April 13, 2013


Faith-based pregnancy center opens

Church Street organization offers compassionate crisis counseling, care

CenterBob Ellis/staff photographer
Mandy Walters, director of programs and development, stands at the entrance to the Cortland Pregnancy Center at 4 Church St.

Staff Reporter

The Cortland Pregnancy Center, a Christrian ministry-based, nonprofit organization offering emotional and faith-based education to women, opened in February at 4 Church St.
Rhonda Mapes, executive director of both the Ithaca Pregnancy Center and Cortland Pregnancy Center, notes the nonmedical facilities’ mission is “to empower individuals to make healthy decisions.”
The center works in the area of sexuality options and integrity, post-abortive care, mentoring/peer programs and pregnancy options.
“When women find out that they are pregnant and do not want to be, we help them make an informed decision about pregnancy through options counseling, as well as promoting the philosophy of anti-abortion by talking about emotional, physical and spiritual consequences of abortions,” Mapes said.
The center is under the umbrella organization of Care Net, whose website notes its ultimate aim “is to share the love and truth of Jesus Christ in both word and deed.”
Mapes said “abortions hurt women instead of helping them.”
When discussing sexuality with individuals, Mapes added that it is important to think about if women’s sexual choices are helping or hurting them.
The center promotes abstinence and “waiting until marriage before becoming sexually active,” as it is the most healthy decision for females.
Since the center is not a licensed medical facility, it does not provide contraceptives.
“We do not promote contraceptives to unmarried people and we present the risks associated with different types of contraceptives,” said Mapes.
The Jacobus Center for Reproductive Health in Cortland, a licensed medical facility that is a division of the Cortland County Health Department, provides “unbiased full options counseling” with licensed professional staff trained in reproductive health and practicing within their accredited field.
Elaine Lambert, director of the Jacobus Center, said her office offers contraceptive care — including emergency contraception and condoms, fertility awareness, gynecological exams, breast and pelvic exams, pap smears, along with Hepatitis B vaccination series, and pregnancy testing and full options counseling.
Referrals are available for prenatal care, adoption and abortion; diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as confidential HIV counseling and testing. The Jacobus Center does not perform abortions.
Staff at the Cortland Pregnancy Center can offer “compassionate crisis counseling and care” to women, Mapes said.
Funding for the Jacobus Center for Reproductive Health comes from The Title X Family Planning program from the federal government through the state, patient revenue, and the county, Lambert said.
Mapes said the Cortland Pregnancy Center receives one-third of its funding from churches and two-thirds from individuals in order to provide free services, maintain staff and its building.
The center originally sought a residential-only location at 17 Broadway over a year go, but was turned down by the city. The Church Street location needed no approval, as it was zoned for commercial use, and it was made possible through fundraising in the community, as well as additional funds the center had accumulated, Mapes said.
“We offer compassionate care and crisis counseling” to help women make a decision about pregnancy or recover from birth or post-pregnancy, Mapes said.
The Jacobus Center accepts insurance, medicaid and offers a sliding-fee scale, as well as help with enrolling in family-planning benefit program that would cover family planning services. However, no one is turned away for inability to pay.
Lambert advises women who are pregnant “to seek licensed professional staff trained in reproductive health and unbiased counseling.”


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