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Helping but not preaching

The Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) on Bluff Road may not be what some think. The center, part of the Sandy Ministerial Association, was created a little over two decades ago by members of Fellowship Bible Church, and its mission is not, as some have thought, to suggest or offer abortions.

“Yes, a lot of people mistake us for Planned Parenthood, but we are not,” said PRC Director Annette Davis. “We don’t hand out birth control, and we don’t refer for abortions, and we don’t do abortions here.”

The PRC does offer free pregnancy tests and free testing for sexually transmitted diseases, as well as ultrasounds. Davis said the mission is to create a safe place for young women.

“Our intentions here are to help out any person who walks in our center who is facing an unplanned pregnancy,” she said. “If they choose to parent, then we’re here to guide them.”

The center helps close to 200 clients each year, with ages ranging from 14 to 40.

“The youngest we’ve had was 12,” Davis said.

With such volume, and the alarming age of many of the PRC’s clients, its position as a faith-based organization is something Davis said needs to be handled delicately.

“We’ll ask them their beliefs, we’ll ask if they have a belief or not,” she said. “We try to encourage them, and refer them to churches, but sometimes people are very anti-faith. We don’t push it, because we want people to come back.”

The PRC gets its money from local donations, relying on churches and fundraisers for its operating capital.

“We’re not government funded at all,” Davis said. “We do fund raising too, we do the baby bottle fundraiser from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day, when people get a baby bottle and fill it up with change and bring it in. And this year we’re going to hold our silent and oral auction Oct. 4 at Sandy Baptist Church. It’s a dessert and then we get donated items from businesses for people to bid on.”

While the PRC is a pro-life organization, Davis said they will work with young women who would like to have an abortion.

“If they’re wanting to terminate the pregnancy, then we let them know that we do not refer abortions,” Davis said, “but we do answer their questions and give them information on the procedure.”

Davis said the center will also work with young women to help them monitor their baby’s health. “Sometimes it changes their minds,” she said. “We also give them information on adoption agencies. I always tell the girls that if they are going to terminate, that we’re here to support them. But we want them to realize that, ‘Look, this is what’s going to happen, this is what you will put your body through.’ I always tell the girls, ‘You know I cannot make your decisions for you, I can only inform you.’”

Beyond the advice, the PRC is very much a resource, with education and clothing services combined.

“When women come in and decide to proceed with their pregnancy, we offer to show them parenting class videos, and each time they participate they earn Mommy Money that they can use to shop in our retail center.”

The retail center offers donated clothes and baby supplies, allowing clients access to necessities they might not otherwise have.

Davis said she came to her position through personal experience.

“My daughter was born with half a heart,” she said. “The doctor that advised me said if this would have been a pregnancy, he would have advised me to abort her.”

Davis and her husband were given options. One of them was to take their newborn daughter off life support. They chose to save her, and Davis said today her daughter is a healthy 13-year-old.

“After all that, I definitely had a passion for the ministry,” Davis said. “I decided I definitely want to work with young women.”