By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women’s Choice Center has continued to help women in crisis.
Linda Rubey, the pro-life center’s executive director, said the center qualified as an essential service and its team remains committed to serving the community and helping moms in crisis. “We didn’t want to abandon any opportunities to stay connected in their time of need — if we could,” she said. “When crisis hits, that’s the most likely time when life-altering decisions for abortion can happen.”
The center’s day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. until further notice. Bilingual, pro-life, after-hours phone coverage is available daily through the national Heartbeat International affiliation. However, “there’s nothing better than our own staff’s timely accessibility and personal connection to clients in our community,” Rubey said.
“Every step along the way we have followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and their revisions, to maintain a safer, low-risk environment. We’ve consulted with our medical director and other physicians on our volunteer team to remain open while minimizing exposures.”
Since the beginning, the center has provided diapers, wipes and formula curbside when clients call to request those items. “Social distancing is maintained in our administrative areas while masks and gloves are required in our reception and medical areas for our incoming clients,” Rubey said. Nutrition classes in partnership with Iowa State University Extension Services moved online when pandemic restrictions began. Students took their final classes via Zoom video conferencing.
Weekly client visits have dropped to around 30% of the center’s typical pre-COVID-19 visits. The center continues to receive phone calls regarding counseling. “We’ve also taken this opportunity to make many more follow-up calls to previous clients to support them and answer questions during their pregnancy,” Rubey said. The center has phased in medical appointments for in-person visits with the lifting of restrictions, which includes shorter appointments for counseling and ultrasounds for pregnant women. Volunteers have made masks, which are available to clients. Restrooms and all client and public meeting areas receive a cleaning after each use.
The center has resumed accepting clothing donations. Volunteers and staff follow state guidelines before sorting clothing. Clothing from Chloe’s Closet is distributed curbside, 10 items at a time, along with diaper pick-ups when requested. Clients “don’t mind under these circumstances and have expressed their gratefulness and appreciation,” Rubey said.
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