The one-year anniversary of the overturning of Roe v. Wade coincides with the one-year anniversary of an Indiana pregnancy medical clinic’s move into a new, bigger space. The larger location provides the ability to serve more clients and offer more programs.
Located in Elkhart, Ind., not far from the Michigan state line, RETA (Reason Enough to Act) Pregnancy Clinic and Family Resources began in 1985 and remained at one location for 32 years, a historic home with two stories, a basement, and an attic, said Roxana Konopinski, executive director.
“We were using every inch of it,” she said.
In 2019, she and her team began looking for property that would provide more space. The opportunity arose to purchase land in the area where the organization had originally been and rented. A capital campaign began in January 2020.
“We experienced three months of silence when COVID hit, and as advancement director, that’s a really long time,” said Rod Tackett, RETA’s advancement director. “God saw us through that … and by August 2021, we had received the full funds that we were going for. It was incredible.”
The organization doubled its square footage and tripled its capacity, he added.
“Now, we’re here,” Konopinski said. “There’s so many God-things in all of this.”
RETA staff, programs, and services moved into the newly constructed building around the same time as the Dobbs decision, she said.
Increase in client numbers and services offered
In 2019, RETA staff had about 3,000 appointments with clients, and after moving into the facility last year, “we saw more appointments, more moms and dads, than we’ve ever seen,” Tackett said.
The pregnancy clinic is “on pace to see 4,000 appointments,” this year he stated.
“We have space to see about 10,000 appointments in a year. We want to meet as many of those needs as we can,” Tackett said.
“God’s provision over this place includes the fact that it’s completely paid for,” added Brittany Yoder, RN, BSN, RETA’s clinic director. “That’s a huge, huge blessing.”
Many additions have happened, and continue to happen, within the medical clinic, even prior to the move. Abortion pill reversal (APR) became an offering along with adding rapid HIV testing to the STI offerings are two examples. Another addition came in the form of two new ultrasound machines.
“Our ultrasound machines were getting out-of-date, so we had one more big ask at the same time as running the capital campaign,” Yoder said. “We were provided with two brand new ultrasound machines.”
The larger space offers five exam rooms, allowing RETA to “see multiple clients at once,” said Yoder.
Three nurses have been added to the staff, and the organization is in the process of hiring a nurse practitioner, which they hope to have on board in August. They will offer well-woman exams, and by next year, they hope to add “diagnostic ultrasounds for women who are vulnerable and meet criteria,” Yoder said.
“A lot of different things on the medical end are in the works,” she stated.
“We eventually want to bring in pre-natal services as well,” Konopinski said.
A mobile medical unit is also part of the RETA’s services, going to outlying areas. The vehicle, named Birtha, is housed in a garage that is part of the new building.
“We were paying for off-site storage before moving into the new facility,” Tackett said. “So, we have a home for Birtha now.”
Visit by Heartbeat staff
Christa Brown, BSN, RN, senior director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International, toured the new building earlier this year.
“Their recent move to a beautiful, modern, 4.5-million-dollar facility has been just extraordinary for them and for those in need of assistance,” she said. “Their work is truly changing and saving the lives of each family who walks through their doors."
Yoder and Brown have established a strong relationship.
“I developed a relationship with Christa and some of the others when I was at my own ultrasound training at Heartbeat International,” Yoder said. “She’s super helpful and very encouraging to me. She has helped us really refine a lot of our processes and procedures, especially when it comes to APR.”
RETA has one client now going through the APR process and the woman is “doing well,” Yoder said.
Reaching abortion-minded clients
Abortion remains legal in Indiana, although some facilities in the Elkhart area have closed, according to Konopinski, and a heartbeat bill remains within the court system. With pro-abortion Michigan and Illinois not far away, reaching abortion-minded women is a high priority for RETA.
The organization’s outreach to these women has seen positive results, with a significant increase in the number walking through the clinic’s doors.
“In the last two years, we’ve seen about 20 percent abortion-minded women move up to about 40 percent,” Tackett said.
The team attributes several things to that, including the Dobbs decision, quality of care women receive at RETA, word-of-mouth, and advertising.
“When one client says they had a good experience here and shares that, we’re going to see more,” Tackett said. “We’re making sure our social media and advertising are reaching the right people at the right place at the right time. So, I think advertising, the Dobbs decision, and word of mouth have all contributed to that increase.”
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Yoder said, “I think when they know they’re going to get quality care via a medical appointment, and where we’re listening to them and developing that relationship, which we really homed in on during the last couple of years, I think that’s made a difference.”
A billboard near the new facility became available and RETA is now using it, Konopinski added.
Future changes at RETA
Moving forward, other changes are expected, including Konopinski’s retirement later this year. However, she believes God will continue to direct the steps of the organization.
“I just give all glory to the Lord,” she said.
“I’ve seen things happen,” Konopinski said, ‘including our awesome team. We have transitions coming this year that are all going to be good, including the nurse practitioner. I just know God is going to provide the right people at the right time. The reason I know that is the history of this place. It’s just been amazing.”
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.