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Pregnancy centers still in action

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To preserve critical personal protective equipment for medical professionals handling patients with COVID-19, many doctors are seeing patients only via telehealth, or not at all. Elective or non-essential surgeries have been postponed, except abortions. And as long as abortion clinics remain open, many pregnancy resource centers employees have decided to keep working, too.

Some states such as Ohio and Alabama attempted to suspend abortions during the pandemic, but the courts have allowed them to continue. Only in Texas has a judge ruled that the government can mandate a pause to surgical abortions. Virginia abortion clinics remain open.

“Planned Parenthood is still open, so people still need somewhere they can turn that isn’t going to pressure them to have an abortion,” said Olivia McDonough, events and programs manager of the Front Royal Pregnancy Center. “They still need us to get the information and services they need.”

Though they’re operating with a skeleton staff, Front Royal Pregnancy Center is still providing ultrasounds and pregnancy tests, said McDonough. In addition to frequent sanitizing of the office, clients are screened over the phone ahead of time, their temperatures are taken at the beginning of the visit, and clients and staff wear medical masks during the visit. If families need material assistance such as diapers and formula, the staff will collect whatever they need and deliver it to the client’s car door.

A couple waits during Hope in Northern Virginia Inc.’s supplies giveaway event April 11. ZOEY MARAIST  |  CATHOLIC HERALD

hope 1“We had a pretty good spike in material assistance, especially at the very beginning when people couldn't even find stuff in the stores. They’re definitely coming and happy someone is willing to help them,” said McDonough. “We’ve seen a few clients already who have lost their jobs and we expect to see a lot more.”

In Falls Church, pregnancy resource center Hope in Northern Virginia Inc. is holding diaper drive-thrus. At their first in March, they gave away 2,300 diapers as well as baby wipes and formula. Thanks to recent assistance from donors as well as supplies donated around Christmas, the center was well-stocked but is quickly running low. On a case by case basis, they’re meeting with clients in the office to administer pregnancy tests, but other services such as parenting classes have moved online.

Executive Director Maggie Morris feels grateful she and the staff are still able to serve people in need during this unique situation. “Coming from all our governmental authorities, they’re saying essential services should stay open. They list social services that cater to low-income people, and certainly not all of our clients are low income, but the vast majority of them are,” she said.

Some services just can’t wait until after the coronavirus danger subsides. “If a (woman) is considering getting an abortion, most of them are not going to wait out the pandemic,” said Morris. “We want to be there.”

Find out more

To help the Front Royal Pregnancy Center, go here. To help Hope in Northern Virginia Inc., go here

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020