HILTON HEAD—When the young woman walked into the Pregnancy Center & Clinic of the Low Country, she was afraid for her unborn baby’s life.
She and her husband were living in a mobile home with two other families, and barely scraping by to support themselves and their two children. When she found out they were having a third baby, her husband said there was no way they could afford it.
Thankfully, the pregnancy center was there to offer emotional and financial support to the couple, and a life was saved.
“These children mean so much because their lives are on the line,” said Dr. Vera Bailey, executive director. “They wouldn’t be here without the grace of God and His provision.”
The Pregnancy Center & Clinic of the Low Country will celebrate 25 years of saving lives in November — having assisted over 21,000 people — and are planning an anniversary bash for Sept. 19 to commemorate their calling.
When they first opened their doors as a crisis pregnancy center in 1990, they offered the basics: pregnancy testing, TLC, support groups, and some material assistance, said Dr. Vera Bailey, executive director.
Now, they also provide ultrasounds and free prenatal care through the 16th week of pregnancy. After 16 weeks, the expectant mother transitions to the center’s partners who take over care and continue to offer financial assistance.
One of their most unique features is the mobile clinic, purchased through the Duke Fund in 2009, which allows doctors and staff to travel through Beaufort and Jasper counties, providing services to clients within a 100-mile radius who cannot travel to Hilton Head.
Bailey, who has been at the center for 20 of its 25 years, said it’s been a blessing to work with the women and families who come through the doors.
“Oh, there are so many dramatic stories, I can’t even begin to tell them all,” she said.
Among the stories are the many families that kept in touch after the birth of their child. Bailey recalled the first mother the center worked with, who came into the office in the throes of labor and had to be whisked to the hospital by a volunteer. That mom ended up serving for many years as a volunteer herself.
“She’s a wonderful mother, and both her children are in the process of completing college,” Bailey said.
Then there are women who arrive in panic, convinced that they can’t go through with a pregnancy. Staff and volunteers pray for these women, and assure them that help will always be available. Bailey said they are not judge and jury, and stresses God’s forgiveness to each person.
Often, after seeing images of a beating heart inside their unborn child, the women return for help, unable to go through with an abortion.
Bailey said of all their 18 services, the ultrasound has been a literal lifesaver.
“It says, clearly, there is life in here; there can be no denial,” she said.
In addition to all the dramatic moments, it is the daily outreach that makes the mission worthwhile.
Amanda Bell, administrative assistant at the center, said it is awesome to watch the ultrasound images and see babies moving around, but she also finds great reward in helping families who don’t have anything.
“I love going into the closet and getting all the things on a list and giving it to the mom,” Bell said. “I love how much we can give.”
There is a lot to give, including diapers, formula, maternity and baby clothing, car seat vouchers, and more. The center also provides adoption information and referrals to licensed agencies, community presentations, and post-abortion Bible study.
Kurt and Carey Koenig, who will speak at the celebration on Sept. 19, have adopted three children from women who came to the center, and said it is the greatest gift you can give someone.
25th anniversary jubilee
The Pregnancy Center & Clinic of the Low Country will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Sept. 19 from 6-9:30 p.m. at the Sea Pines Country Club on Hilton Head Island. Details: www.pregnancycenterhhi.org/events/