Rising above the ground of the western prairie of Nebraska, a natural landmark called Scotts Bluff aided the settlers of the 1800s who roamed the west. In a few months, the neighboring community, whose historic site is named, will also become a beacon of hope – this time, for women facing unwanted pregnancies.
Options West Nebraska Pregnancy Center will soon open in Scottsbluff, becoming the first pregnancy center to serve this community and nearby Gering. Much like the neighbor bluff, now known as Scotts Bluff National Monument, let Pony Express emigrants and riders know they were on the right track, the goal of Options is to help women find the right path during an unplanned pregnancy.
âWe hope to provide education and encouragement to those facing an unplanned pregnancy and provide support in general,â said Meagan Stobel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Options. âOur goal is to provide people with a place to goâ¦ a loving, caring environment where we say, ‘Everything will be fine. You will get away with it. These are your options and this is what we can do to help you. We want to provide that love and support that these women and families need. “
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The center will serve not only Scottsbluff, but also nearby Gering; the communities have a combined population of around 25,000, Stobel said. Options Pregnancy Center of Western Nebraska is also the latest pregnancy assistance organization to receive a Life start-up grant, the Heartbeat International program that supports new start-ups of pregnancy assistance centers to open their doors, especially those in underserved communities.
Foundation of the center
A local pastor came up with the idea for a pregnancy center for the area about two years ago. Stobel is the pastor’s assistant.
“He said to me, ‘Why don’t you look at this? “”
She and others went to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and toured LifeChoice Pregnancy Care Center, where the group received advice and additional information on how to operate a pregnancy resource center. They called the first board meeting in November 2019 and began to prepare for the establishment of the center in Scottsbluff. The board is currently looking for an executive director, and once that position is filled, Options will open, Stobel said.
âWe have a building and we have a lot of things to open. The main thing we are waiting for is the hiring of a general manager. Once we have the director, we will open, âshe said.
The building that the organization rents is approximately 1,200 square feet.
âIt’s a good location, but almost hidden. We kind of liked it (for the sake of women’s privacy), âshe said.
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The choice of the name Options allows women who might need the services of the center to find out more about it almost immediately.
âWe thought about the names, and this is the one we liked,â Stobel said. âWe liked that it was not openly Christian, although our center will be. If anybody, whatever their faith, were pregnant, it wouldn’t drive the people away from our organization. “
Abortion in Nebraska
According to Charlotte Lozier Institute, just over 2,000 abortions were performed in Nebraska in 2019, a slight decrease from 2018. Eighty-seven percent of reported abortions were performed on residents of the state.
The laws of Nebraska seem to keep the number of abortions low. For example, the state requires parental consent for women under 19 to have an abortion, and women must be counseled on the facts of the abortion and then wait 24 hours before having an operation. According to at the Guttmacher Institute, there were seven abortion clinics in Nebraska in 2017; Most of the advertised abortionists are located in the eastern part of the state.
In this same Charlotte Lozier Institute report, the researchers said, âMost women who have abortions in Nebraska have already experienced a live birth. Twenty-two percent have already had a live birth and 39 percent have had two or moreâ¦ â
Understand the need
A mother herself, Stobel believes in establishing a pro-life Christian pregnancy center in her community of Scottsbluff.
“I’m pregnant with my fifth child right now, and even with a wonderful husband, great family, grandparents living here, and I’ve done this a few times – this first trimester is tough,” he said. she declared. âIt’s really hard, it’s really overwhelming just because you’re pregnant. I can’t imagine being pregnant and not wanting to be, not knowing anything about it.
The small group undertaking this endeavor understands the need of their community, and with open hearts to the call to establish a pregnancy center in this rural Nebraska region, they slowly see the vision come to life.
âWe will be a limited medical center,â Stobel said. âWe have an ultrasound machine and we are going to provide early ultrasounds. We have three volunteer ultrasound technicians which is amazing, we have so many in such a small community. “
In addition to Options’ volunteer ultrasound technicians, a local doctor will serve as the centre’s medical director, and some people have already indicated their willingness to volunteer, Stobel said. Overall, the organization was well received by the community.
âSo far we’ve had a lot of people who are happy that we’re doing this,â she said. âThere are people who are not very enthusiastic, but, for the most part, everyone really supported. “
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with information about the Options Pregnancy Center in western Nebraska receiving the Life Launch Grant from Heartbeat International. Heartbeat International manages the latest news on pregnancy aid.