By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
MARKSVILLE – The effort to protect more unborn babies just got a shot in the arm with the announcement that Avoyelles Parish will soon have a pregnancy center of its own April 9.
The 600-sq.-ft. facility, located at 115 Ferdinand Street in Marksville, will be the first of its kind in Avoyelles Parish. The center, which will be a satellite of the Cenla Pregnancy Center in Alexandria, will operate Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It will offer pregnancy decision coaching by trained advocates, free pregnancy tests, information about pregnancy options, maternity and physical resources and post-decision support including parenting education and post-abortive healing.
Center leaders hope to purchase an ultrasound machine once they can raise the necessary funds.
Heidi Peavy, who has worked as office manager at the Cenla Pregnancy Center since it opened in December 2017, will be at the helm when the center opens.
“Many of the women think they have no other option other than abortion, and we are here to make sure they know that there is another option other than abortion,” Peavy said. “We have gotten a sense the community is open and supportive of a pregnancy center opening. And we are ready to give them all the resources available that let the pregnant women know they can choose life.”
The opening of the new center in Avoyelles Parish fulfills a dream of Claire Lemoine, director of the Cenla Pregnancy Center. Since its opening, the Cenla Pregnancy Center has served more than 225 women. She hopes they can see similar results once the Avoyelles Pregnancy Center opens.
“It’s incredible we have reached this point of expansion after being open just 15 months,” she said. “This will raise awareness of the services we offer and will help expecting mothers who may not have the transportation to travel all the way from near Marksville to Alexandria. Saving babies is the most important reason we exist, and we anticipate what God will do when this new center opens its doors.”
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, 30 women who live in Avoyelles Parish had an abortion in 2017.. The goal is to see that number reduce to zero, said Cenla Pregnancy Center board president Brian Gunter, senior pastor at First Baptist of Pollock.
“We want to save those babies,” Gunter said. “We know there are many women in crisis pregnancy who need help, and we will be there to offer them hope found in Christ.”
Financial gifts to the Avoyelles Pregnancy Center can be sent to cenlapc.com.