LifeChoices Women’s Care had 1,200 people from five counties and 35 ZIP codes come through its doors in 2011.
And they all had something in common: They were there to receive free, confidential services for unplanned pregnancies, executive director Ana Stooks said.
LifeChoices, formerly the Lutz-Land O' Lakes Pregnancy Center, to more accurately portray itself to potential clients, Stooks said.
In addition to a new name, the to a new location in Lutz, across Dale Mabry Highway from the Walmart Super Center.
“Having this facility has been beautiful because people have a safe neighborhood to come to,” Stooks said.
The medical center has a registered nurse on staff and offers free pregnancy testing, nursing assessments, prenatal vitamins, and ultrasounds with 3D/4D imaging.
But the center never advises, provides or refers for abortion, Stooks said.
January 22 marked the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Since then, more than 51 million unborn children have been aborted, according to a LifeChoices press release.
LifeChoices’ ministry is to help women with unintended pregnancies choose life for their babies, Stooks said.
The first thing the center likes to do is give an ultrasound, Stooks said.
“The statistics are high that once a woman sees her baby jumping in her womb, she will start the bonding process,” Stooks said.
The center is registered with the state to file Medicaid applications and can refer clients to WIC or Healthy Start. It also offers counseling, continuing emotional support, along with referrals for adoption, abortion education, parenting classes, housing, and post-abortion support, Stooks said.
LifeChoices also has an on-site boutique, which features donated items such as maternity clothes and diapers. Clients can earn points for participating in the Woman of Worth (WOW) Earn While You Learn program; those points can be redeemed at the boutique, according to the center's website.
Stooks said she knows that some people may be a little nervous about even making a phone call to the center when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
“The other thing that makes us unique is that people can text us with their questions,” Stooks said.
To support its mission of providing free services, LifeChoices relies on volunteers and donations, according to its website.
The organization's biggest fundraiser of the year, Leap for Life Benefit Gala, will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 29 at the Bethany Center in Lutz.
Tickets are $50 per person and sponsorship tables are available. There will be a full dinner, wine and entertainment provided by pro-life speaker and comedian Gordon Douglas.
A free-will offering will also be taken up to support the work at the center.
For more information about the gala, volunteer opportunities, or to inquire about LifeChoices' services, call 813-948-7734 or visit http://BenefitEvents.LifeChoicesWomensCare.org.