Cenla Pregnancy Center Helps Mothers with Unplanned Pregnancies

The Cenla Pregnancy Center in Alexandria offers services and counseling to women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey met with the executive director to talk about the mission of the center and how it’s helping the women of Cenla.

Claire Lemoine, Exec. Dir. Cenla Pregnancy Center said, “Everything you see in this boutique has been donated so we have an education program for our moms that they can participate in and take part in education classes that will help them with parenting or pregnancy even just things like life skills and relationships and things like that.  And when they do these classes they earn vouchers and they are able to shop in the boutique.”

Registered Nurse Claire Lemoine has been the Executive Director of the Cenla Pregnancy Center since they opened their doors five years ago.  She manages staff, makes sure policies are followed and makes sure that services are delivered to the expectant moms that they serve.  She told me a little about why she is pro life in her 26 years of working in maternal child health.

“In my professional carrier I’ve grown to see the beauty of life and the miracle that happens as a child grows from conception to birth… It can be maybe a set of circumstances where this pregnancy was unplanned and they’re very scared maybe to tell their spouse to tell their family or to tell friends or maybe they’re worried about their future… The three options they have is to carry and parent or to carry and make an adoption plan or to have an abortion.”

The majority of clients they see are between the ages of 19 and 29.  The center offers counseling to expectant mothers and if their decision is to have an abortion, they do not try to sway the mother just to give them information on their decision.  Volunteers are very important to the operation of the center. They can apply and go through an interview process and normally do receptionist work or tasks like sorting through donations or mailing out newsletters.

“Our volunteers have proven to be very flexible and we’re very grateful for that.”

Since the center has been open here at the former Baptist Bookstore on MacArthur Drive they have helped more than 1300 mothers and provided 4000 services like pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.

They look for three things when providing ultrasounds, to verify that the baby is in the uterus, the growth of the baby to determine how far along the mother is, and to verify the heartbeat.

It costs about $700,000 per year to keep the center running and they have had four fundraisers so far to help with that cost.

Last Thursday Judge Donald Johnson in Baton Rouge ruled that the three Louisiana clinics can continue to provide abortions and gives attorneys 30 days to develop plans for a trial on whether the law should be permanently blocked.  Attorney General Jeff Landry on people who disagree with the abortion ban.

“If they find themselves in the minority of ideas they can pack their bags and go somewhere else.”

Zarouhie Abdalian with the Louisiana Abortion Rights Action Committee said, “We reject the invitation to leave the state we know the states rights laws are all about Jim Crow and oppression and so we reject that fully.”

Lemoine feels blessed to not have seen many protests or action against the center and her mission remains the same as before Roe v. Wade was overturned.

“I believe that women need to know that they have options… There’s help out there for women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy.”

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