Different Name but Same Mission
Life Choices Women’s Care was originally founded as the Lutz-Land O’Lakes Pregnancy Center in May 2009 by three people from two Catholic churches who envisioned a pregnancy resource center in their community. Just north of Hillsborough County (which includes Tampa) is Pasco County, Florida. Pasco County does not have an abortion mill, but neither did it have a pregnancy resource center, and women were traveling to Hillsborough for abortions. Within months, four Catholic parish respect life committees and several other Christian churches were supporting the original founders in both their vision and mission to help women in an unplanned pregnancy choose life for their babies. It opened its doors to its first clients in August 2009 and the need was immediately apparent. This past year has been one of remarkable growth and change.
In May 2011, with the assistance of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), the organization made the transition from pregnancy resource center to a medical clinic. In June, the Lutz-Land O’Lakes Pregnancy Center became LifeChoices Women’s Care in order to be more easily identifiable to younger, abortion-vulnerable women. (It has also been a great name for the post-abortion healing ministry; the term “pregnancy center” was dropped as it is sometimes a very painful reminder for the post-abortive women and men participating in the Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma, or HEART, program.) And, in September, LifeChoices was able to move to a larger location, almost doubling its space while reducing the overall rent!
The primary mission of LifeChoices Women’s Care, however, continues to be the provision of compassionate and empowering care as well as information and support.
The business model at LifeChoices Women’s Care is unique in that there is a registered nurse and sonographer on duty during all hours of operation. The center will soon have an additional registered nurse trained in limited obstetrical ultrasound as well. The medical care facility offers free pregnancy testing, free ultrasounds, free nursing assessment, and free prenatal vitamins. Ultrasounds are offered three days a week, all day long, whereas most other centers only have an ultrasound technician available during limited hours one or two days a week. The ultrasound machine at LifeChoices is capable of both 2D/3D photos as well as 4D live scanning which patients can view on a 24-inch flat screen monitor. In addition, patients can text questions directly to the nursing staff at LifeChoices.
With the local community’s support, LifeChoices Women’s Care served more than 1,200 women and children in 2011. Many of these women would have chosen to abort their babies if it were not for the ministry. With a servant’s heart, those who give of their time and talents at LifeChoices Women’s Care are able to empower women and men to make life-affirming decisions regarding pregnancy through peer counseling, education, and compassionate care.