Pregnancy Center Provides Support for Men and Women for 30 Years

A young girl sits on the cold tile in her bathroom, alone and in disbelief that she might actually be pregnant.

Nearly 4 million women across the United States have been surprised with the prospect of raising a child each year, and a few have considered themselves prepared for the task of becoming a parent. Some of these women have asked what she should do or if she should even have the child.

“We are here to help women sort through their emotions and to take a closer look at the options that they are considering”, said Roxanne Johnson.

Johnson was introduced to Bella Pregnancy Resource Center in Spearfish 29 years ago when she attended a volunteer training seminar. Since then, Johnson has risen to executive director.

Bella has provided women with many services including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and personal support as well as bible studies. The Bible studies were designed to help women post-abortion and through other life struggles. Clients have benefited greatly from the work of many volunteers.

Client advocate Vicki Furnish said, “Bella opened my eyes to so much that women and vulnerable people in our community face day to day.”

Furnish has dedicated five years to Bella and has desired to show many women their potential and their strength. She described the sanctity of human life and has worked to develop confidence and skills to care for a child. Furnish looked to share the possibility of having women carry children to term as well as other options.

Once a part of the Bella program, clients may have to seen a nurse to help with the physical part of carrying and supporting a child. Sherry Martin has worked with many clients as a labor and delivery nurse.

“The most rewarding part of working for Bella is seeing how strong and courageous our clients are when they are faced with a very tough, life changing and sometimes unplanned circumstance in their life,” Martin said. “A lot of our clients have very hard and difficult situations and to be able to be there for them and support them no matter what they decide is such an honor.”

The volunteers at Bella do not condone abortion but have created a rewards system called “Earn While You Learn” for women that choose to carry babies to term.

“The mother can earn Mommy Money that she can redeem on many of the things she will need such as: diapers, wipes, formula, baby and maternity clothing, cribs, strollers, blankets, etc.,” said Johnson. “The father of the baby can also participate and earn Man Bucks as he goes through the program.”

Many of the services were designed with the mother in mind, but according to Johnson, future fathers also receive support and education when facing the turmoil of unplanned pregnancy.

Johnson said, Bella does not try to sway the decision of the parents but gives the parents as much medically enforced and unbiased information to help with making an informed decision. The choices made regarding a pregnancy are ones that affect the parents long after they make a decision.

Bella has met with women set on having abortions as well as women who would never consider terminating

a pregnancy.

“We do not recommend nor refer to abortion, however we do discuss types and procedures of abortion and the risks involved with each, again, with her permission,” Johnson said.

Although Bella has provided spiritual support to some families, Bella’s main goal has been to care for all the clients that have walked into the facility.

“All I can do is help them navigate through the muddy waters and waves of grief, letting them know someone is always in their corner rooting for them, especially when they have no one else for support or encouragement,” Martin said.