BROOKINGS, SOUTH DAKOTA – Starting Tuesday, June 25, 2019, Option 1 pregnancy center will expand its services to include ultrasound and convert to a pregnancy help medical clinic through a partnership with the Knights of Columbus. Since 2008, Option 1 has served the Brookings and the surrounding communities with free pregnancy help services including pregnancy testing, on-site education classes, peer counseling, mentoring, preventative education, and restorative care to include post-abortion support. Converting to a pregnancy help medical clinic with free ultrasound increases Option 1’s services to women, expanding the organization’s mission and helping more pregnant women in need.
Ultrasound will be one of the first services added in Option 1’s conversion to a Medical Clinic thanks to a partnership with Knights of Columbus Council 3640 from St. Thomas More Catholic Church. Since 2009, Knights at the state and local levels have partnered with the Knights of Columbus headquarters or, Supreme Council, in New Haven, Conn., to fund ultrasound machines for use by pregnancy care centers through the Knights’ Ultrasound program. Knights-donated machines are at work in all 50 U.S. states as well as in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Peru, and Africa.
With the success of the ultrasound fundraising campaign, Option 1 will be able to offer free ultrasound services on-site in the next few months. Once the ultrasound machine is ordered, recruiting and training of a medical team will begin. The expansion in services also opens more volunteer opportunities within the organization to include Registered Nurses as a part of the Medical Team. The addition of services also means an expansion of the center. In January 2019, Option 1 began the demolition and renovation process to expand their square footage adding two additional education rooms, a patient intake room and an ultrasound room. These critical additions will allow them to serve even more clients in the years ahead.
“We are here to help women and men, in crisis, find hope.” Petersen said. “We want to meet an individual or a couple where they are at. That may be a decision to terminate a pregnancy, a support connection for their physical needs, education as they embrace parenting, adoption connections or to simply love them and walk beside them on this journey. Our goal is to create healthy families from the very beginning. Whether we are working with a woman during a crisis or a married couple expecting to become pregnant, we are building strong families that help build a strong community!”
All medical services at the center are completed under the supervision of the center’s Medical Director, Dr. Tara Haarsma, DO, FACOOG. Regarding the addition of ultrasound services, she states, “It is important that a woman is fully informed before making any decisions. Adding ultrasound will confirm viability, help determine how far along a woman is in her pregnancy and aid in determining the pregnancy location. This information will give clients one more tool to make the best decision that is right for them.”
About Option 1: Option 1 has served Brookings and the surrounding communities since 2008. They offer life-affirming alternatives to abortion for women and men seeking help in the midst of a crisis pregnancy. Their free services include pregnancy testing, connections to community support, on-site education classes, peer counseling, mentoring, preventative education and restorative care to include post-abortion support. Ultrasound will soon be added to that list transitioning the PRC into a limited Medical Clinic. In 2019 alone, they have had over 180 center visits, serving all demographics of clients, welcomed four babies and are expecting to welcome seven more in the months ahead.
About the Knights of Columbus: Founded in 1882 by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, the Knights of Columbus has grown to nearly 2 million members, with charity as the organization’s primary mission. Last year, Knights donated $185.6 million in donations and 75.6 million hours of service provided worldwide. More information is available at kofc.org
About the Ultrasound Initiative: The ultrasound initiative began in 2009 with the goal of placing ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers/clinics and mobile medical units. Knights in local councils raise half the expense of an ultrasound machine through a variety of efforts. Then the K of C Supreme Council’s Culture of Life Fund matches those funds to contribute to the purchase of machines for qualified pro-life centers. There is at least one Knights-sponsored machine in every U.S. state, as well as Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Peru, and Africa.
Pictured are from L to R; Mike Monnens, local KC Treasurer, Gerald Dvorak, State KC Deputy, Option1 Executive Director Lacie Petersen, and fundraiser co-chair Doug Bierschbach.