Minn. pregnancy center “at a junction” prepares for satellite center

Minn. pregnancy center “at a junction” prepares for satellite center (Choices Pregnancy Center)

Like runners or hikers who come to a fork in the path and decide on the direction to take, a Minnesota pregnancy help center has found itself at a crossroads. The director of Choices Pregnancy Center in Redwood Falls, Minn., describes it like a train coming to a junction.

“In the fall of 2022, while my staff and I were attending a training conference, I noticed a picture hanging on the wall of my hotel room,” Carrie Meyers said. “The picture was of a railroad track, specifically a railroad junction. I was captivated by the picture and felt that there was something significant about the image.”

Intrigued by the artwork, she looked up the definition of a junction as it pertains to rail transport, she said. 

“I learned that junctions are important for rail systems," Meyers explained. "Their installation into a rail system can expand route capacity and have a powerful impact on performance.”

“As soon as I read those words, it was as if God was speaking to my heart: ‘You are approaching a junction,’” she said.

Her center, located in southern Minnesota, has been experiencing a decline in client numbers. Additionally, a state grant that the organization had been receiving was cut by the legislature.

“As an organization, we knew we were at the point where we needed to either expand and increase capacity, or close up shop and go home,” Meyers said. “Our response is one of faith; we are not closing our doors, but rather are seeking to, literally, open new doors that will allow us to reach more clients facing unintended pregnancies.”

Tweet This: Our response is one of faith; we are not closing our doors, we are seeking to open new doors allowing us to reach more clients.

She, the board, and the staff felt a call to open another location in a different community. 

Extending the track

“We set our eyes to Marshall, Minnesota, a town about 35 miles away from our current center,” Meyers said. “Marshall is the home to Southwest Minnesota State University and did not have a pregnancy medical center anywhere nearby.”

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Whereas Redwood Falls has a population of about 5,000 people, Marshall has more than twice as many, she added. Minnesota has extremely anti-life laws and politicians, and the state has become an ‘abortion destination,’ particularly setting sights on North Dakota and South Dakota, states with stricter abortion laws. Therefore, she, her board, and Choices staff see tremendous opportunity to serve women at risk for abortion, Meyers told Pregnancy Help News. In addition to the larger population and the university in Marshall, helping combat abortion providers was a critical thought in selecting the community for pregnancy help.

“A woman might be crossing into Minnesota in search of abortion services, [and] Marshall is the first town of significant size that would be reached,” Meyers said. “Also, we know that for this reason, Marshall is a desired location for abortion providers to open a clinic.” 

   Carrie Meyers with Choices Pregnancy Center
   board chair Dennis Ingle after signing
   the lease for the space/Carrie Meyers

Additionally, with the ending of state grant funding, known as Positive Alternatives, seeking more donors was considered in this strategic decision.

“We knew we’d need to expand the donor base of support, and by opening a satellite center, we would be able to connect with an entirely new community of individuals and churches who share our life-affirming position,” Meyers said. 

That has already proven successful. Several churches and a Christian school have aligned with Choices and raised funds through a Baby Bottle campaign. Meyers was scheduled to speak to the students, grades K – 8, at the time she talked with Pregnancy Help News. Additionally, the Knights of Columbus purchased an ultrasound machine for the new location.

The satellite center is in a medical building once occupied by a physician. Little work needed to be done to set up the pregnancy center. A pharmacy is located at the end of the hall, and the pharmacist has already pledged to help Choices staff by providing prenatal vitamins and other assistance as needed. Overall, Meyers said the new center has been welcomed in the community.

“We’ve been encouraged by the positive responses to our intention to provide services in Marshall,” she said. “We are praying that God will continue to raise up donors from southwest Minnesota to come alongside of this work and ensure that life-affirming pregnancy help is available in this corner of the state.”

Tweet This: We are praying that God will continue to raise up donors from SW Minnesota to come alongside this work of life-affirming pregnancy help.

Meyers and the Choices nurse will spend time between the center in Redwood Falls and Marshall. She is currently searching for a client advocate to cover the satellite center.

“Hiring and training staff is the greatest need,” Meyers said. “I have seen how God has provided for the needs of this organization, time and time again, and I have no doubt that He is, even now, preparing just the right people to serve in this new location.”

A new service that will be available at Choices, in both locations, is STI testing.

“We discovered through our medical connections that STI testing is a great need, in both communities,” Meyers said. “So, we’re going to be providing that as a new, free service.”

The planned opening for the Marshall center is scheduled for March. However, that will depend on hiring and training new staff, she said. 

“The ultrasound machine has been ordered and will be delivered in February, the exam table has been delivered and put in place, and the next steps will be setting up the offices and getting staff hired and trained,” Meyers said.

History and future

The organization has come to many junctions in its history. Choices began in 1993 under the name Redwood Area Crisis Pregnancy Center. The organization rebranded in 2000 to Choices Pregnancy Center and the Earn While You Learn program was implemented two years later. The organization began to transition to a pregnancy medical clinic in 2020 and the first nurse manager was hired in 2021.

As a new track is laid to the west of its current location, Choices Pregnancy Center will be opening those “new doors,” as Meyers described, to a new future.

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