasounds will further its mission.
According to several studies, a woman who is considering abortion is less likely to abort after viewing an ultrasound of her baby.
“When (women) see the heart beating, and little arms waving, and they see there really is a life in there, they’ll choose life,” said Ritter, a parishioner at St. John the Evangelist in Hydes.
The Knights of Columbus of the Bishop Sebastian Council No. 5058 from St. Isaac Jogues, Carney; St. Thomas More, Baltimore; and St. Ursula, Parkville, are donating funds for the ultrasound machine, which the Knights’ Supreme Council in New Haven, Conn., will match, said the local council’s prolife chairman, Robert Pahr Jr.
Ritter expects the center to fulfill the state’s requirements to become a medical facility by spring 2013, she said. Two local medical professionals have volunteered to be the center’s medical director and nurse manager.
With the help of 22 regular volunteers, Pregnancy Center North is open five days per week, plus two Saturdays each month. It is funded solely through charitable contributions and has received grants from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Parishes supply the center with baby blankets, clothes, diapers and other items for new and expectant mothers. Clients can earn “mommy money” by completing pregnancy and parenthood lessons to “purchase” items for their baby.
Most of the center’s clients are low-income women, said Cookie Harris, president of the center’s board of directors and a parishioner at St. Joseph, Cockeysville.
According to the center’s 2011 annual report, 88 percent of the women it serves are single, and 46 percent have not finished high school and are not currently enrolled.
Harris hopes the center’s work can help clients break cycles of poverty or fatherless homes, she said.
The center is celebrating its 30th anniversary Sept. 27 with a dinner buffet, open bar, music, silent auction and 50/50 raffle at Columbus Gardens, 4301 Klosterman Ave., Nottingham. Archbishop William E. Lori will be the evening’s special guest.
Copyright (c) Sept. 4, 2012 CatholicReview.org