By Susan Fotovich McCabe
Special to The Leaven
OLATHE — Johnson County women in need of counseling and aid for an unplanned pregnancy have a new resource here: the Olathe Pregnancy Clinic recently opened at 1313 E. Santa Fe in the Twin Trails retail center. It’s a branch of the Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic in Kansas City, Kansas.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann attended the clinic’s Nov. 4 opening to offer a blessing before a crowd of supporters, donors and businesses that had volunteered time and talent to the clinic.
“By the grace of your Holy Spirit,” prayed the archbishop, “make this pregnancy clinic a place of blessing and a center of love, where physicians practice wisely, nurses and aides serve with care, and where the faithful will come to assist Christ in the person of their brothers and sisters.”
“Grant that all who are provided care and assistance by this clinic will embrace life in all its forms, and joyfully thank you for the blessings they have received,” he continued.
According to clinic executive director Maureen Wall, the Olathe branch will offer many of the same services as the Wyandotte clinic, including free sonograms, pregnancy tests and prenatal classes. The classes provide opportunities to earn financial aid and baby products.
For example, a mother can earn “mommy dollars” for various activities: $50 in mommy dollars for every class she attends, $20 if she completes her homework and $20 if the father of the baby attends the classes.
In all, she can earn up to $90 in mommy dollars per class to be used in the clinic store. A mom must attend three classes to be eligible to shop. The store will feature many basic baby and mom products, and new classes will be added to the lineup as the clinic expands.
“The clinic offers hope and support for women facing unplanned pregnancies,” said Wall, who is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood. “In today’s throwaway culture, our clinic offers love, acceptance and resources to provide much- needed assistance to both the mother and unborn child. All of our services are free and confidential in a safe environment.”
A sonogram of an unborn baby, alone, can make a big difference for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. It often shifts a woman’s mindset away from abortion and toward choosing life, Wall said.
The clinic features a waiting room, office area, two counseling rooms, sonogram room and clinic store. Straub Construction completed the renovation of the offices and donated a portion of the costs and labor.
Olathe is currently the fastest growing Johnson County city. At one time, Olathe was home to two pregnancy clinics, but both have closed. The new clinic will fill an immediate need, Wall said. The Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic does over 500 sonograms annually.
Dr. Isaac Johnston has volunteered as its medical director. He will be assisted, as needed, by Dr. Melissa Yeats and Dr. Patrick Herrick.
A current capital campaign has raised $475,000 of its $500,000 goal. The clinic is seeking additional funding to purchase a permanent sonogram machine and has applied to the Knights of Columbus for the equipment as well.
Several individuals and groups from the community have volunteered to launch and help the clinic, including the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Teens for Life organization.