FINAL PROJECT: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE WABASH LIFE CENTER

By Kaelyn Johnson, December 14th 2023

What is the LIFE Center?

Photo by: (Meyer, 2020).

The Wabash LIFE Center is a local nonprofit organization located in Wabash, Indiana. The organization helps women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies, and it is meant as an alternative to Planned Parenthood institutions. The organization draws from a Biblical perspective of the inherent worth of all individuals, both born and unborn.

 

Women who face crisis pregnancies experience a variety of emotions such as anxiety, fear, and shame for what they have done. They often feel alone and are afraid of condemnation and rejection. The LIFE Center’s goal is to help women know that they are not alone in their situation. The organization is there to support and walk with women during and after pregnancy. They do not shame or condemn those seeking help. Instead, they embrace them with loving arms and treat them and their unborn babies as people who are loved by God and who are precious in His sight.

Listen to Executive Director Cheryl Meyer as she recounts her own experience as a teen mom and how she became involved with the LIFE Center.

Why is the LIFE Center culturally significant?

According to the Indiana Department of Health, 9,529 abortions were performed in Indiana in the year 2022. Of those abortions, 6,401 of them occurred during less than eight weeks of gestation, 3,024 of them occurred from nine to thirteen weeks, and 29 of them occurred when the baby was equal to 21 weeks or older (Weaver et al., 2023, p. 3). These statistics are alarming, especially for those who believe in the sanctity of human life. Psalm 139:14, Jeremiah 29:11, and Genesis 1:27 are Biblical references often used to describe the value God places on the lives of His people, especially on the unborn. Crisis pregnancy centers like the Wabash LIFE Center advocate for the Biblical view of the sanctity of all human life while providing a judgment-free space and resources for frightened mothers-to-be. These organizations are important because they give voice to the unborn, who are unable to speak for themselves.

What does the LIFE Center do for the community?

The philosophy of the LIFE Center states, “We Acknowledge the Scientific truth that each individual is indeed a human person of absolute value from the moment of fertilization to natural death” and their mission statement is, “Empowering individuals with truth. That life is for everyone, born and unborn.” The organization provides a variety of resources for those who are facing an unplanned pregnancy such as medical help, material assistance, counseling, Bible studies, and mentoring sessions. All of their resources are free and are readily available to all clients. In the year 2021, the LIFE Center moved from West Hill Street to a larger facility on Bond Street. Because of this move, the Center now has enough room for their Mommy and Me Boutique, a separate medical room, and space for various meetings.

Watch as Executive Director Cheryl Myer tells the story of how the Wabash LIFE Center transitioned to its new building, and learn about some of the benefits that have resulted from the new space.

The Medical Side

On the sign outside the building, it is advertised that the LIFE Center provides free, confidential pregnancy testing for all clients who come in. Nurse Manager Amanda Holmes gave more details about the medical side. She said that there is always an advocate (a LIFE Center volunteer) who goes with the client to the medical room when it is time for the pregnancy test, and the advocate is also there for the limited OB ultrasounds. Once the test has been conducted, and if it is negative, then the client can come again ten days to two weeks later for another test, free of charge. Otherwise, if the test is positive, then Holmes will go over the approximate due date, as well as OBGYNs if the client is unsure where to go for medical care. There are also prenatal vitamins given to women free of charge throughout their pregnancies, and specially made baby blankets and little hats are given to the expecting mothers with every positive test.

Holmes described a time when the limited OB ultrasounds, used for dating and measuring the heartbeat, have helped to change a client’s decision on whether or not to have an abortion. She said,

 

“One young girl came in for a test…she wanted to keep the baby, but she was being pressured to seek an abortion…they actually went to a Planned Parenthood…but she actually came back in [the LIFE Center] and said that while they were there at Planned Parenthood, whatever was said to her here, she had just told them, ‘No, I’m keeping the baby.’ And so, we don’t get a lot of feedback like that, so that’s nice to hear.”

The resources at the LIFE Center are not only for women who choose to keep their babies. Holmes said, “we love on all the girls…we are here for them, and if they’ve had an abortion, we hope they would come in, ‘cause we do have an abortion recovery Bible study that we can go through with them.” The staff and volunteers at the LIFE Center ultimately want to make sure that the women who come in feel like they are supported and know that they have someone to talk to or cry with if need be. They also want to make sure every client knows the truth about her baby and is aware of all her options, regardless of the final decision she makes about parenting.

Listen to Nurse Manager Amanda Holmes give her testimony about working at the LIFE Center.

Here are some photos from the medical side of the LIFE Center.

The Material Assistance Side

Along with medical assistance, the LIFE Center also provides material assistance. According to Emily Nesler, the Client Service Manager,

“on the boutique side, we have some volunteers that come in and…we have to sort the donations, clothes, diapers, all of that; and then we also have to make sure that they’re washed, and so we have volunteers that do that, and then they meet with clients to hand out all of those donations when they come in…”

Regarding the way she has seen the community benefit from the material assistance, she said,

“We have clients that are very grateful for the things that we’re able to provide for them because formula is especially one of the things that’s very expensive, and…[for some people] it’s a necessity, and so some of those…hypo-allergenic formulas are $40.00s for the little can of formula, and that’s not something that anybody can really afford on their own, and they need to be able to afford that along with the rest of their living expenses.”

The LIFE Center provides everything a woman might need to care for her baby. There are clothes in the Mommy and Me Boutique with sizes ranging from premie to 5-T, with maternity clothing for mothers as well. The boutique also has a variety of shoes, diapers, formula, toys, and baby bottles. Clients can come in twice a month to utilize the services, all of which is free of charge.

Here are some pictures of the Mommy and Me Boutique.

Other Resources Provided

The LIFE Center also provides a special program for young mothers, along with its medical and material services. This program is called Mentoring and More, and it consists of free meals, free childcare, a craft, and lessons detailing practical life skills. Women come in twice a month for that program, which runs during the school year. Concerning the the other benefits of this program, Cheryl Myer said, “It’s also a way for the girls to know they’re not alone in this journey…it’s neat to see how close these girls get, and with the mentors also, so they can [say,] ‘I’m having a bad day, and I don’t know who to call.’ Well, they can call somebody who’s from that mentoring and talk it through.”

The LIFE Center also provides Bible studies for women and counseling as well, so that they can be encouraged spiritually and mentally during difficult circumstances.

Here are some pictures from the space where Mentoring and More takes place.

Conclusion

The Wabash LIFE Center is a wonderful resource for the community. According to Cheryl Meyer, this year, they have been able to perform 74 pregnancy tests and 34 ultrasounds. They have also had 796 visits to their Mommy and Me Boutique, which resulted in 9,954 items being given to clients. As its name indicates, this organization truly helps to save lives—both the babies’ lives and the lives of their mothers as well.  Through their medical provisions, material assistance, and the empathy and compassion radiating from all volunteers and employees, women can find the help and support that they truly need during terrifying circumstances. This organization is well-equipped to help people in the community for many years to come.

References

Weaver, L.M., Hawkins, E., Davis, R., & Mistry A. (2023, June 30). 2022 terminated pregnancy report. Indiana Department of Health. https://www.in.gov/health/vital-records/files/2022-TPR-Annual.pdf