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How pro-lifers are saving more babies from abortion in Florida than ever before

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Director of Operations Kay and Gary Ingold show off an ultrasound room in one of the clinics. Photo: Steve Jalsevac, LifeSite

NAPLES, Florida, July 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A new model for helping Florida women facing a crisis pregnancy is helping them choose life for their babies at greater rates than ever before. 

Community Pregnancy Clinics, Inc. (CPCI), based in Naples, Florida, is a chain of four medical model clinics and an ultrasound van serving Florida women and their babies. Founded as one small crisis pregnancy center 44 years ago, CPCI’s mission is to “save babies from abortion while providing care, compassion and choices for women.” 

In 2017, they saved 1,179 babies from abortion. Over 90% of the women who came into the centers for counseling and/or ultrasounds decided to choose life.  

Pamela Grothaus from CPCI told LifeSiteNews that the original center was one of the first crisis pregnancy clinics to open after the passage of Roe v Wade. It was established in 1974, when a  parish pro-life ministry in Collier County decided to counter the legalization of abortion with “life-affirming choices for abortion-vulnerable women.”

“Their efforts quickly led to the opening of a small clinic--one of the first 13 pregnancy resource clinics in the country--providing free pregnancy tests and material support under the name of EPS (Emergency Pregnancy Services),” Grothaus said. “The operation was entirely staffed by compassionate, pro-life volunteers and funded 100% by private donors.”

EPS offered free, self-administered pregnancy tests as well as free material support

“Like virtually all pregnancy resource centers during those years,” Grothaus recalled, “EPS found the demand was much higher for material support than for pregnancy tests.” 

In the late 1990s, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) encouraged pregnancy crisis centers to use ultrasound machines, the “window to the womb”, creating the concept of the “medical model clinic.”  

"NIFLA and the emergence of ultrasound technology made us aware that we needed to do something," said Lucia Barone, a long-time EPS/CPCI volunteer as well as a long-time CPCI board member and immediate past board chairman.

“We were absolutely committed to recreating in Naples the breathtaking 'conversion rate' reported in other parts of the country among abortion-minded women," added Patricia Bucalo, a past board member who served during the transition. "When they actually had a chance to see the babies on ultrasound, everything changed for them; we wanted to be as much help to them in that process as we could."

In 2002, EPS obtained its first ultrasound machine and hired its first ultrasound technologist instead of relying on volunteers. "We did a lot of trial and error," said Lucia Barone, "and what we learned is that the 'cookie cutter' solution for transforming pregnancy resource centers into medical model clinics wasn't right for us." 

Other innovations included hiring qualified nurses and an obstetrician to serve as medical director. This was all possible thanks to the generosity of EPS supporters. 

“It seemed every time CPCI researched and laid out a plan, its loyal donor base came through to make things happen,” Grohaus told LifeSiteNews.  

Renamed the Collier Pregnancy Center to emphasize that its services were available to women throughout the county, the little clinic saw a change in the first month after adopting the medical model: more women wanted pregnancy tests and fewer women asked for material assistance.

Convinced that Divine Providence was leading them, the CPC opened a second “medical model” branch in nearby Fort Myers in 2007. This inspired a new name change, Grothaus wrote. Now the pro-life centers are called Community Pregnancy Clinics, Inc. (CPCI)---”to reflect its expansion strategy of creating a Culture of Life, one community at a time.” 

To become even more professional and ensure prudent management, in 2013 CPCI hired its first CEO, a Catholic deacon with business expertise, Gary Ingold.   

"We took the medical model idea and accelerated it," Ingold said. "By prudently managing our growth, tracking our success, and collecting and reporting the statistical impact of what we do to our donors and the public, we're demonstrating that CPCI is first and foremost doing God's work of saving babies, but we're also showing donors they are investing in a sharply focused, high-quality organization with an eye on the future." 

With two clinics helping women save their babies, in 2016 CPCI next bought, equipped and staffed a medical van so that they could bring ultrasound technology to abortion-vulnerable women “where they are”.

In 2017, CPCI opened two new medical model pregnancy crisis clinics, one literally in the shadow of a massive Planned Parenthood in Sarasota, and the other--Collier County’s second--across the street from the Naples Planned Parenthood. 

Chairman David Joyce wrote in the CPCI 2017 Annual Report that “with two fully-operational clinics, we can save more babies in Collier County than ever before.”

The year 2017 also represented the tenth anniversary of the Fort Myers clinic, which has now saved over 4,000 babies. The abortion rate for Fort Myers county has dropped over 33% since CPCI opened its clinic there; in 2007 there were over 400 abortions per 1000 live births. In 2017, that ratio was 265 to 1000.   

In other good news, CPCI provided 3,429 client services and saved at least 1,179 babies in 2017; 91% of the women who came into CPCI centers for counseling and/or ultrasounds chose life. This is no fluke: in 2015, LifeSiteNews learned during a tour of the first Naples clinic that 90% of the women they helped in 2014 chose life. 

CEO Gary Ingold told LifeSiteNews at the time that their success is in no small part due to the attitude of those working in their clinics. 

“We meet the women right where they’re at,” he said. “When she comes in, we treat her with dignity, respect, compassion, and mercy.”

An important part of CPCI’s fight against abortion involves good information. As one of its many services, it offers Sexual Health and Relationship Education (SHARE) program. Offered through churches, youth groups, and private schools, SHARE reached 4,175 people last year. 

CPCI has proven itself to be a good neighbor to fellow Floridians in need in other ways, too. In September 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Ingold and the ultrasound van delivered 5,000 diapers and countless baby wipes to cash-strapped moms in Immokalee.  

Meanwhile, the expansion continues: in late 2018, CPCI will open its fifth clinic in Gainesville, Florida. 

In its 44 years, CPCI has truly lived up to its vision statement: “to create communities where every woman and baby is safe from abortion.”  And, thanks to its faithful donors and loyal staff, all the services offered are still free of charge.  

"Some people have been with us 10 to 15 years or more,"  Gary Ingold said. "God continues to bless us with the resources we need, every step of the way."

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