New Hope addresses Health Dept.
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Sep 14, 2012 | 903 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New Hope Pregnancy Care Center took center stage during this week’s Interagency Council luncheon at the Bradley County Health Department. Tracie Shellhouse, executive director, discussed the center’s prevention, intervention and reconciliation plans.

“We are unapologetically and unequivocally pro-life,” Shellhouse said. “We are also nonjudgmental and are unconditional in our love and services. We do not put up perimeters. We do not even have financial parameters.”

“We feel if someone is going to take the time to come see us and see a mentor every three weeks, while doing their homework, then they probably need what we have. ... Everything we do is free and confidential.”

The only exceptions to the center’s confidentiality are victims of statutory rape and patients who are in danger or who are a danger to others. Shellhouse said the small-town feel of Cleveland makes it imperative clients’ secrets are kept.

New Hope offers prevention aid such as On Point. This healthy lifestyles education program, “teaches teens in surrounding schools the power of making wise decisions.” The focus of these classes is to show how abstinence can make a positive difference in young lives.

Shellhouse revealed several statistics to the Interagency members. She said 3,300 women wake up each day saying, “This is the day of my abortion.” Of those 3,300, 17 percent of these women will be teens. Twenty-five percent of sexually active females under 25 years of age will acquire a sexually transmitted disease.

“Sadly on Sept. 11, 2001, more American casualties happened that day in abortion clinics than they did when the World Trade Towers collapsed. There were 3,753 (who) came to an end that day and every day since then. Since that time, 12 1/2 million Americans, or babies of the womb here within the American borders, have perished.”

“Almost one half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Forty percent of those unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. They end in termination. ... Sometimes it feels like we are fighting a losing battle, but most women do not want an abortion. They simply lack knowledge of the resources available to them. They feel backed into a corner with no other choices.”

New Hope strives to provide accurate information concerning life-affirming options to women, men and families experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. These options focus on adoption and parenting. Clients who choose to terminate the pregnancy will still find continued help from the center.

“One of our clients was initially going to choose abortion but decided to keep the baby,” Shellhouse said. “It has been a rocky road, even since she made her decision. She didn’t choose life and go, ‘Woo, everything is great.’ She still has a hard road ahead of her.”

Shellhouse said the center is honest and upfront with clients.

“I tell people our clients’ options are bad, worse, and awful,” Shellhouse said. “... We do have some who come in and are excited about having a baby and we celebrate with them. We also have those who come in and they are just heartbroken. Where they are sitting there is no good choice, and we understand that. We are compassionate.”

Clients who choose abortion can join the Healing of Post-abortion Emotions groups. According to New Hope’s brochure, these groups “help assist those who have experienced pain and trauma from a past abortion through spiritual healing and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.”

According to Shellhouse, the groups are currently led by leaders who had an abortion in the past. New Hope’s focus is offering hope and compassion, with understanding, for clients in a difficult and confusing time. The center can be reached at 479-5825.

Additional services offered by New Hope include: pregnancy tests, 24-hour helpline 479-6683, options counseling, adoption education and referrals, pregnancy and parenting education, assistance with maternity and baby items, referrals to community agencies, and abortion recovery support.

Those interested in aiding the center may become a New Hope prayer partner, contribute financially, become a church liaison, participate in fundraising activities, donate baby items or become a volunteer.