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Front Royal Pregnancy Center helps women before and after childbirth

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Wedged between a bail bonds office and tai chi school in Front Royal is a storefront with the initials FRPC — Front Royal Pregnancy Center. 

The women who enter the building find themselves in tough situations — pregnant or needing to confirm a pregnancy — plagued with questions of how to be a parent or how to find the items they need to feed and clothe their little ones.

Inside, they encounter people willing to help. They will find consultation rooms, a medical room with an ultrasound machine, and baby supplies.

Time is of the essence when it comes to helping women in crisis pregnancies.

“We need the Catholic population to understand they need to be ready to be positive and supportive because the window of opportunity is short with someone who is abortion-minded,” said Kathy Clowes, executive director of FRPC. “If they are alert to someone who is abortion-minded or stressed out about a pregnancy, they need to act fast and get them to a pregnancy center, and maybe support us.”

The center opened in 1991 when a group of Catholics wanted to do the pro-life work of offering ongoing practical support to women in crisis pregnancies. It was founded on Catholic principles, affirming the value of life from natural conception to natural death without exception.

“Our faith is the strong foundation of all that we do here,” said Clowes. “Because of how we welcome and treat clients, they realize their own worth and dignity, and can then see the gift that is their child. They can gather their strength and become the protector of their child.”

Clowes said their mission is to provide emotional and practical support to women in unexpected or challenging pregnancies and beyond, to welcome and accompany them so that they can welcome their child.

The addition of an ultrasound machine in 2013 turned the office into a medical clinic, able to detect a heartbeat as early as five weeks. The ultrasound also is protecting women’s health.

"We have sent multiple women on for further evaluation, identified many cases of multiple pregnancy, and identified non-viable pregnancies, which is important for women considering abortion," said nurse manager Carla Sayre. "Sometimes time is all they need to deal with their situation and find support."  

Care for the client goes beyond the ultrasound and past the birth of the baby, with FRPC providing baby clothes for up to two years. The center also provides parenting lessons, individual lessons on pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The center receives funds from local individuals, churches, Christian schools and a small amount of income from their share of the fees from the pro-life license plates in Virginia. They receive no government funds.

“Our major fundraiser of the year is the Walk for Life Oct. 5,” said Clowes.

The theme of this year’s walk is “Now More than Ever,” which highlights the care of the clinic in the face of changing legislation. The money goes to operate the center and provide supplies for clients, said Clowes.

“We felt that the need for everyday Christians to be more alert to the need to support women is critical,” said Clowes. “Now more than ever, we are finding that the sound of the heartbeat in early pregnancy is making the difference.”

Chances are, clients will find someone with whom they can relate.

“The nice thing is we have so many different places we all come from — young, old, working through pregnancies, financial or nonfinancial straits — most of us can empathize with almost any story,” said Sayre.

“We have seen a lot, but it seems as though God matches up what their concern is with who they end up with (helping them),” said Clowes.

“Clients become our best ambassadors and become guardian angels on the lookout for other women who need our help,” Clowes said. “They encourage women to come to us, and are effective witnesses that the new person will be cared for with compassion and will be heard.”

Those ambassadors have helped the center grow from 70 clients a year to 400 clients with about 150 newly expectant moms coming each year.

“We have a great admiration for the strength and resiliency of women,” said Clowes. “If they will give themselves enough time to really look at the resources available and take time to see the child on ultrasound, they can feel more prepared before this life-changing decision.”

Find out more

Go to frontroyalpregnancy.org, call 540/635-6181 or email staff@frontroyalpregnancy.org.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

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