CRITIC’S CORNER COLUMNIST
To most Christians, the term “pregnancy center” is coming to be met with skepticism, especially concerning the abortion issue, but AIM Pregnancy Center is more about giving women facts about all of their options.
AIM’s mission, according to staff nurse Teresa O’Brien, is “to show hope and mercy to abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women by offering free pregnancy testing, options counseling, material assistance, BRIDGES/Parenting classes and a 24 hour helpline.”
O’Brien said the center hopes to transform fear into confidence by offering “information about all of their options in an environment free of manipulation.”
“When a women comes in and feels like she only has one option,” said O’Brien, (whether that one option to her be parenting, adoption, or abortion) but “after talking to her advocate, the nurse, and the sonographer she realizes that she is not trapped in one option but rather sees that she has the opportunity to make a choice in the difficult situation she is in.”
Most of AIM’s employees are Christian, and each brings a Christian outlook to the women who come seeking aid. Franciscan University students also volunteer and intern at the center in order to gain experience working in such an environment.
“We work closely with other centers in the area,” said O’Brien, “so that if we get a call from a woman who cannot come in during our hours, we can refer her to a center with hours that better fit her schedule or that may be closer in proximity to her.”
AIM stands out with a true spirit of not only professionalism, but charity with its policies regarding check-ups. Student volunteers and interns do not work during the hours when the center sees patients, in order to protect the confidentiality of each woman with an appointment, said O’Brien.
Franciscan students are welcome to volunteer or intern on days the center is closed in order to assist with projects around the center. “Most importantly,” said O’Brien, “we need students to pray for our ministry and for the women we serve.”
The clinic has sponsored various events, such as a 5K race in the fall in which more than a few students participated, and the annual Baby Bottle Drive, in which every student in the dorms receives a bottle and can contribute spare change.
Regarding further such activities, AIM is currently in the process of optimizing, said O’Brien. “We would love to share this optimization tool with students to bring back to their pregnancy centers in their hometowns by presenting the optimization tool to students on campus.”