For more than a decade Save the Storks has supplied the pregnancy help community with vehicles to reach women facing unplanned pregnancies who do not have access to brick-and-mortar pregnancy help locations. Late last year, the 100th such mobile medical unit was delivered.
“It’s definitely been a reason for celebration,” said the organization’s CEO Diane Ferraro.
That celebration involved stops along the way between Colorado Springs and East Tennessee, where the unit was delivered to Pregnancy Resource Center Maryville. One of those stops was St. Louis, Mo., where Ferraro met two very special moms, women who had chosen life because of a mobile medical unit.
“They were women who left the Planned Parenthood and came outside and saw the safety and the science of our mobile medical clinic and the medical professionals that operate our mobile medical clinics,” she said. “Because of the ultrasound and because they heard the heartbeat, these wonderful women chose life.”
One of the moms, who found out she was carrying twins upon having the ultrasound, is due in February of this year, Ferraro added.
These instances illustrate the significant impact that mobile units have and their importance to serving women and families in need.
“Mobile units are important in pregnancy help because they allow pregnancy help to go where women are in need and there might not be a brick-and-mortar in their community,” said Tracie Shellhouse, Heartbeat International’s vice president of ministry services. “Mobile units allow pregnancy centers to have a larger footprint – you can greatly increase the territory you can cover and serve with a mobile unit.”
Tweet This: Mobile units are important because they allow pregnancy help to go to where women in need are.
For the St. Louis pregnancy center, that reach extends across the Mississippi River to the Planned Parenthood operating in Illinois, “one of the busiest abortion clinics in the Midwest,” Ferraro said.
“This is why we have to keep fighting the good fight,” she said.
Another stop for mobile unit #100 was Nashville, Tenn. The vehicle stopped near the capitol building, and staff and volunteers met with state officials.
Upon reaching Sevierville, Tenn., the community “where the bus was delivered,” Ferraro said, a “stuff-the-bus” event took place, with the local Chick-fil-A partnering. Donated items will give Pregnancy Resource Center Maryville the opportunity to bless women and families the center serves.
History and blessing #100
Save the Storks began in 2012, with the first vehicle delivered to a pregnancy center in Pennsylvania, said Ferraro. This year they are preparing to deliver units #102 and #103 to centers in Texas and New Jersey.
During December’s delivery of #100, Save the Storks gave families various donated items, including diapers from EveryLife, various supplies, holiday gifts, and gift cards. These were collected prior to the trip in Colorado Springs, where Save the Storks is headquartered.
“We launched the mobile medical clinic from our church in Colorado Springs,” Ferraro said, “so we were able to have the church bless it and pray over it.”
“We had a night of celebration, a night of worship and Christmas songs,” she said, “and we educated the community about the importance of mobile medical ministry.”
EveryLife partners with Save the Storks, providing materials for the pregnancy centers that receive a mobile medical unit from the organization.
“They are the very first pro-life diaper company,” she explained. “They are selling direct to the consumer – it’s a subscription model, and the diapers are top quality; they're not made with all of the harsh chemicals like the diapers you see in the aisles of Target and Walmart.”
The objective of Save the Storks is to partner with pregnancy resource and pregnancy medical centers, helping those organizations reach women beyond the building.
“Pregnancy centers are doing such beautiful, life-affirming work for communities around the country and providing the free services to moms,” Ferraro said.
“Where the mobile medical clinics come in is when we partner with the local pregnancy center to take the ultrasound, take the health services provided, take the counseling, out to the streets,” she said. “The mobile medical clinics will go park near Planned Parenthood, they'll go park near a bar, a university, anywhere where that young woman who is possibly facing an unplanned pregnancy might be.”
“[Mobile units] can meet unique needs in neighborhoods, and go to unique places,” she said.
Those needs include women who rely on public transportation and that service does not travel close to a pregnancy center, and the places include parking lots of sporting events, on the street or in parking lots near abortion clinics, close to colleges and universities, and in rural communities, including Native American reservations.
“Serving the rural population with mobile units has been very successful,” Shellhouse said. “For some centers, that’s the reason they have a mobile unit – to go to the places that women don’t have easy access to [a pregnancy center building].”
Save the Storks has placed mobile medical units in 34 states. The organization dreams of seeing more states added to that list.
“Four out of five women choose life for their baby when they see the ultrasound and hear the baby's heartbeat,” Ferraro said. “Our goal is to have a mobile medical clinic in every major metropolitan area in the United States, and our God-size dream would be to have at least one of these units in every state in the country because they are saving lives and they are showing women that it is okay to be a mom, that motherhood is a blessing – it is a gift from God.”
“We don't want any mother to regret that decision that she'll have after she aborts her baby,” she added, “and having a mobile medical clinic is just one other beautiful tool that pregnancy centers and churches can use and be part of to reach more women who are considering abortion. We would just be honored to partner with more centers around the country.”
“I love the mission of Save the Storks, what they’re empowering pregnancy help to do throughout our nation,” Shellhouse told Pregnancy Help News.
“It’s exciting to know that, through their efforts, the network of pregnancy help has been enlarged, has been empowered, and it has been expanded,” Shellhouse said. “And I appreciate the innovative thinking of those that are outfitting and commissioning mobile pregnancy units because they have truly allowed pregnancy help to go into underserved areas and to go into places that, without a mobile unit, we would not have been able to reach.”
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.