PRICE — "Our hot line received its highest volume of calls this past February, and we attribute that to the fact that the high school held a dance in November," said Sara Pia, director of the Life Line Pregnancy Center in Price.
Life Line Pregnancy Center is a pro-life non-profit ministry of Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish, Price. Life Line is dedicated to reaching out to women and teens facing unplanned pregnancies in Carbon and Emery counties. The center is run by volunteers, and the hot line is available 24 hours a day. The center also offers a free pregnancy test, counseling, options for dealing with the pregnancy, maternity and baby clothing, newborn diapers, and sometimes feeding supplies, which are all donated from the community.
"In February, we received 75 calls to our hot line, 53 visits to the center. Of those 43 were for pregnancy tests of which 40 were positive, and the other 10 were for counseling or clothing. We received 40 calls in March," said Pia. "We had teens who went to the dance in November, skipped their menstrual cycles in December and January, and then realized they were in trouble in February.
Pia said the age range of those who call the hot line or come into the center is anywhere from 12 to 46. But the majority are between 16 and 20 years of age. They also see a high number of college students because the girls are away from home, away from their families, and they come in for emotional support and counseling.
"We are pro-life, so we offer choices other than abortion," said Pia. "If we feel we have done all we can do, and they still choose to have an abortion, we tell them we offer post-abortion counseling as well. We always support the clients and we never turn our backs on them. We also have those women who come in for post-abortion counseling that we have not seen in the center before but are having trouble dealing with the effects of an abortion.
"When you have post-abortion syndrome, you start out with feelings of relief and it is different for every woman," said Pia. "For some women the relief lasts for a few weeks, for others it may last several months or even years. After the feelings of relief, women will go into denial, then anger, and then depression.
"Basically what our post-abortion group does is help the women work through the four stages of the grieving process." said Pia. "We incorporate the counseling into a bible study group at the same time, which helps them realize that God forgives them. A lot of the women or teens already believe in God, but some of them do not believe in God, and some of them have never heard of God."
Pia said there are four or five women in each post-abortion counseling group with two facilitators. She has seen women become believers during the PACE (post-abortion counseling and education) study.
"It is pretty traumatic for them to face the fact that they have taken their child’s life," said Pia. "Some of the women are still in denial while going through the PACE study. At the end of the PACE study a memorial service is held and each mother names her baby. At that point, the women acknowledge they are suffering from a loss.
"I think the world at large may not understand that a woman goes through the grieving process once they have had an abortion," said Pia. "Even women who are planning to have an abortion do not realize the emotional toll this decision will have on them in the near future. They are only thinking of the immediate relief they will receive from the situation."
The center also offers abstinence education as well as natural family planning. Since Pia started at the center last October, she has also worked with couples who were trying to get pregnant. One mother had a condition, which made it hard for her to conceive.
Some of the clients are low income, but they also range in the middle to upper middle economic classes. The lower economic class clients come in for a pregnancy test because it is free and they are on Medicaid and food stamps.
"We just started keeping statistics, and in the last six months we have had 293 calls to the hot line, 149 visits to the center, and a total of 91 positive pregnancy tests. Most of the pregnancies are unwanted and greeted with regret. The ones who are happy they are pregnant are the 14-year olds who have been kicked out of their homes with nowhere to go.
"These young teens are probably thinking they will finally have someone who will love them," said Pia. "Sometimes it is hard because we are happy for every client who is pregnant because God gave them a gift. Some of the mothers choose to put their babies up for adoption, and we work with a couple of Christian adoption agencies. We have a few parent profiles on hand because it is good for the women and teens to see that all these couples want is a baby and they could help that wish come true.
"Of the women we see, 75 percent of them will carry their babies to full term and parent them," said Pia. "Of the other 25 percent, half of them will change their minds and keep their babies and the other half will have an abortion. For the most part, if we have 10 positive tests, nine of them will give birth and parent their babies."
For more information, to donate supplies, or if you are pregnant and need help, call 1-877-636-0700.