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Pregnancy center, moving forward

A recent Guest Commentary from David Lynch entitled “Stop the Adirondack Pregnancy Center” argues what the Adirondack Pregnancy Center is going to do before it even opens. The village has welcomed and embraced faith-based organizations like Samaritan House and Grace Pantry that serve our community’s citizens. Soon there will be one created to be a place of support for those faced with an unexpected pregnancy.

The APC will provide women and men throughout the Adirondack region accurate, complete information on pregnancy-related topics to include parenting, adoption and abortion. It will be in a safe, confidential setting that allows clients to navigate their own decision-making process, and we will recognize the emotional costs accompanying every pregnancy choice by offering post-decision counseling, support and resources.

The APC is an independent entity that will choose its own resource materials for client care. As with all other social service agencies, we will have a set of services that women can choose or reject, but the choice is theirs to walk through our doors. We have partnered with not one but several of the most trusted organizations that are designed to support the work of the 2,700-plus pregnancy resource centers throughout our country to help them provide the most superior care. Heartbeat International is one resource, not our identity. We are not “their” center. Our embrace of Heartbeat’s Commitment of Care and Competency, and not offering, recommending or referring for abortions, abortifacients or contraceptives, is a deliberate decision and is not a secret. These services are readily available at other health care facilities. A local dentist does not conduct root canals or tooth extractions, yet we do not see the same concern that that dentist is not a “full-service” dental clinic and is harming patients by not treating every dental situation.

Part of assuring superior care is providing limited obstetric ultrasounds conducted by a certified ultrasound technician under the supervision of a board-certified medical doctor who will serve to confirm pregnancy and gestational age, an important piece of information for a woman as she makes her own choice about her pregnancy. Lynch argues we have “flown under the radar” since receiving approval and the designation of “hospital — an insult to legitimate health care facilities” from the Saranac Lake Development Board in March of this year.” Page 106.22 of the village code defines a hospital as “A facility or institution engaged principally in providing services by or under the supervision of a physician.” It was not the APC that defined the function of the center as a hospital in its application; it was the Development Board in carrying out its understanding and interpretation of the village code. During the hearing, the chairman of the Development Board noted it did not sound intuitive but that the definition fit when considering the ultrasound service under the supervision of a doctor.

A trained ultrasound technician, not a client advocate, will conduct limited obstetric ultrasounds, and all clients will be referred to an OB/GYN for complete pre-natal care. Client advocates do not offer medical care. They offer information about pregnancy options that support and equip a client in making an informed decision. Regardless of a woman’s eventual choice, our role is not to replace her pre-natal care but rather refer women to her medical provider for ongoing care throughout her pregnancy.

Lynch’s racial argument that “the village must recognize that the Adirondack Pregnancy Center will only perpetuate racism within our public health systems” is absurd. Our center’s doors will be open for any woman of any color, any age, any religion, and any cultural or socioeconomic background who chooses to walk through them to acquire the immediate following services at no cost: consultation and education on all pregnancy options; self-administered pregnancy testing, limited obstetric ultrasounds, practical material support (diapers, clothes, baby items); community referrals and advocacy; and post-decision support (parenting classes, adoption and post-abortion). We are beginning with a clean slate. Some have falsely accused us of being part of lawsuits and other legal situations. There simply are none.

We will always be transparent in our purposes, grateful for the support of many in our community. With our faith leading us, we continue to move forward with our mission to lovingly meet the needs of women throughout our region who are facing unplanned pregnancies — offering them a safe place to work through a major decision in their lives.

Board of Directors, Adirondack Pregnancy Center:

Jennifer Hunt, Saranac Lake 

Lisa Tubridy, Saranac Lake

Gary VanRiper, Camden

Julie Valentino, Malone 

Rich Loeber, Tupper Lake  

Craig Seaman, Long Lake 

Sheri Ducatt, Lake Clear

Sara Ashley, Saranac Lake 

Emily Trudell, Lake Clear

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