‘An informed choice’: Logan’s Center for Pregnancy Choices aims to purchase mobile ultrasound center

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Logan’s Center for Pregnancy Choices is partnering with Colorado-based pro-life organization Save the Storks and the Pregnancy Resource Center of Salt Lake City to make a mobile ultrasound unit available to Cache Valley.

Developed by Save the Storks, a group that partners with pregnancy centers across the nation, the “Stork Bus” serves as a way to bring free ultrasound services directly to pregnant women regardless of income or insurance coverage, providing pregnancy education and support to women who may otherwise be unable to travel to a pregnancy center.

“Our goal is to get expecting mothers the love, compassion and support they need to make an informed choice about their pregnancy,” said Michael Schwebach, Save the Storks transportation coordinator. “Four out of five mothers who have the opportunity to have ultrasounds and see their babies go on to continue their pregnancy, so units like this one can be an educational resource for areas that may not have easy access to ultrasound services.”

Schwebach visited Logan two weeks ago while delivering an ultrasound bus to Washington’s Puget Sound region, offering a tour of the bus to members of Logan’s Center for Pregnancy Choices. The interior of the bus serves as a mobile medical unit equipped with an exam table, a sonogram machine, multiple monitors to show expecting mothers and family members the live ultrasound in a softly lit, air-conditioned space.

Save the Storks’ webpage states each unit they design is built with the comfort of the expecting mother in mind, creating a space where pregnant women can feel at ease.

“You can take this unit anywhere,” Schwebach said. “Some mothers like resource centers and some don’t, but this can come directly to them and offer them the same services.”

Save the Storks has developed over 20 of the mobile ultrasound buses and has a goal of producing 20 more, working directly with pregnancy centers nationwide in community fundraising efforts. Schwebach said each unit costs roughly $135,000 to produce.

Valerie Byrnes, executive director for the Logan Center for Pregnancy Choices, said it was a goal of the center to help raise funds for a mobile unit of its own, allowing facilities in the Bear River region without ultrasound equipment to offer the services to their clients.

“If we had a traveling center like this one, we could service so many people,” Byrnes said. “This is a starting place to be able to offer free ultrasounds to any woman who would be interested. The main intent is for abortion-minded women to see their babies early on and consider the alternatives available.”

Byrnes said offering free ultrasounds would comply with Utah law, which established that the Utah Department of Health shall provide ultrasounds at no expense to the pregnant woman upon her request. Byrnes said the only place free ultrasounds are currently available in the state is in Salt Lake City.

While Logan’s center isn’t currently equipped for ultrasound services, it offers a number of free services to support pregnant women, including free pregnancy tests, confidential peer counseling, information on sexual health and adoption information and support.

“We are a small center that is solely funded by community donations, individuals and churches,” Byrnes said. “Currently there are no free ultrasound services available to women in Cache County for the purpose of establishing viability as early as seven weeks. It is our hope to either raise the money needed to be a provide in Logan for limited ultrasound services out of our current location, or contribute to the statewide effort to provide a mobile ultrasound van to service cities and towns all across the state.

For more information about the ultrasound bus, visit www.savethestorks.com. For more information about the Logan Center for Pregnancy Choices, visit www.centerforpregnancychoices.org.

This post originally appeared at hjnews.com