WADESBORO – The HOPE Pregnancy Resource Center hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday June 10 for their new facility, located at 101 Moores Lake Road in Wadesboro.
HOPE is a nonprofit, faith-based, pro-life organization that offers peer counseling, parenting classes, pregnancy classes, and limited ultrasounds. Founded in 2012 by Kathy Landon, HOPE received its 501 (c) (3) status in 2013, which was the same year its current director, Rebekah Carpenter, began volunteering at the Center.
Pregnancy resource centers like HOPE began popping up across the country in the mid-2010s after a number of Supreme Court legal battles over abortion laws. Unlike the family planning and health departments, these resource centers are fully funded by donations and do not receive any government grants.
These centers generally do not recommend abortions, even in cases where carrying a baby to term may endanger the mother’s life or in cases of rape and incest.
“When we see women, we make sure that they are fully aware that they need to be counseled by a doctor during their pregnancy,” Carpenter said. “We also make them realize that we are not a medical establishment but a resource. We follow the law and report cases (to the Department of Social Services) or domestic violence if necessary. “
HOPE also promotes abstinence-only education. Their mission statement on their Facebook page reads: “We believe God wants to: heal the emotional and spiritual wounds caused by past abortions, lifestyle choices and abuse; overcoming obstacles that would prevent a healthy lifestyle for mother and child; protect the life of the unborn child and the mother; encourage God’s purpose for sexuality through abstinence.
Sexuality education focused solely on abstinence has been a source of controversy in the United States, and many studies have shown that it actually increases rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs among college students. One such study by Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall and David W. Hall found that abstinence-only education “may in fact contribute to the high rates of teenage pregnancy in the United States.” the education level, ethnic makeup of the adolescent population, and the availability of Medicaid waivers for family planning services in each state.
Carpenter’s own experience with teenage pregnancy is what started his involvement with HOPE Pregnancy Resource Center. “In 2008, I found out I was pregnant,” Carpenter said. “I was 17 years old. In fact, I thought about having an abortion myself. I went to a pregnancy resource center, kind of like this one, and the women, they were so nice. They taught me what abortion was. I had an ultrasound. I found out that I was nine weeks pregnant and that my baby already had fingers and toes.
Seeing her baby’s fingers and toes as a young mother was what made her so dedicated to this cause.
“When HOPE started I went to (Landon) and said ‘I don’t care what I do, I want to help somehow’ because a ministry like this has had such an impact on my life, ”she said.
Eventually, Carpenter began volunteering, first at events, then doing office work and providing customer service.
“Over the years, I’ve learned more and more,” Carpenter said, “I’ve attended different conferences. When Kathy felt compelled to resign, the Council came to me. I was shocked. She felt like God was calling her in a different direction.
Landon retired in December 2019. Rebekah has been a director since January 2020.
“We originally started in a storage room at Wadesboro Cathedral Baptist Church,” Carpenter explained. Hope then left the storage room for a small two-room office in Polkton. “Then, we went down to the corner of Morgan and Morven, we had been there for a few years. Finally, we moved here. We officially opened here on June 1st.
HOPE’s long-term goals, according to Carpenter, “are to increase our customer base, reach more women in the community, and make the community aware of who we are and what we do. We also want to be more involved in the school system.
A small team of volunteers, including Elizabeth Randall, help Carpenter achieve these goals.
“I am a retired educator,” Randall said. “When I retired, I wanted the Lord to put me in a place where I could help. What brought me here was when some states, like New York, passed the term abortion law. “
The Randall Act refers to the Reproductive Health Act, which was enacted on January 22, 2019 by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The law legalized abortion at any time “when it was necessary to protect a woman’s life or health” or in the absence of fetal viability. The law allows licensed health care practitioners other than physicians to perform abortions if it is within their legal scope of practice.
Pro-choice advocates and medical professionals see the law as necessary to protect a mother’s life while pro-life advocates see the law as an attack on the unborn child.
Contact Charles Wood at 704-994-5471 or [email protected]